Gorilla Blame Rankings

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Feb 6, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns mascot Gorilla looks on against the Utah Jazz at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Joe Camporeale USA TODAY Sports

As the foremost Internet authority on wild animals who is 37 years old and owns a sports website, I thought it was important that I follow up my Pulitzer prize winning analysis of the four year old who fell in a gorilla pit with a simple and easy to digest blame rankings.

This is very important work since everyone knows the Internet is a communications device entirely created to make it easier for people to blame other people for screwing up things. Honestly, I feel bad that I locked up one Pulitzer last week and this week I’m locking up another Pulitzer. To be honest, they might as well rename the award the Clayitzer. 

The entire Internet is currently aflame with opinions on the gorilla controversy and I’m tired of everyone being dumber than me so I’m ending the argument right now. From this moment forward any time someone on your Facebook or Twitter timeline mentions the gorilla you just send them this link and say, “Asked and answered.”

That’s why I went on Facebook from the beach today and spent twenty minutes making more sense about this gorilla controversy than anyone else on earth. Here’s the video: 

And here are my indisputable blame rankings:

1. The zoo

It should be impossible for a kid to get into any wild animal enclosure at any zoo unless the kid is put in a “Game of Thrones” style slingshot and launched into the enclosure.

That didn’t happen here.

So the zoo has to be number one on this blame list.

How do I know the zoo is most responsible?


That’s all the evidence I need. 

2. The mom

I’m a parent of three boys ages 8, 5, and 1. Trust me, no one knows better than me how slipshod parenting coupled with a wild kid can rapidly lead to disaster. I also know that you can be a great parent for 99.9% of the time and it will be that exact .1% of the time when you’re not perfect when the kid gets away and everything goes to shit. 

That’s just how parenting works.

So I’m sympathetic for the mom here. She’s not the most to blame because even if the kid gets away for a minute it shouldn’t be possible for a kid to ever get into a wild animal’s enclosure no matter what he’s trying to do.  

Having said that, you can’t let your kid get into the damn gorilla pit.

You just can’t.

And if that does happen, you have to jump in after your kid. You can’t stand outside and yell down to him. The mom is clearly the second most to blame here.  

3. The dad. 

There are reports that the dad was there. And even if the dad was supposed to be responsible for the four year old everyone knows it’s the mom’s fault for expecting the dad to do this job by himself. This dad was at the zoo. Do you know how distracting it is to be at the zoo on a sunny day when there are so many good looking moms there?

Come on, he’s just a man. 

Plus, listen, this story is made for dad to save the day. 


This is what dad’s spend all day thinking about. What would I do if the car went into the ocean off this bridge right now? (Roll down the windows while we’re in the air so we aren’t all trapped and can swim out). What would I do if an alligator attacks my kid? (Go for the alligator’s eyes. Alligator’s let go when you go after their eyes.) What do you do if your ex-girlfriend shows up and says she’s pregnant with your child? (Deny and demand a blood test upon which time you steal someone else’s blood to use.)

These are the things dads think about all the time. 

So dad has to be ready for this moment. This is his time to shine.

Here’s what he should have done: You jump into the enclosure and start to dance in a funny way to distract the gorilla. Maybe a little moonwalk mixed with the Macarena. Toss in a little jogging YMCA as well.

What happens?

The gorilla puts down the kid and comes toward you.

Zoo workers grab your kid. 

Bang, you’re the hero.

What’s more, you’re a dancing hero. Do you know how much money a dancing dad who got a gorilla to put down his kid would make? Millions, maybe even tens of millions.

Oprah would come out of retirement to interview you. Donald Trump might make you his vice presidential candidate.  

Dad totally blew it. 

4. The kid.

Look, I get it, the kid is four years old. But most four year olds know better than to try to climb into a wild animal’s cage. I know this because I’ve raised two four year olds. Four year olds aren’t idiots. They know not to jump off high walls, they’re aware of danger, they know not to sit on a fire or saw off their leg with a machete.

This kid made a series of bad decision to find himself in a gorilla pit. 

I feel like everyone just refuses to blame the kid, but he’s clearly the third most responsible here. If you’re a parent you blame kids all the time for making bad decisions. That’s like 90% of parenting, telling your kid when he or she was an idiot and fucked up. If anything this kid was too coddled, if a kid is terrified of his parents he’s not running away and trying to get into a gorilla enclosure to begin with.

So the kid’s the third most responsible here.  

5. Scientists for not inventing the immediate tranquilizer dart.

Did no scientist ever think, what if we need the animal immediately disabled, but we don’t want to kill him?

Jesus, do I have to think of everything for you? (Or do my Twitter followers have to think of it and Tweet it to me?) 

That’s why we have tasers for humans. Why don’t we have tasers for animals?

Huge swing and miss for nerds here. 

6. The gorilla. 

Once the kid fell into his pit the gorilla was screwed. If the gorilla did anything other than let this kid drown in the moat, then he’s going to get shot. He’s screwed the moment he touches anyone.  

That’s what happens when you’re a gorilla, no one gives you any benefit of the doubt. You can be the nicest gorilla around, even more affable than Curious George, and you still get shot.  

The gorilla was an innocent party here who got screwed by a slipshod cage, a crappy parent and a misbehaving kid. 

7. The guy who shot the gorilla.

He’s obeying orders and his only goal here is to avoid a kid getting killed. He should have zero blame here, but instead you’ve got hundreds of thousands of total idiots online saying he should be charged with murder.

Murder? Are you kidding me? This guy saved a kid’s life.

That’s it. if you disagree with any of these rankings you’re an idiot.

Consider this controversy ended.  

Written by Clay Travis

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.