Buck’s Dad, Speed Sexton, Joins Us for Father’s Day

17 Jun 2022

BUCK: Some special Father’s Day time here on the air underway joined by my dad, Mason Speed Sexton, in-studio and here with Clay. Clay is, of course, a dad in his own right. Dad, how are you doing?

SPEED: Well, needless to say, a great honor to be here with two of the obviously most talented and hardest-working men in media, and it’s sort of the culmination of a dream to be here, Buck.

BUCK: We got him well trained. He’s already saying nice things about us, Clay. This is fantastic.

CLAY: I know. I noticed. I’ve always known I’d love your dad. I got to meet you guys last night, you and your wife, at our one-year anniversary party. So, I’m curious. You’ve got four kids.

SPEED: That’s correct.

CLAY: What is your favorite thing about Father’s Day? Is there anything that is a tradition in the Sexton household or family that has built up over the years?

SPEED: Well, we were just talking about your dad getting emotional. I’m gonna get emotional now. No, we’re just a very close family.

CLAY: Yeah.

SPEED: And we —

CLAY: You got three sons and a daughter.

SPEED: Right. We love being together. There was actually a question here that was sent in from a caller asking about what —

BUCK: We’re gonna get into all that.

SPEED: I understand. I don’t mean to preempt it, but it’s just asking what did I like to do with you, Buck? And really one of our favorite things is to hang out. We have a big terrace in our apartment, fortunately, and we love just to hang out together, have dinner together —

CLAY: Yep.

SPEED: — and talk politics and what’s going on in people’s lives and that’s it. We love being together. That’s pretty much it.

CLAY: What age…? I’m curious because I’ve got a 14- and 11- and a 7-year-old. I’ve got three boys. You now are a grandfather as well; so, congratulations on that.

SPEED: Thank you.

CLAY: But, as a dad, what ages…? Buck and his brothers and his sister, what age range did you find to be the most fun as a parent? Was there one era that stands out?

SPEED: Boy, that’s an interesting question. I think it was different for each child. You know, to be honest with you, it all passes so quickly and I don’t remember a bad time. It all seems like it was all pretty special, and I felt really blessed to have such outstanding children. That’s really the truth.

BUCK: So, we got some VIP emails. We’ve also got some calls, Dad, from people that want to speak to you. And, again, we’re gonna have Clay’s dad, but we’ll have Clay’s dad on a future show. Alfie in New York City said, “Buck and Clay display real leadership qualities…” I love that our team picks these.

CLAY: Yeah, look, everybody is fantastic. Everybody loves us.

BUCK: “Buck and Clay display real leadership qualities. I’m wondering if they were naturally like that as kids. For example, were they class president, heads of any clubs at school, captain of a sports team or in the Cub Scouts?” (chuckling) So, Clay, could we just…? Were you president —

CLAY: I was president of the school. You were too right? We were both presidents of the student body at our respective schools. So, I guess that’s a good sign.

SPEED: Yeah, I think that, to some degree, says it all. Buck started out, I think he’s told a story of his speech impediment and how that held him back in early school, first and second grade. Then we got him to a speech pathologist who really helped him and by the third or fourth grade he was the top student in his class and from then on, he really was sort of a leader of his peer group going forward from then on, right through high school, to a lesser degree in college (chuckling) only because perhaps of the vagaries —

BUCK: Surrounded by commies, man.

SPEED: The political vagaries of Amherst.

BUCK: I got picketed — dad knows this story — for a Cinco de Mayo party!

CLAY: (laughing) Even back in the early 2000s.

BUCK: Oh, yeah, yeah. Everyone just came down on the Buckster because I like to throw a party and have a good time. I’m calling my mom and dad, I’m like, “Everybody’s coming down on me.” The good news was that there was… So, there was a flier that was made and the flier was considered —

CLAY: Offensive?

BUCK: — offensive and there was all of this cultural appropriation going on. I was just in charge of booze procuring. I was not involved in promoting it.

CLAY: Lot of tequila.

BUCK: A lot of tequila and,, unfortunately the young woman who was my classmate who made the offensive flier was a female from South Asia and, therefore, they were far less inclined to kick her out of school.

CLAY: Than a white guy.

BUCK: I had to have meetings with all the diversity counselors, I had threats of picketing, they said they were gonna call the police on us! The school said they would call actual police on us for underage drinking and so we just had to beg forgiveness and drink our tequila behind closed doors.

CLAY: That is an amazing story.

BUCK: Next one, by the way.

