Clay’s Olympic Prediction, Buck in Hot Water Polo

23 Jul 2021

CLAY: Buck, I saw something you tweeted earlier this week that I was really entertained by. The U.S. women’s soccer team — which, by the way, in 2015 when they won the women’s World Cup, I was in Vancouver. I took my family. They were as beloved an American sports team as there could be. Everybody loved the U.S. women.

Over the last several years, their overall approval rating, I think it’s fair to say — in the United States of America — has plummeted substantially. They lost 3-0 to Sweden after kneeling yet again, and you said, Buck Sexton, you were rooting for Sweden! You have abandoned the U.S. women, almost based entirely on politics I’m presuming and you actually seeing them lose, the women’s soccer team.

BUCK: Absolutely. Go Sweden. Fantastic to see those ladies win. I gotta say, not a hard team to root for, as a guy.

CLAY: Good-looking women on the Swedish team?

BUCK: Uhhh…

CLAY: You might have noticed?

BUCK: I can neither confirm nor deny, but I’m just saying.

CLAY: I think it’s offensive to judge women by their looks now, Buck. How sexist of you to even notice a good-looking woman.

BUCK: I was pretty astounded that even in this current era, Boris Becker — who is one of the tennis greats, and I did watch a fair amount of tennis growing up. He referred to a player’s girlfriend at Wimbledon —

CLAY: Fiancee.

BUCK: — fiancee — as “pretty,” and there were people who were upset by this.

CLAY: Yes.

BUCK: Yeah. This is utter madness.

CLAY: It’s happened a few years ago. Brent Musburger. One of the Alabama quarterbacks’ girlfriends was in the crowd, and he said something like, “Man, you quarterbacks, you all get the best-looking girls.” She’s a good-looking woman. And, by the way, quarterbacks do tend to do pretty well with girls, based on all of recorded history of sports.

I actually remember, Buck, when I was a kid; I remember we got to sit down close for an Atlanta Braves game, I think it was. I was probably about 10 or 11, and I looked around. There were a ton of really good-looking women. And I said to my dad, “Why are there so many really pretty women here?” And he said, “Well, this is a lot of the players’ wives,” and I remember saying, “Oh, so baseball players in the Major Leagues, they have good-looking wives?” And my dad said, “Yeah, they do pretty well for themselves.” It’s kind of funny.

BUCK: This is also known as “observing objective reality around you.”

CLAY: Yes.

BUCK: You’re not allowed to do this anymore. (chuckles) I’d note that our friend Jesse Kelly, who’s also on our network. He put out — did you see — his list of the 10 most attractive members of Congress?

CLAY: Oh, my gosh. When did that happen?

BUCK: That was yesterday.

CLAY: Oh, that’s funny.

BUCK: He put out a list. It may have been — and I’m quoting here — the 10 hottest women in Congress. I can’t remember exactly the verbiage, but it was basically attractive members of Congress.

CLAY: He should have put two dudes in there and just blown everybody’s mind, especially if he had a guy as the hottest member of Congress. How terrible! How dare he notice good-looking women!

BUCK: I just thought you’re allowed to say nice things.

CLAY: Yeah. If he had listed the 10 ugliest women, or —

BUCK: We got about to radio hosts here with good hair.

CLAY: Yeah. Yeah.

BUCK: So when people come up to the street they say, “Hey, I like your radio show, but you’ve got good hair,” that makes my day, probably my week.

CLAY: (chuckling)

BUCK: People come up to you and say, “Hey, you’re a sports radio host, but you’re an athletic looking guy and you got a lovely wife,” and we like nice things. Anyway, I’m trying to tell everybody: Can’t we all just take a compliment and roll with it? But we can’t even agree on mascots, Clay. That’s another thing, too.

CLAY: Well, we’re gonna get to mascots. What percentage of people, do you think, are rooting against the U.S. women’s soccer team because they find them to be — and let me say this, by the way: Big picture. What is so frustrating to me about the U.S. women’s soccer team is they had an opportunity to use their platform in 2015 and in 2019 to point out that the reason they dominate, Buck…

If you look at every women’s soccer match and just consider which country has freer women, you can basically pick the winner of the match. ‘Cause people say, “Well, how come the U.S. men are nowhere near as good as the U.S. women?” That’s because around the world most good male athletes get identified and they’re able to expend their athleticism to the fullest of their ability because men have advantages. But it’s not a surprise that our women would do better than women in, let’s say, Iran where they’re not even allowed to play outside of burqas, right, basically.

BUCK: Right.

CLAY: This is not a big surprise that girls who can wear shorts… It’s kind of a decent symbol that they might be better. Instead, they ripped America instead of trying to lift up the world to believe in American ideals.

BUCK: If you taking the knee, I’m rooting against you, and it’s really what it comes down. You take a knee; I’m rooting against you. That’s just how it’s gonna go from here on out and whether that’s as a league or as a team or as an individual, because I’m sorry. Actually, I’m not. I’m sorry I’m not sorry and it’s disrespectful. So, yeah, I was psyched to see the Swedish ladies doing well.

CLAY: Crushed ’em.

