Awful Announcing Lies, Is Dying Site, SAD!

Today several of you sent me a Tweet from Awful Announcing that was 100% a lie.

I rarely, if ever, read the site because in my experience no one else with a functional brain reads it either. It’s not witty or smart or insightful about the sports media business or anyone who makes a living inside that industry. It’s clearly being written by a bunch of dudes who have never sat behind a mic, been on television, or worked in radio or TV production in any capacity. The site, therefore, lacks the most rudimentary knowledge about the sports media industry it purports to judge and cover. It’s the equivalent of giving a random guy in Switzerland a blog about American football who had never seen seen the sport played before.

Generally speaking Awful Announcing just rewrites press releases and trots out the same banal and predictable opinions that are perpetually uninteresting and recycled tripe. You know how much I hate Deadspin, so you can imagine how much this pains me to write — Awful Announcing is written for people who are too dumb and boring to read Deadspin. 

So I generally ignore the site despite the fact that they have been obsessed with me for years. In fact, I believe this is the first time you will have ever seen me write anything on Outkick mentioning the site at all. That’s how typically irrelevant they are. 

But when a site fabricates a headline about me and then distributes that headline to its entire following via Twitter and refuses to change that headline despite it being pointed out to be a lie, I decided it was finally time to fire back. I don’t care if you disagree with me, but the moment you start attributing lies to me, you’ve crossed the line. 

And I’m going to end you. 

First, I don’t begrudge anyone who disagrees with my opinions — in fact, quite the contrary. I’m a First Amendment absolutist so I’m happy to have anyone with an audience agree or disagree with what I say because all publicity is good publicity as long as I’m not facing jail time. Honestly, I just wish my critics had bigger audiences. Right now there isn’t a single critic of mine who has anywhere near the audience that I do. 

This afternoon Awful Announcing sent out a Tweet asserting I’d said Colin Kaepernick’s protests were to blame for thousands of deaths. Here’s a picture of that Tweet, which remains up on their page.

The Tweet is 100% false.

Here’s my column on Kaepernick not being signed, which does not say what they Tweeted I said. Not even close. Awful Announcing Tweeted: “Clay Travis says Kaepernick’s protest “lead to thousands of dead.”

What I actually said was that black lives matter protests had led to thousands of more dead. That’s a big difference. They turned my reference to all the protests into a single reference to Colin Kaepernick’s protest and asserted that I’d said thousands were dead because of his protest. Which is, a lie.

Now you can agree or disagree with my opinion — which happens to be shared by the director of the FBI — but the data is clear that cities where protesters have been most active have experienced the most substantial increase in murders. But what you can’t dispute is that I 100% did not tie the thousands of additional deaths in these communities to the protest of Colin Kaepernick by itself. That’s a lie. And it’s not just a lie, it’s a lie intentionally designed to make me look bad.  

Given that Awful Announcing aspires to be the honest voice of fan media criticism, isn’t it troubling that they would distribute knowingly false statements as fact by someone in the sports media? When I called them on their inaccuracy on Twitter all they had to do was change the Tweet headline to reflect what I said. Again, they don’t have to agree with my opinions on anything I’ve written.

But instead they doubled down on the falsehood.

That means they are intentionally choosing to distribute fake sports media news. This isn’t an opinion, this is their incorrect reporting of what I’ve actually said. They’re asserting I said something which I didn’t. (Hence my Donald Trump inspired headline above). 

Put simply, they’re lying. 

Some of you might be thinking — okay, so why are they doing this? Why do they have an ongoing vendetta against you?

It’s a great question, one I’ve tried to figure out as well. What’s with the Awful Announcing negative obsession with me? Why has that site spent years writing negative things about me when I’ve never written anything about them at all?

Well, I decided to do my own investigation. Turns out the site is run by some guy named Ben Koo. I have no idea who this dude is, I’ve never met him, emailed him or, to my knowledge, had any interaction with him at all other than a couple of Tweets last year. 

So I decided to do a simple search of my name and his name on Twitter. What’s he been saying about me on Twitter over the past several years? Now I’m sure Ben Koo isn’t the only Awful Announcing writer to Tweet mean things — or outright lies – about me — do your own searches if you’d like before these writers start deleting Tweets – but I’m using him as the proxy since he runs the site. 

It’s rare that I put anyone in the sports media on full blast on Outkick, but when I did a search on his name and my name I found a long running and strange negative obsession with me. Turns out this dude has been obsessively Tweeting negative things about me since 2013, when Fox first hired me.

Here’s that first Tweet way back in July of 2013.

Why did this dude dislike me? I honestly had no idea at first. But then I figured it out as I read more of his Tweets — he’s an Ohio State football fan and somewhere along the way I must have rocked his pathetic existence by pointing out that the Buckeyes, other than Notre Dame, are the most consistently overrated college football program in America.

Now this won’t surprise any of you, but I don’t care whether you like me or not. But what I don’t like are cowards, people who claim that they’re objective and unbiased when in reality they are just losers who couldn’t handle someone saying something mean about their favorite football program.

