Thursday, the Washington Post and its media writer Ben Strauss published a hit piece on Clay Travis, Outkick and yours truly.
I’m a subscriber to The Post and other newspapers. I still fantasize about the return of objective, fair journalism. Here’s a link to the Washington Post story about Outkick. The story isn’t fair or objective.
Clay consented to an oral interview with the reporter. I declined and offered to respond to the reporter’s questions via email. I’m familiar with Strauss’ work. He’s written about me before. His work is dishonest and racist. He’s the typical white liberal bothered by my refusal to conform to liberal political dogma.
As you know, I’m a non-voter and reject a political identity. My point of view is driven by my Christian upbringing, football background, working-class parents and belief in American freedom.
For those of you without a subscription to The Post, here’s a brief excerpt from the story that frames the hit piece.
“For years, Travis, who also hosts a gambling show on Fox Sports and runs a website called Outkick, has been building a brand partly rooted in attacking progressive athletes and accusing ESPN of liberal bias. But this summer, as the pandemic, protests over racial injustice and the approaching election collided with the return of sports, Travis’s nascent mini-media empire has morphed into the go-to platform for Republicans hoping to win over sports fans.
“He’s done it with the help of a new business partner, the former Fox Sports personality Jason Whitlock, whose work, like Travis’s, shares political DNA with Trump’s: Sports as red meat in the culture wars, racial grievances, media-bashing.
Whitlock has churned out columns suggesting that George Floyd’s killing was a “race hoax used to divide us.”
Their takes have not gone unnoticed by the right. Both have appeared on the Fox News shows of Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham. And a parade of conservative politicians and operatives — including U.S. senators, governors, White House aides and even Trump himself — have appeared on Travis’s show, to decry the NBA’s stance on China and cheerlead for the return of sports.”
I did not write or suggest that George Floyd’s killing was a race hoax. Go read the column that Strauss linked. The column argues that Floyd’s death was a tragedy that the media racialized and spun into a hoax to divide black and white people. There’s no proof that former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin’s abuse of power was driven by Floyd’s race.
It doesn’t matter. Strauss and other white liberals have virtually no interest in the thoughts and ideas of black men. They believe we’re supposed to regurgitate and reflect their thoughts and values. Strauss quoted me once in his story. Twenty-two words of a 2,286-word story. That’s slightly less than 1 percent. Here’s the quote:
“I was attracted to the business opportunity and the freedom to say exactly what I think without worrying about some scared executive.”
Via email, Strauss asked me four questions. I answered them all. On August 18, I told Strauss that I would not preempt his story by publishing his questions on Outkick. Clay and I did that to a Daily Beast reporter in July. I made Strauss no promises about my answers. Now that his story is out I don’t believe I’m breaking any promises by publishing his questions.
Below are his questions and my responses.
1) Clay said he does not view Outkick as part of political media and I’m wondering if you feel the same way?
Outkick is a startup media site, three months into a relaunch. We’re just starting to define ourselves. The vision is to be seen as the authority on sports and all the relevant culture related to sports. Athletes have made a hard turn into politics, and we’re going to cover that turn. We’re going to go wherever sports take us. COVID-19 is a big part of the sports conversation. We cover COVID. Journalism follows the truth wherever it leads. Outkick is a fearless, authentic and fun look at the sports world. That’s where we want to land. That’s where we’re headed.
2) What was your interest in joining the site? What do you expect Outkick to be as a media company?
My interest in the site was I thought Outkick had a great chance to speak to and attract the sports fans frustrated with the way ESPN, FOX Sports and other media outlets covered the sports world. Sports are about conquerors and winners, not victims. The mainstream media has turned the discussion of sports into the victimhood olympics. The traditional culture of sports preaches that all problems begin and end with the men and women in the mirror and in the locker room. The constant debate about whether the NFL oppressed Colin Kaepernick with millions of dollars and a level of notoriety he couldn’t garner in any other profession bothers a large segment of sports fans. Outkick is targeted at those fans. I was attracted to the business opportunity and the freedom to say exactly what I think without worrying about some scared executive.
3) Is there anything you’d like to say about your evolution from the Undefeated to your views today. The Undefeated was a place that intended to cover sports through the lens of race, and in your early discussions with staff you wanted LeBron James and his activism to be central to the site. At Outkick, you’ve been very critical of James and his activism.
My views haven’t really changed from then until now. Any objective analysis of my written work as a columnist in Ann Arbor Michigan to the Kansas City Star to ESPN.com to FOXSports.com to now and it’s all fueled by the same guiding principles — Christian faith, football values, working-class common sense. I was on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2007 because I wrote that Don Imus wasn’t the real problem for black people, our own self-hatred and disrespect were more damaging than the words of a shock jock we don’t listen to. I’m still writing about sports through the lens of race. Nothing has changed. Below is what I exactly wrote in The Undefeated playbook about how I wanted the site to cover LeBron James. He is pursuing Muhammad Ali’s legacy. Lately I’ve been writing about how he has failed in that pursuit or that his pursuit has drifted off course.
LeBron Project: The site will take the position that LeBron James is no longer in pursuit of Michael Jordan’s status as the greatest basketball player of all time. LeBron’s target is bigger. He is pursuing Muhammad Ali, arguably the most influential and important athlete of the 20th Century. James’ move back to Cleveland is about empowering his inner circle — Rich Paul, Maverick Carter, Randy Mims and Gloria James — their business and charitable interests and LeBron’s vision of being a global role model. As a site, we want to be the source on LeBron James the man. We want to assign a reporter to live in Akron and cover LeBron James Inc., as he transitions from Jordan to Ali. This will be the site’s signature sports project. The reporter assigned to this project will be supported by an editor and Jason Whitlock, who has relatively close ties with Maverick Carter, Rich Paul and others within James’ inner circle.
4) Wanted to run one piece of information by you…I’ve been told by several people that your relationship to Outkick is more than content creator and I believe you’ve alluded to this too. You are an equity partner and investor and the amount you invested in the site was $500k.
I have an equity stake in Outkick. We released that information in a press release written by me, Clay Travis and Sam Savage. It’s not a rumor that I’m more than a content creator. I’m a partner. It’s listed in my bio on Outkick.com.
That’s the end of our email exchange.
Strauss wrote in his story that according to a person with “direct knowledge of the agreement, Whitlock paid $500,000” for his stake in Outkick. Clay told Strauss directly that this was not true. I didn’t address it because I try to avoid foolishness, and I figured Strauss would publish a lie regardless of what I said. He proved me right.
Which hammers my larger point. The ideas, desires and welfare of black people do not really matter to white liberals. They are the decision-makers and thought leaders for black people. They mask their disdain for and bigotry toward black people by financing clever political marketing campaigns such as Black Lives Matter.
The limousine liberals doth protest too much, methinks.
If you want Jason Whitlock for your TV or radio show or podcast, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.