The “Rich Eisen Show” is usually sports talk with special guests in that world, hot takes about teams and players, and anything found in a typical sports talk program.
However, the veteran sports personality took time on Wednesday to talk about a more important topic in his eyes, one that he believes he had to speak about because he has a platform to tell his thoughts and opinions.
Eisen went on to rip the university presidents of Harvard (Dr. Claudine Gay), Penn (M. Elizabeth Magill) and MIT (Dr. Sally Kornbluth) who gave “unacceptable responses” in his eyes when asked if calling for “genocide” warrants a violation of respective campus codes of conduct in terms of harassment and bullying while testifying at the House of Representative about antisemitism on their campuses.
The presidents responded “with a bunch of word salad and nonsense,” Eisen said, when answering the question, which concerned him.
“Oh, so we have to wait for the genocide to happen before you kick someone off of campus? Is that right?
“By just allowing that speech makes people comfortable to commit the genocide. You understand that? By not being unequivocal and saying, ‘Yes, this is a violation and anybody who violates it is off campus.’ They can’t go to Harvard, Penn or MIT. By saying, ‘Well it depends on this, that and the other thing,’ makes them comfortable to commit the genocide.
“It is the lesson you learn when you walk into museums of tolerance or Holocaust museums around the world, including ones that I’ve been to recently in Berlin, Germany and Tel Aviv, Israel. It’s the first lesson you learn, and I can’t believe you got to tell these people who lead these institutions of higher learning that.”
Eisen added that his cousin went to MIT, and it made the family “so proud.” His brother also went to Penn, and he had countless memories with him on campus.
Now, he does not feel his kids should be attending the universities after the comments made on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
“It’s just really mindblowing to me in this day and age,” he said. “I never thought in a million years that I would never want to send my kids to these schools. Forget that.”
Eisen is not alone in those condemning what the presidents said at the hearing. Senators, state representatives, celebrities and many others have chimed in to give their take.
All three presidents did not give a straight answer when asked by House Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY), “Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Penn’s rules or code of conduct, yes or no?”
Magill answered, “It is a context-dependent decision, congresswoman.”
Magill issued an apology on Wednesday.
“In that moment, I was focused on our university’s longstanding policies aligned with the U.S. Constitution, which say that speech alone is not punishable,” she said in the video. “I was not focused on, but I should have been, the irrefutable fact that a call for genocide of Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate. It’s evil — plain and simple.”
Gay’s answer mirrored Magill’s, saying it “depends on the context.” Dr. Kornbluth added, “I’ve heard chants which can be antisemitic depending on the context when calling for the elimination of the Jewish people.”
Gay issued an apology on Wednesday as well through Harvard’s social media.
“There are some who have confused a right to free expression with the idea that Harvard will condone calls for violence against Jewish students,” Gay began. “Let me be clear: Calls for violence or genocide against the Jewish community, or any religious or ethnic group are vile, they have no place at Harvard, and those who threaten our Jewish students will be held to account.”
Stefanik’s question to the three presidents was prefaced by the fact that campus protests across the country have heard students using the word “intifada,” which is an Arabic word meaning uprising. It is a word that the Jewish community views as a call to violence against them.