Dale Hansen, the WFAA/Channel 8 sports anchor, is known for being blustery. Loud, even. Direct. Unfiltered. And, of course, “Unplugged.”
And now that voice has reached The New York Times.
Hansen is the subject of a Wednesday “Sports of The Times” story headlined “The Progressive Voice Bursting From Texas and Spreading Everywhere.” It’s about his “Unplugged” segments on WFAA, during which Hansen gives his opinion on a variety of topics — not necessarily sports, although he usually finds a way to tie them in.
We have written before about some of these segments: “Signs of change,” about racism, including in his own past. Another “Uplugged” in which he revealed that he was molested as a child. His commentary on professional athletes taking a knee during the national anthem ran on the Star-Telegram site. (WFAA and the Star-Telegram are content partners.)
Those, and much more, went viral, as the Times notes: “Hansen, a white-haired grandfather who hasn’t voted since 1972, has become an unlikely viral video star at age 69.”
Way viral. Times writer Juliet Macur notes that when she met Hansen in person at his Waxahachie home, he was finishing an interview with a radio station in New Zealand.
It’s not the first time he’s received national attention. A February 2014 commentary —about the NFL’s reaction in particular and the public reaction in general to the announcement by Missouri defensive end and draft prospect Michael Sam that he is gay and wants to play football professionally — went viral and earned him an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ afternoon talk show.
Although Macur describes Hansen as “cocky,” she also quotes him as saying something relatively modest.
““If I was 33 years old and looked like Tom Cruise and lived in Los Angeles, do you think anyone would listen to me?” Hansen tells the Times. “I can’t really explain why people listen to me. But I do know some people are thinking, ‘Who is this fat, old, white sports guy and why is he telling me what to do?’ I don’t fit the stereotype.”
Read the whole story here.