On Monday, January 16, Yogesh Raut’s 3-day win streak came to an end. The Illinois native competed admirably but ultimately lost to Katie Palumbo, a museum interpreter from New York. However, instead of sending the Raut off with well-wishes, some fans declared that they weren’t fond of the podcaster. Online, certain fans criticized Raut for appearing to be unsportsmanlike during his recent loss.
However, Raut isn’t taking the criticisms lying down. In a Facebook post that a fan re-posted to the Jeopardy! subreddit, Raut expresses his disappointment with how fans interpreted his behavior. First, he notes that some viewers thought he was too serious and asserts that he made multiple “deliberate attempts to have fun” and often earned big laughs from the audience doing so.
He also takes on people’s criticisms of his “not dressing formally enough.” As Raut explains,the Jeopardy! wardrobe department was responsible for choosing his clothes, and it was unfair to critique him personally for what he was wearing—which you can see below.
Then, Raut gets to the meat of his statement. “Let’s talk here about the criticisms of my ‘sportsmanship,”” Raut begins. “At the end of my first episode, I can very audibly be heard saying ‘Good game’ to the player at the podium next to me. I would have said the same thing to the other player, except the J! set makes it impossible to communicate with the person two podiums (podia?) over from you.”
Raut notes that he did the same thing at the end of his second game, but his audio was muted. He adds that still-existing COVID measures make it even harder for him to communicate with his competitors. Before COVID, Raut points out, it was common for contestants to shake hands at the end of the game. Now, physical contact is heavily discouraged.
Finally, Raut addresses his final Jeopardy! game. According to Raut, just because he didn’t congratulate Palumbo on camera, people shouldn’t assume he didn’t give her his well-wishes off-camera. “[Jeopardy!] is shot in an assembly-line fashion, and contestants get separated and whisked away fairly quickly,” Raut notes before explaining that, before he was escorted out, he went up to Palumbo to congratulate her personally.
All of this is to say that Raut is urging fans not to judge contestants so quickly. The truth is, as audience members, we only witness a small portion of the contestants’ interactions. While we grow to care about so many of these people and root for them to win, we certainly don’t know them well enough to criticize them as people.