By November of 2013 he was asking who Buckeye fans would prefer to fire, me or Mark May.

A week later he was saying that Ohio State fans boycott the show and the Fox network because they hate me. It’s important to note that this is how false narratives get set about media online, a negative opinion rooted in biased anger over your team being disrespected leads to a suggestion that “people don’t like” this person or that person and it leads to boycotts. 

By January of 2015 the founder and owner of Awful Announcing was suggesting that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney should keep me from being a part of college football coverage at Fox. Because, you know, that’s exactly what you want conference commissioners to do, pick who can have opinions about college football based on whether or not those opinions are nice enough about those conferences. A broadcast partner doing what he suggested would, of course, be the very definition of Awful Announcing.

Later that month, more requests that Clay Travis be fired.

By April of 2015, whaddya know, a deep dive from Awful Announcing about whether Clay Travis should be employed at Fox given the chorus of criticism surrounding me. Who is leading that chorus of criticism? Awful Announcing. I’m sure that article was fair and impartial, right? Nice of him to point out what “A great read,” the negative article was.

The negativity continued to build, but you don’t have to take it from me, you can just go search his Tweets yourself. By November of 2015 the head of Awful Announcing is wondering if I’m the worst sports media hire of all time.

By February of 2016 he and his staff at Awful Announcing are discussing what I would have to do to get suspended or fired from Fox.

When I called him on the AA obsession with me that month — my first contact with him online then or since — he claimed he didn’t think about me very much, read my site or watch any shows I’m involved with. Which will come as quite a surprise to anyone who has read the Tweets linked above.

After a few months of silence following public ridicule, he returned to say he was happy I wasn’t on TV. (He knew this despite the fact that, you know, he doesn’t ever watch me on TV). Newsflash, I haven’t been on TV much because I can’t travel very easily to the west coast and do my three hour daily radio show.  

Earlier this month he wrote a piece attacking me and disputing my thesis that ESPN’s declining subscriber numbers represent trouble for the network. Newsflash ESPN is in trouble. No one read his article compared to the hundreds of thousands of people who read my piece so I didn’t bother responding even when he attempted to engage me on Twitter. Again, until I saw Awful Announcing Tweet a lie about me this afternoon, I haven’t ever really responded to anything they’ve done. 

But now that you’ve seen all these negative Tweets, does it surprise you that Awful Announcing, a site run by an Ohio State fan with a clear vendetta against me, would make up a lie and Tweet it out to all the site’s followers? In fact, given the clear malice evidenced in Koo’s Tweets and articles on the site, the fact that he runs a site focused on sports media and purports to be a honest and unbiased site, and the deliberate falsehood of the Tweet sent this afternoon, I’m pretty confident I could file a lawsuit and win substantial damages — potentially enough to shut his site down — if I decided to do so. Deliberate falsehood with malice aforethought has no First Amendment protections.

I could Hulk Hogan Awful Announcing.  

But for now I’m not going to do that, I’m just going to leave this article up and let you guys see what biased, dishonest and fake coverage in sports media actually looks like. You may not agree with my opinions and you may even not like Outkick — if so, you clearly have horrible taste — but I’ve never pretended to be something that I’m not. I tell you exactly what I think every single day and I don’t apologize for my opinions.

Awful Announcing does the exact opposite. It holds itself out as an honest and unbiased critic of the sports media today, but when you look at this record of negative commentary, vitriol, and outright falsehoods from the owner of the site directed towards me, it’s clear that this dude who I have never met has been obsessed with me for five years and he’s turned that obsession into a witch hunt which drives the narrative decisions of Awful Announcing.

And here’s a big question for you: if the site is doing this to me, who else in the sports media has been similarly attacked based on an unfair and arbitrary agenda? If I’d said only nice things about Ohio State, the site would have praised me for the past five years. 

Instead, the site’s been willing to demand I be fired for years and today took the next step when it deliberately published a defamatory falsehood about me. If this happens to me online, who else is being treated similarly? And how much reader examination is going into readily apparent bias motivated by something as simple as fan anger on sites such as these? 

The simple truth is this, Awful Announcing doesn’t represent an impartial examination of sports media issues and the individuals employed therein, it’s a collection of losers with small audiences and petty grievances making up stories about people they don’t like.

The owner of the site had a huge grievance against me because I wasn’t nice to Ohio State, but he’s been hiding in plain sight for five years. If I hadn’t done a search for his name he would have gone on sending the same Tweets and writing the same negative articles for the next five years without being challenged at all.

The dismal truth is this: Awful Announcing is nothing more than a biased and dishonest site run by a triggered Ohio State Buckeye fan. Today I just demonstrated the site’s clear bias using the founder’s own words. Remember this the next time you consider giving any story or opinion on their site any credence whatsoever.

In the meantime, hey, Awful Announcing, I didn’t write that Colin Kaepernick’s protest killed thousands of people, but I did just murder your site in cold blood.

Tweet that, bitches.  

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.