How ESPN Turned Michael Jordan’s Quote Into Liberal Propaganda

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during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on November 1, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Streeter Lecka

ESPN has decided to turn into the MSNBC of sports, a left wing outlet determined to fight social justice battles rather than comment on sports. The massive pivot began several years ago when ESPN decided to become more liberal than Deadspin and SBNation combined, but it should have crystallized for most of you at last year’s ESPY’s when Caitlyn Jenner received an ESPY for courage for having the audacious bravery to get boobs and wear a dress.

It was a blatant ratings play — which also doubled as a way to ensure that Diane Sawyer got the exclusive sit down interview with Bruce about his transition to Caitlyn — and it signified that ESPN had completely abandoned neutral coverage of sports. ESPN, like it or not, is a liberal propaganda machine for causes it and Disney hold dear. 

But today offered an interesting window into how the liberal sports media sausage is made.

Michael Jordan made the most Michael Jordan statement possible when he decided to criticize police shootings of blacks and cowardly targeting of police. 

Here was Jordan’s opening quote that he gave to ESPN:

“As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.”

This is literally the least controversial comment imaginable — Jordan”s against police killing black people and the cowardly targeting and killing of police officers. And he grieves with everyone who has lost loved ones. 

Yet how did ESPN decide to package Jordan’s statement to release it to the public? With this partial quote, which they Tweeted out as their first tease, the one everyone would see, on social media:

“MJ speaks out: “I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement”

Look at how many retweets and comments this received. The first Tweet about a story is almost always the one that echoes through social media and receives all the attention. 

If you just retweeted and commented on this statement without reading the full quote — and the vast majority of people will do just that — you’d think Jordan really had made a strong statement only focused on police shootings of blacks. 

But he hadn’t. 

ESPN cut off the entire second part of Jordan’s quote, which was kind of significant “and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.” 

And has still yet to share this quote on Twitter via The Undefeated.

Why would they do this? Because ESPN doesn’t want to feature Jordan’s full statement, they want to use Jordan’s comments on police shootings to further their own one-sided agenda.  

As if that intentional disinformation wasn’t enough to drive home their world view they immediately had ESPN commentators give their opinion on “Jordan’s statement on police brutality.” Except nowhere in his statement did Jordan use the phrase “police brutality.”

ESPN just made it up. 

I mean, look at this Tweet. 

Jordan didn’t make a statement on police brutality, he came out against violence, which is seriously the most bland and inoffensive opinion possible. Everyone but ISIS and a few scattered terrorists around the world are against violence. The fact that Jordan felt pressured to announce his opposition to violence is a testament to how stupid social media has become in our modern era. Did some of you actually think MJ was rooting for people to die?


As if that weren’t enough, the PR staff then creates a hashtag and turns Jordan’s bland statement into an aggressive opinion against police brutality. Look at this. It’s so transparent when you call attention to it, but it’s kind of brilliant. It’s how people turn into sheep and don’t realize that they’re being manipulated. Use a half quote, turn it into a story that fits your agenda, promote the half quote on TV, and talk about it all day. Voila, you’ve turned Michael Jordan, the most popular basketball player in the world, into an advocate for your opinion, even if it isn’t accurate.  

Indeed, ESPN’s packaging of this bland opinion to fit their liberal agenda actually contradicts the entire second paragraph of Jordan’s statement, which will receive virtually no attention, but I’m republishing here:

“I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported.”

Jordan’s “saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse of late.”

Amazingly, ESPN has used just one half of a sentence of his quote to do just that, create more divisive rhetoric and racial tension out of a statement that was designed to do the exact opposite.

In fact, I’m going to go ahead and publish the entire Jordan statement because it seems clear that ESPN isn’t going to focus on it. So here it is:

“Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.

“To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Institute for Community-Police Relations’ policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement. Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem, I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference.

“We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country – a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities. The problems we face didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be solved tomorrow, but if we all work together, we can foster greater understanding, positive change and create a more peaceful world for ourselves, our children, our families and our communities.”

So Jordan gave $1 million to the police and $1 million to the NAACP legal defense fund and ESPN is focusing on his “statement against police brutality.” Again, this is the least divisive move that any public figure can make, he’s essentially against violence. Which is great, but I hate death, cancer, and terrorism more than Michael Jordan does, that’s been established on Outkick for years. 

The point, however, is this, ESPN is consistently manipulating sports media coverage to suit its own political beliefs. And they’re trying to be sly about doing it so that the average fan has no idea what’s happening. 

But don’t fall for it. 

Stay woke, fam.


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.