CLAY: Gabby in Beacon, New York, says — I mentioned that we met last night and Buck’s mom’s already been on — “I know Ms. Sexton was an actress.” Question here from Gabby, “Were you ever a hair model —

BUCK: (laughing)

CLAY: — ‘cause you still have a heck of a head of hair on you.” Your son obviously —

SPEED: What’s the name of that listener? (laughing)

CLAY: That is Gabby in Beacon New York. I’m reading directly. This is her question, not mine. “Were you ever a hair model?”

SPEED: I might have a lunch in Beacon, Gabby. Anyway, no, I was never a hair model.

BUCK: You were stockbroker, right? You just went to your 50th –

SPEED: Reunion —

BUCK: — Harvard Business School reunion, just got back from it.

SPEED: Yeah, it was quite an experience — I’ll be honest with you — for a lot of reasons. I don’t want to go on a huge tangent. But basically, there about, of my class of 75 that started in the class of 1972, 20% have passed, and that’s a very sobering reality. And then of the remaining 60 or so that are still alive, about 21 or 22 showed up for the reunion with their significant others, wives and so on.

And it was, in many ways, the best reunion by far because all the competition that you usually have when you show up at your 10th or your 20th, that was all gone. It’s all about your health, your grandchildren, your family, and there was a real sense of camaraderie and love and special affection within the group. And I thought that was really something I didn’t really anticipate, but I found really rewarding.

BUCK: Do you remember, how much did Harvard Business School cost when you went there?

SPEED: Well, it’s funny because when I started it was $3500 in 1970.

BUCK: (laughing) It’s about 80 grand now, I think.

SPEED: The funny part about it was (laughing) that there was actually a protest with signs and everything else when (laughing) they raised the tuition to $5,000 in my second year. So you can imagine Harvard Business School students protesting a raise.

BUCK: And we were just speaking about the campus radicalism thing that I dealt with, which was just… It was like the movie PCU for our listeners which if you have not seen you absolutely would have fun watching. You guys have all seen PCU, right, Politically Correct University? (interruption) You haven’t! Unacceptable.

CLAY: It’s as timely now than it was then.

BUCK: Now more than ever. You were at Columbia and the students seized the building.


BUCK: Tell us. This was crazy stuff.

SPEED: Again, I graduated from Columbia 1969. But in 1968, my junior year, the Students for a Democratic Society, young man named Mark Rudd, some of you will remember, literally shut the university down, completely, and radicalized all the students that remained on campus. And they were really far-left radicals. I mean, in the mathematics building, you had real Marxists —

CLAY: Wow.

SPEED: — who wanted to literally burn the university down. So, after about two weeks of shutting down the university finally I think it was Grayson Kirk, who was the president, called in the New York Police Department. And that was an incredible experience. (chuckles) I happened to work at the time for Whitney Seymour Jr., who became the Southern District attorney.

And, anyway, real quickly I got word that the police were coming in at 2 a.m. that night and so I had a friend who had an apartment on the in front at 116th Street and Amsterdam so I could watch the main gate, and these… They call them the tactical police force. They’re all on these big horses and they’ve all got helmets.

BUCK: Riot gear, right, the whole thing.

SPEED: Anyway, it was a real war. Three people died during that.

BUCK: Wow. You saw actually violence from the commies, batons, the whole thing.

SPEED: Oh, yeah, I saw somebody jump from one of the buildings onto the back of a policeman, broke his back, and he subsequently died in the hospital.

CLAY: So, does 1968, by the way, remind you now the world that we’re in now? Does that congruency historically resonate for you or are they totally different in your mind?

SPEED: Well, I think there’s certainly parallels. Clearly, we have a very far left, radicalized Democratic Party now that is prone to violence and is using obviously Antifa and these other sort of auxiliary movements to enforce whatever ideas they’re trying to enforce and intimidate people. So, yeah. Look, what people don’t understand is how close we are always to civil unrest. It doesn’t take much. A crowd of two or three hundred people that is willing to go to jail or willing to break and burn can be a formidable force.

BUCK: We got anti-communists here in New York City, Clay. See?

CLAY: We’re gonna bring you back to close it out in honor of Father’s Day, and I want to ask you a question here in a minute when we come back. Now that you’re a grandfather, is being a grandfather…? I know it’s Father’s Day coming up; I’ll let you answer when we come back out of this next break. But is being a grandfather more fun than being a father? Think about it. We’ll get your answer. I know there’s a lot of people out there that have gotten to experience as both, and I’m curious the difference.


BUCK: Some Father’s Day fun to kick you off for the Father’s Day weekend with my dad here, Mason Speed Sexton, a very cool name. I was, in fact, with him in a car when maybe we were going a little fast, the police officer pulled him over and said, “Your middle name is literally Speed.” He thought that was funny. I don’t know if we got a warning or a ticket. I was a kid but that did actually happen. Dad, we got all kinds of questions coming from people all over the country.

