On Monday night, MSNBC star Chris Matthews announced that he was stepping down as host of “Hardball,” effective immediately. “Let me start with my headline tonight: I’m retiring. This is the last ‘Hardball’ on MSNBC,” Matthews said. “And obviously, this isn’t for the lack of interest in politics. As you can tell, I loved every minute of my 20 years as host of ‘Hardball.’ Every morning I read the papers and I’m gung-ho to get to work. Not many people have had this privilege. I loved working with my producers and our discussions we’d have on how we report the news. And I love having this connection with you, the people who watch.”
Matthews explained that after conversations with NBC, he decided “tonight will be my last ‘Hardball.’ So let me tell you why. The younger generations out there are ready to take the reins. We see them in politics, in the media, and fighting for their causes.”
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According to Fox News, Matthews spoke with NBC management, and the decision was made to accelerate his imminent retirement following a series of controversies. As he was giving his remarks, Matthews referenced renewed claims of sexual harassment against him by a journalist who has appeared on his show.
“Compliments on a woman’s appearance that some men, including me, might have once incorrectly thought were okay were not okay, not then and certainly not today. And for making such comments in the past, I’m sorry,” said Matthews.
He continued by addressing those who have gotten into the habit of watching “Hardball” every night: “I hope you’re going to miss me because I’m going to miss you. But remember Humphrey Bogart in ‘Casablanca’: We’ll always have Hardball. So let’s not say goodbye, but until we meet again.”
Steve Kornacki took over for the rest of the hour after an extended commercial break. Kornacki called Matthews “a legend,” adding “I think you’re going to miss him, and I will, too.”