All That and a Bag of Mail: Kid Rock Fauxrage

It's Friday and the most common question I'm getting, believe it or not, is about the NHL's decision to have Kid Rock perform at the league's All Star Game and the resulting "outrage" articles that are lead news stories all over left wing sports websites.

MSESPN, of course, is leading the charge, somehow deciding that one of the biggest stories in sports last night and this morning is the NHL's selection of a performer for their all star game.

You guys do a great job being my eyes and ears on stories like these and several of you emailed, Tweeted, and DMed me about this story last night because you noticed how absurd it was.

I'm admittedly not a hard core hockey guy, but I appreciate that many of you are NHL fans and I honestly can't remember the last time a lead story on was about hockey for any reason. Now, suddenly, ESPN decides their all star game choice is a lead story.

In my quest to encourage you to read all media aggressively -- you can read my breakdown of the Belichick, Kraft, Patriots story here -- I'd like to do the same thing with this story that is currently receiving substantial attention as a major news story on ESPN and other websites.

In so doing, I'm going to explain why the story is complete bullshit and evidence of a clear political agenda.

So let's break down the ESPN story, which you can read in totality here.

First, let's start with the headline:

So the headline itself actually tells us that nothing is changing.

That is, the NHL is doing what the NHL was already doing, having Kid Rock perform at its all star game.

There is literally no substance to this story and the headline tells us this.

Yet it's a lead story on ESPN.

Let's continue with the opening paragraph of that story:

"The National Hockey League said Thursday that it's aware of the backlash over Kid Rock performing at the 2018 All-Star Game in Tampa, saying that the decision to hire him was "purely based" on his entertainment value and history as a hockey fan."

So the opening paragraph here tells us that the NHL picked an entertainer to entertain because he's an entertainer.

That seems fairly logical.

But the league is also "aware of the backlash" over their decision to pick Kid Rock.

One of the real issues with social media today is that it only takes a couple of hundred people on Twitter obsessively Tweeting about something to constitute a "backlash" if the news media agrees with what they are saying. The truth of the matter is this, there is literally no decision that a league, a team, a politician or an entertainer can make in America today that doesn't immediately provoke "backlash" on social media.

Another way to classify "backlash" would be to say that everyone on social media doesn't have the exact same opinion as a league, a team, a politician or a famous person might have on every subject.

If you doubt me, go look at the reaction to every draft pick made by a team or every coaching hire. There are always people who disagree with the hire. That's because there has never been a time when opinions are more easily shared to the masses than the present day.  But that isn't as powerful of a lede for a story because fans know this. "Some fans disagree with decision made by team or league," isn't a very powerful headline.

Instead, there's a "backlash" on social media, which is just another word for "disagreement" which is used to justify this entire story.

So what is that backlash?

Well, it's a few people on social media, many of whom are anonymous, stating they disagree with the decision.

Let's pause here for a moment and think about this, by the way. Can you imagine how little of a life you must have to be upset at the DECISION OF WHICH ARTIST IS GOING TO PERFORM AT HALFTIME OF AN ALL STAR GAME?!

I mean, seriously, of all the things for a sports fan to be upset about, this is the hill you choose to die on, which musical act is performing at the NHL all star game?

This is where your antenna should go up if you're an objective media member, wait a minute, you should think, do NHL fans really dislike Kid Rock this much? Of course they don't.

Because it isn't even NHL fans who are upset about the decision, it's the same liberal losers who want to turn everything in sports into a political battle.

So the NHL is asked about the "backlash" and the NHL can't no comment when ESPN asks them about this bullshit backlash and they can't say they haven't seen the fact that everyone doesn't agree with them because that makes them look out of touch so they say they are aware that everyone on earth didn't agree with the Kid Rock decision and that they didn't pick him for political reasons but just because he's an entertainer who likes hockey.

So that's what they said.

And somehow that's a lead story now.

Let's continue with the second paragraph of the MSESPN story.

"The 47-year-old singer has drawn attention in the last year for endorsing President Donald Trump, his history of displaying confederate flags at concerts, criticism of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protests during the national anthem and anti-transgender comments made during a concert."

Wow, so conservative political opinions aren't allowed now for half time entertainers at sporting events?

Because that's what this paragraph is designed to do, paint Kid Rock's politics as unacceptable to the masses, thereby disallowing a major sports league from being connected to him at all.

Even though, and this is a key point, the majority of NHL fans vote Republican, disagree with Colin Kaepernick's protests during the national anthem, and probably don't think you're a hero if you change your gender. To be fair, NHL fans as a group probably don't have a strong opinion on the Confederate flag since most of them are from the North and the North won the Civil War, making the Confederate flag the equivalent of a participation trophy to them.

So Kid Rock's controversial political stances are actually supported by the league's fans.

Let's pause here for moment and consider the NHL's selection of Kid Rock as a halftime performer and its coverage with the media coverage of the college football playoff's selection of Kendrick Lamar as a halftime performer.

