Opinion: NC State broadcaster faces a woke-up call

He’s spent three decades calling the play-by-play for the “Red and White,” and like the legendary Red Barber, he may wind up with a pink slip – for the sin of telling the truth.

Gary Hahn, the “Voice of the Wolfpack,” has used his microphone as a palette, painting colorful word pictures of football and basketball contests for North Carolina State fans. His style of describing the action for radio listeners can best be described in three words: Vivid. Accurate. Honest.

A master of that medium comes to understand that broadcasting an event of several hours’ duration must be punctuated with current events, comic relief and an acknowledgment of the absurd.

Hahn included all three in a single utterance, during his play-by-play account of the Dec. 30 Duke’s Mayo Bowl Game in Charlotte. A pause in the action between the Wolfpack and the Maryland Terrapins provided an opportunity for Hahn to update his audience on the only other post-season collegiate contest underway at the time: “Down among all the illegal aliens in El Paso, it’s UCLA,14… Pittsburgh, 6.”

Irreverent, but on target.

And given the absurdity of Uncle Sam’s unwillingness to enforce immigration law, amusing in a “laugh-to-keep-from-crying” fashion.

Ironically, NC State’s last bowl victory came in El Paso, a 52-31 win over Arizona State in the 2017 Sun Bowl. In the years since, El Paso has changed…and not for the better.

In fact, this year’s Sun Bowl “Fan Fiesta” was canceled on Dec. 21 because the city has been using its convention center to house illegal aliens, who have flooded across the international border there in recent weeks.

American media outlets, from the Associated Press to the alphabet networks, adhere to the P’s-and-Q’s of political correctness, also now known as “wokeism.”

That simply means that these allegedly objective journalists now convey a bias on behalf of open border advocates, employing the terms “migrants,” “newcomers,” or as that noted theologian and soon-to-be former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi once proclaimed, “God’s Children.”

And faster than Nancy omits any reference to the unborn as “God’s Children” when she changes the subject to abortion, Hahn’s employers took immediate and public exception to his brief Sun Bowl score update.

Learfield Communications, the current broadcast rights holder for NC State Athletics, “suspended Wolfpack Sports Network play-by-play announcer Gary Hahn from his agreement indefinitely following comments made during today’s Duke’s Mayo Bowl radio broadcast.”

That statement came from Wolfpack Sports Properties general manager Kyle Winchester; NC State Athletic Director Boo Corrigan followed his customary practice of not saying “boo.”

There are two reasons for Boo hitting the mute button: His future aspirations as an upwardly mobile athletic administrator; and, directly related to that, his apparent acceptance of a “Great Awokening” throughout higher education.

Corrigan’s current stint in West Raleigh was preceded by eight years as the AD at West Point. While there, he learned that our military leadership today is more in the mold of Mark Milley than Dwight Eisenhower.

For Boo, the reasoning was simple… if West Point was going “woke,” how much more prevalent would “wokeism” be on the NC State campus? His hunch: a whole bunch.

So, since his arrival in 2019, Corrigan has joined with other university administrators, lurching further leftward, embracing the toxic doctrine intent on destroying the very diversity it claims to champion.

Where does all this leave Gary Hahn? Not in a good place, it appears.

But should NC State issue Hahn his “walking papers,” he can seek solace in the fact that it also happened to one of sportscasting’s greats.

In 1966, Red Barber pointed out that the team for whom he broadcast games—the New York Yankees, ironically owned by CBS at the time—was in last place, losing games in front of crowds as sparse as 413 in 65,000-seat Yankee Stadium.

CBS canned the “Ol’ Redhead” for his candor; NC State would repeat that mistake, should Gary Hahn meet the same professional fate.

J.D. Hayworth’s column was written before N.C. State announced that Gary Hahn would return to his play-by-play duties, effective Jan. 14.