Clay Travis: ESPN Is Drowning and They're Not Smart Enough to Recognize it
Fox News host Tucker Carlson had Fox Sports' Clay Travis on his show Tuesday night to continue what has become an ongoing conversation between the two about the downfall of ESPN due to its extreme leftward tilt. In the latest manifestation of the sad phenomenon, SportsCenter co-host Jemele Hill called President Trump and his supporters white supremacists.
Carlson lambasted ESPN for its "endless, stupid political nagging" and asked Travis what he thought of the network's mild reprimand of Hill.
"It means that nothing actually happened because Jemele Hill is saying what the higher-ups at ESPN believe," Travis said. He said the statement was just another example of ESPN's leftism going "all the way to the top."
"Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, follows 59 people on Twitter," he noted. "One of them is Jemele Hill, and I think what has happened is Disney and ESPN have decided 'we want to be a left-wing sports network.'"
So if a guy like Kurt Schilling comes out and he says, "I disagree with the North Carolina transgender bathroom law," he gets fired. If a guy like Mike Ditka says "I don't think Barack Obama was a good president and I'm voting for Donald Trump," he gets fired. But if Jemele Hill comes out and says that Donald Trump's a white supremacist -- the only reason he got elected president is because he's white and that all of his supporters are effectively bigots -- she gets rewarded. She gets rapped on the knuckles. She continues to do her show because Bob Iger and John Skipper, the CEO of Disney and the president of ESPN, agree with her and want left-leaning politics to be the forward-facing front of ESPN.
Carlson wondered if there is actually a "huge market for left-wing sports analysis."
Travis laughed scornfully in response. "Well, the easy answer, Tucker, would be look a ESPN's ratings," Travis scoffed. "They're collapsing."
The reason for this, he explained, is because "they're alienating their core audience, which is guys and girls who just want to pop a beer and watch a football game."
They don't want to hear that Colin Kaepernick is a modern-day Rosa Parks. They don't want to hear, Tucker, that someone like Caitlyn Jenner is a hero that everyone should aspire to be or that Michael Sam, because he likes to sleep with men, is a modern-day Jackie Robinson. Those are things that ESPN wants to sell ... and I call them "MSESPN."
He pointed out that Michael Jordan, the wildly successful basketball star turned businessman, always warned about mixing politics with sports by saying "Republicans buy sneakers too."
If ESPN were smart, they wouldn't be going to war with conservatives and Republicans and Donald Trump voters. They would be acknowledging that that should be the backbone of their brand. Instead they're pushing them away, saying they're white supremacists -- you're not welcome here. I don't know how people who voted for Donald Trump can feel comfortable at all watching ESPN when they know the values that that network espouses and they know how unwelcome their own values are.
"No, they sound like the sociology department at Bennington College," Tucker quipped. "There have to be people at ESPN, though, who understand this is a terrible business decision. Are there? Do they speak up? Are they taken seriously?" Tucker wondered.
"They do," Travis answered. "They do speak up and they speak out to me, Tucker." He explained that he broke the Robert Lee story and other scoops because ESPN employees were tipping him off.
He made the same point on Twitter Tuesday, saying ESPN employees were furious about the double standard:
ESPN's business is collapsing for a variety of reasons, the Fox Sports host pointed out. But he added that they could at least be treading water if they were making wise business decisions.
Instead, ESPN has decided to go with: "let's see what will happen if we hold this gigantic rock over our head -- which is left-wing politics -- maybe that'll actually keep us from drowning. Instead, it's making them drown faster and they don't seem smart enough to recognize it!"
"It's an absolute joke," Travis concluded.