CLAY: First, hold on.

BUCK: I’m sorry. Wait. Hold on. Clay’s teased question. I’ve gotta do it.

CLAY: There’s lots of dads, there’s lots of granddads out there listening right now. How would you describe being both, which do you like more?

SPEED: Well, I like both, to be honest with you. I’m so blessed to have an amazing little grandson. His name is Ryan Mason Kumar and we call him Ry-Ry the Rock Star and he’s 20 months and has completely changed my life. My perspective has gone from just worrying about retirement and health and those issues and now it’s really focused on I want to make sure he has every opportunity I can possibly provide him, including with his parents, of course, and just watching him grow up and spending time with him is incredibly special. You know, in some ways it’s better (laughing) because I don’t have the direct responsibility.

CLAY: Right.

SPEED: But, in other ways, there’s nothing like having your own children and being — hopefully — a model of behavior.

BUCK: You guys are kind of similar, ’cause you had the four of us, Dad, by the… You had us four when you were in, what, mid-thirties, right?

SPEED: I married your mother when I was 30 and she was 20 and then by about 43, 44 I think, I had four children.

BUCK: Yeah, okay.

BUCK: ‘Cause Clay got married at 25. He’s got three kids. He’s 43.

CLAY: Yeah, I was 28 years old when I had my first, so I got the 14-year-old, the 11-year-old, and the 7-year-old.

BUCK: Busy stuff. We got Barney from Poughkeepsie. He’s actually got a question. He called in on the lines. We have the Father’s Day line. Let’s play it.

BARNEY: This is Barney from Poughkeepsie. I just wanted to know from Buck’s dad, what were his thoughts when Buck joined the CIA?

SPEED: Well, that’s a great question. And, obviously, you have to remember, the time that he joined the CIA was after 9/11, and he joined it, to his credit, as, I think, a show of patriotism and concern for his country. He had been studying Middle Eastern affairs and had some knowledge of Arabic. So he was in some ways an ideal candidate for the CIA.

But when he went away and then said, “Dad, I can’t tell you where we’re going, it’s top secret,” that’s a concern, and when we found out that it was — we obviously suspected it was — Iraq and, ultimately, Afghanistan, I will tell a quick story. There was an article in the New York Times about the fact that five senior Al-Qaeda leaders had been liquidated in Mosul.

BUCK: Mosul.

SPEED: Mosul. I’m sorry. And I had just had a feeling that Buck was involved. (laughing) And as it turned out (crosstalk) —

BUCK: Can neither confirm or deny!

SPEED: As it turned out, Buck had some involvement!

CLAY: — CIA gonna show up here now, his dad’s spilt the beans?

SPEED: (laughing)

BUCK: I have some friends who were very badass, door-kicker folks. I might have tried to help point them in the general vicinity.

SPEED: Anyway, so we were incredibly proud, of course, for Buck’s service and still are.

BUCK: Yeah. We have Thelma from Seattle, and then Clay has gotta throw a sports question. He took me to Giants games, took me to Knicks games, so ’cause I think this audience thinks, like, I played the sports, I saw the sports, I still like to play the sports. I’m just… I don’t really watch the professional leagues very much. Anyway, we’ll get to that in a second. This is Thelma from Seattle. Let’s play it.

THELMA: This is Thelma from Seattle. I was just curious. The Sexton family has some interesting names. Speed. Buck. What are the origins?

SPEED: Well, Speed is a family name. It’s my mother’s maiden name. The Speed family, I was just telling Clay here ’cause he’s from Nashville, is a prominent family in Louisville, Kentucky. The Speed Museum is an internationally well-known museum, Speed Institute, and then, of course, Farmington, which is the family home which was designed by Jefferson is a national historic landmark.

So, the Speed name in Louisville in particular is a historically important name. If you go — if you go back, ultimately to John Speed was a cartographer to Queen Elizabeth, the real Queen Elizabeth, and then Joshua Speed was Lincoln’s best friend and adviser during his entire political career, and then, ultimately, James Speed, his brother, was his attorney general in his second term. So, that tells you a little bit of the Speed name.

CLAY: Your team in the world of sports is?

SPEED: Gosh, it has been the Giants, but I gotta tell you I think the Jets are gonna be ascendant this year.

CLAY: Oh, really?

SPEED: Oh, yeah, I’m very positive on Saleh and the Jets.

BUCK: There we go!

CLAY: (laughing)

BUCK: OutKick news story right here!

SPEED: (laughing)

BUCK: Speed Sexton calls the Jets big in the next season. Dad, love you. Happy Father’s Day.

SPEED: Thank you, Buck.

BUCK: Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

CLAY: Amen.

BUCK: You all rock. Thanks for hanging with us.

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