Kendrick Lamar performed outside the college football national title game and there was certainly "backlash" against his performing on social media. In particular, many college football fans aren't Kendrick Lamar fans and would have preferred another musical act perform instead. Or just to have the school bands perform. (Interestingly, many of these fans may well have preferred Kid Rock).

Kendrick Lamar's politics left wing politics is certainly not supported by the average college football viewer, who voted for Donald Trump.

But I didn't see MSESPN or any other sports website cover the "backlash" over Kendrick Lamar's selection.

And if they had covered this backlash they would have painted the fans who were upset about Lamar's selection as being racist because, as the mainstream media has taught us, anyone from Alabama and Georgia who disagrees with anything involving a black person is racist.

So the left wing sports media could have very easily written the exact same opening paragraph about the college football playoff's selection of Kendrick Lamar receiving a backlash and quoting the college football playoff leaders as saying Lamar was picked purely based on his entertainment value and status as a well known football fan and had nothing to do with politics.

And the next paragraph of that Kendrick Lamar article could have just as easily said:

"The 30-year-old rapper has drawn attention in the last year for criticizing Donald Trump, his condemnation of the Confederate flag, his praise of quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protests during the national anthem and his anti-police comments made during concerts."

But those articles weren't ever written.

Why not?

Because this is a transparent example of a journalist who doesn't agree with the selection of Kid Rock using his "objective journalism" to discredit the selection while attempting to cover this as an actual news story.

Here's the paragraph in the story that seeks to justify the story's very existence as a legitimate piece of news.

"The NHL's decision to have him perform at the All-Star Game was widely criticized on social media this week. It's the second time in recent months that a Kid Rock appearance created controversy in the hockey world, as the Detroit Red Wings were criticized for having him open their new arena with a concert in August 2017."


Nor is citing social media criticism as a "controversy."

Literally everything is criticized all day long on social media. By this logic there is a perpetual backlash to everything.

If this writer wanted to write an opinion piece that Kid Rock was the wrong choice for the NHL because of his political opinions, have at it, fire away with that opinion. I may not agree with the opinion, but at least it's a clear opinion, not an opinion being disguised as news by hiding in the skirts of anonymous social media "backlash."

So this article is an illegitimate left wing opinion piece disguised as news, but here's the even wilder thing -- MSESPN read this article and elected to promote it last night and this morning as one of the top stories in sports.


Because MSESPN agrees that Kid Rock's political opinions are unacceptable.

Think about it, a few people on Twitter upset about the NHL All Star Game's performer is one of the top stories in sports? And it deserves to be featured on the front page of your website?

This is a transparent attempt by MSESPN to interject politics into sports and lob an attack at Kid Rock for not having the same left wing opinions as the sports media and the People's Republic of ESPN.

And it's an attack on the NHL for not picking a liberal act to play for its fans.

Again, one of things I try to do at Outkick is take you behind the curtain and let you see how the sports media sausage is made.

Right now there's a clear attempt in modern day sports media to discredit anyone who dares to have a political opinion that isn't left wing. What's scary about this is that Kid Rock's opinions aren't even that controversial or even unpopular here, the vast majority of hockey fans -- and most sports fans -- would agree with everything he said.

Yet Kid Rock's opinions are being covered as if they are unacceptable, which is an attack on the vibrant and robust marketplace of idea.

My personal belief is that the politics of an entertainer shouldn't influence your opinion of the entertainer's ability, be it Kid Rock or Kendrick Lamar, so long as the entertainer is, you know, good at entertaining, which is his actual job.

What's more, how much of a loser do you have to be to protest a league's selection of a halftime performer?

But if you're going to decide that Kid Rock's NHL all star game selection provoked a social media "backlash" worthy of a story because of his politics shouldn't you also have to cover the social media "backlash" provoked by Kendrick Lamar's selection because of his politics at the college football title game?

Of course you should.

Either cover both of these stories equally or don't cover either. (My clear belief is that neither is a story).

But MSESPN picked Kendrick Lamar and Kendrick Lamar hates Donald Trump, which is an opinion MSESPN agrees with.

So I'm sure it was just a coincidence that we never saw any articles about Lamar's controversial political opinions on or the backlash against his selection.

Come on, MSESPN should be ashamed of itself.

But, of course, it isn't.

Because this is what the sports media does today, they pick sides even when they're supposed to be objectively reporting the news. Share your opinion on Kid Rock if you'd like to do that, but don't do what happened here -- get your own political opinion out while disguising it as legitimate news.

That's just pathetic, but unfortunately, it's par for the course when it comes to MSESPN.


And also have great weekends. We've had the kids out of school for a full week because of snow down here so I'm taking them out to a movie.

As always, send your email questions, anonymous or otherwise, to

Written by
Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021. One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines. Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide. Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports. Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.