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This post originally appeared on The Washington Post‘s website on march 4, 2017:

“I guess: v I’m offering up silence for Lent this year.

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That’s one odd point to say as soon as you make a life yapping around sports ~ above ESPN. And odder when the show I host, “Around the Horn,” renders a game out of according to NOISES. (That is come say, loud, perspicacious noises indigenous the most insightful sportswriters in America!) I push a mute switch to shut them under if (when!) our sports dispute careens the end of border (Fake post!). Quiet is how I penalize. Silence works. However is quiet good?

I’ve been on nationwide television for 16 years and for every 16 ns wore an ash on Ash Wednesday. Ns am grateful to ESPN and fortunate to occupational in an atmosphere that allows me to it is in myself. Yet it’s shocking come me that I’m one of the couple of faces you watch on TV wearing an ash. I did one interview whereby the reporter called me if you put “The man Who put on Ashes top top TV” into Google, i’m the very first name the comes up. That’s surprising. (Also true: ns the an initial name that comes up for “The man Who proposed In between The Men’s and also Women’s Bathroom at LaGuardia Airport.” not as surprising.)

Among ESPN viewers, it’s well known I’ll it is in wearing the ash and there’s one expectation. I’m not sure just how I feel about that. Sports websites have kept a running tally of mine ash v the years. ‘How heavy Thumbed will certainly Fr. Mario be This Season?!’ I watch the humor in that; i was tattooed in ‘06, crop dusted in ‘09, this year: “clean, minimal, really on trend for 2017,” follow to one tweeter. If I gain questions like: “dad n em wana kno wats on ur coconut man,” the overwhelming energy has constantly been support and also praise.

I struggle with the publicness the the ash. Ns was roll in the pew laughing (RIPL!) once this year’s Gospel began with “Beware that practicing her piety before others in order come be checked out by them.” Isn’t the what ns doing once I get the ash in the afternoon and also go on TV a couple of hours later? can I not go come Mass after work? ns still not certain I have actually answers to those questions. I desire viewers to watch an authentic variation of me, and on this at some point that consists of the ash.

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