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The Daily Wire announced Friday that it has signed former ESPN reporter Allison Williams to lead a sports series available for Daily Wire subscribers. Williams left ESPN this month after Disney, the network’s parent company, announced a vaccine mandate for all employees.
I wrote about Allison Williams’ value yesterday. In sum:
Williams earned my respect. Not because she chose not to receive the vaccine; I’m vaccinated and support every individual’s decision. Instead, I respect Williams because she stood up for her beliefs. She went against the in-crowd, something so rare in media.
Williams left a job at ESPN over a disagreement with the company’s vaccine mandate. Williams used actions, not tweets, to make a statement. She spoke on behalf of Americans across the country who do not want to give the government their freedoms, a group that has been deliberately misrepresented by the press in recent years. As someone who has covered and knows most sports media members, I can confidently say Williams has more of a spine than all of them.
Williams opened the door for sports personalities who don’t share Jemele Hill’s worldview to speak up. Still, Williams could only open the door halfway.
More than a few of Williams’ former ESPN colleagues share her stance on vaccine mandates. Yet the rest — save for Sage Steele — fear the repercussions, notably the perceived lack of landing spots after ESPN. So they comply in shame.
Cancel culture is a two-step process. First, corporations have to obey outside blue-check Twitter users. Or in this case, those demanding companies comply with President Joe Biden’s mandate. And sadly, most major companies do. However, cancel culture is threatening only to employees who see their current employer as their only option. To them, it’s shut up or go unemployed. At least in Williams’ case, the Daily Wire proved there are other destinations.
ESPN’s executives notoriously lack pairs of balls, but the rest of the sports media industry is only slightly braver. NBC Sports, CBS, The Ringer, Bleacher Report, and the rest of them mostly share ESPN’s fear of Twitter. Thus, outlets like the Daily Wire, The Blaze, and us at OutKick have an opportunity to capitalize on a market demand. And there is a demand.
Sports fans are widespread across the country. Some are liberal, others conservative, and the rest want just want to talk sports. Each group is large enough to support coverages catered to their interests. Currently, major sports networks mostly serve one group: far-Left, “anti-racist” but actually racist sports fans. Based on ESPN’s ratings, that group may be the smallest of the three. There are two other groups just waiting for something new to emerge.
“Allison is a massive talent. ESPN’s loss is our members’ gain,” Daily Wire co-founder Ben Shapiro concludes.
And hopefully not the last. The door is opening.