Sande Sez- Nevada’s Riccardo Stewart on Sympathy, Empathy and Compassion

Seeing the video of Kirk Herbstreit talk about social injustice and break down got to me. A lot of things have gotten to me over 2020, and this was added to the list. When I saw Kirk get upset on ESPN and say the words “empathy and compassion,” it triggered in me a memory of sitting in church and having my pastor at the time talk about Sympathy, empathy and compassion, and the difference between the three.

A few months back, I interviewed my pastor, now Nevada’s defensive analyst, Riccardo Stewart, on all of the social injustice that is going on in the world. To be honest, the only person I felt safe enough talking about everything with was him. I knew it would be a no-judgment zone where I could ask my questions, even the ones that might sound stupid. 

I am a media member; there this a line in the sand, but I don’t want there to be a line. I might be a stranger on that first zoom call, but you better believe that this is more than just work. I believe in relationships and people, and that is what is essential. That is why I do this job so that I can connect with people and also bring that connection through the screen to fans, family members and others all over. So we can all help and support each other. 

When I asked Riccardo what I should do when I can see the athlete is hurting or sad on the other side, he said this,” just be Sande.” Riccardo went on to explain the difference between the three words, Sympathy, empathy and compassion, 

“Sympathy, I see you are in pain. Empathy, I kind of feel your pain. And then there is compassion, and compassion has that sense of not only seeing your pain and acknowledging (Sympathy), I try to feel with you (empathy), but compassion says, and now I am going to do whatever I can do end it. This only happens through relationships.” 

I think that is what Kirk and the rest of the world is trying to express. That we need compassion now, we see their hurt; we feel their pain; it is now up to us to say ok we are going to do everything we can to help end it.