Ryen Russillo decided to stick to sports after 'stupid' comments on George Floyd

By , Audacy Sports

A popular sports talk personality has addressed his controversial remarks about the George Floyd case after nationwide protests broke out in the days following Floyd's murder by a former Minneapolis police officer.

Ryen Russillo of the Ringer, a friend and occasional partner of Ringer mogul Bill Simmons, came under fire in June of last year for cringe-worthy comments he made while discussing the Floyd situation on Simmons' podcast. The episode was titled "A Truly Sad Week in America."

During the episode in question, Russillo heaped lavish praise on Simmons -- his boss -- for hiring a "diverse" staff at The Ringer, and seemed to be concerned with what he called "looters" stealing "rare Jordans" from retailers amid the protests.

Staffers rebutted the claim that Simmons had assembled a diverse staff at The Ringer, and the former Sports Guy later apologized during a subsequent episode of his podcast for his own comments and role in the embarrassing incident, saying he and Russillo had "misread the moment."

Russillo, appearing this week on Sports Illustrated's Media Podcast, opened up about the fallout, saying he had "a lot of regret" because he "didn't do a very good job."

Having eaten crow for his bad takes, Russillo said he decided it was best for him to keep his focus on sports talk.

“Maybe I didn’t understand that the minefield was there for me," he told host Jimmy Traina on the SI podcast. "So ever since that time, I went, ‘You know what, I got into this to talk sports. You can still do the job by talking sports.’ That’s what I set out to do. So for me it was a hard pivot back. ..

"There’s still stuff I said that I regret, and it shouldn’t have been two white guys talking about that topic for as long as we did. It was stupid. And I apologized, and I felt bad about it."

Russillo claims he was unfairly mislabeled as a Trump supporter afterwards, even though the majority of his remarks on the episode were sympathetic to Floyd and the protesters, he says.

The veteran sports talk host, previously had a stint with ESPN, where he collaborated with SportsCenter host Scott Van Pelt on his podcast, and worked alongside Simmons at the now defunct Grantland imprint. The Massachusetts native covered New England sports for various local outlets earlier in his career.

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