BUCK: And, maybe they should follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

CLAY: (chuckling)

BUCK: Maybe they should become fans of the show. I’m just putting it out there.

CLAY: (laughing) We’re big in Sweden.

BUCK: Huge in Sweden.

CLAY: Huge in Sweden! So you got that insanity that’s going on. So do you think…? We were talking about this. I’m not sure that there has ever been less interest in an Olympics, ’cause usually the Olympics is kind of a big deal, people come together, especially the summer Olympics because there been so many big, iconic stars. I feel like this is landing on deaf ears to a large extent. Do you have that sense too?

BUCK: Yeah, and when you’ve got empty stadiums. Parts of this… We hearken back in our minds here all the way to ancient Rome and the Colosseum, the theatricality of these events at the Olympics. Obviously, Ancient Greece is where the Olympics started, but I was thinking Gladiator in my mind. You know, you think of these events that happen with massive crowds and the energy.

And honestly, watching really fast people run when there’s no crowd there, it’s just a different spectator experience. It just feels like it has the same energy behind it. I think there’s also just a lot of people right now who feel like, “Is there the possibility that their weird covid restrictions could actually become a problem for some of these teams?” I’ll be honest with you: I’m not really a big Olympics, which is not a surprise to you I’m sure. But I’m a huge Olympic guy. I watched like the person who wins the fastest the 100-meter dash, whatever, that’s what I watch.

CLAY: Yeah, and even that Usain Bolt, who is Jamaican, he’s retiring. Michael Phelps, who’s one of the greatest Olympians ever, people could have a rooting interest for him over the last whatever it is — 20 years, it feels like — that he’s been representing the United States.

And then you toss in what I think is a pretty significant factor: The time difference of what time it is in Japan versus the United States, and I just feel like these are going to be… This is my prediction. I think this is going to be the least-watched Olympics that has ever existed in the United States, because for so long this was something that united everyone.

I think there are a lot of people out there listening to us right now that are with you and not rooting for the U.S. women over politics and statements that they’re making. But also, I think that there’s just a general despair about the idea of how many women are going to and men are going to protest, and people are saying, “I just don’t have time for it.”

BUCK: Do you know the trampoline is an Olympic event? I was just checking this.

CLAY: No, I didn’t.

BUCK: Trampoline. I think water polo is… I think watching water polo may be the most boring spectator sport. That’s right, water polo fans! You can come at me; I’ll take it. Come on. I can’t even see what’s going on. I’m looking at the list of all the different sports that they have.

CLAY: I have ’em by popularity. Let me see if I can get you to guess. What do you think the most anticipated event is at the Tokyo Olympics?

BUCK: Basketball!


BUCK: Really?

CLAY: Basketball is… This is the Morning Consult, a poll that they did of Americans, the most anticipated events at the Olympics. I’ll give you the hint here. Basketball is sixth.

BUCK: Okay.

CLAY: Sixth on the sports list.

BUCK: That’s much lower than I thought it would have been. I mean, I love tennis, but that’s probably not even the top 10.

CLAY: Tennis is 10.

BUCK: Okay. Well, see, I was pretty close.

CLAY: Yeah.

BUCK: I have… Honestly, is it track and field?

CLAY: Track and field is fourth.

BUCK: What’s number one? You’re keeping me guessing.

CLAY: Number one, I think you’ll get it. When I say it, you’ll say, “Oh, yeah, that makes sense.” Gymnastics. Right. There is a massive… Does that surprise you?

BUCK: That does surprise me. I wouldn’t think gymnastics would be the number one.

CLAY: Gymnastics destroys everything else. Two, second most beloved or anticipated event at the Tokyo Olympics, is swimming, which surprised me a little bit. I would have gotten gymnastics. I wouldn’t have gotten swimming.

BUCK: These are for Americans, right?

CLAY: Yes.

BUCK: I think we’ve gotten used to it, because Michael Phelps is just in this other category —

CLAY: Yes.

BUCK: — of winner, that I think that’s what’s made swimming so popular for us ’cause we just love those metals. We’re Americans! We like winning.

CLAY: This surprised me too. Third most popular: Diving, which feels like it’s kind of swimming. But it is kind of cool to watch when those super high dives, how perfect people land in the water. Also the fact that you convince yourself that you know what a good dive is and what a dive is not.

BUCK: That’s, to me — ’cause these are also events where the fastest runner, there’s not a judge deciding. This is just reality.

CLAY: Right. Yes. Yes.

BUCK: So these are things are the judges are making determinations about who’s best. It’s subjective. Let’s be honest. Gymnastics is a subjective event. Diving is a subjective event. That’s interesting to me.

CLAY: Track and field, which you got, is four. This one also surprised me. Basketball, you got at six. Beach volleyball.

BUCK: Oh, yes. Ohhh, yes.

CLAY: There’s a lot of good-looking girls. I think that probably factors in.

BUCK: You don’t have to say these things out loud, buddy! (chuckling)

CLAY: I say it out loud!

BUCK: (laughing)

CLAY: I say it out loud. I tell people what’s good.

BUCK: Maybe I appreciate it despite —

CLAY: Men play beach volleyball, too.

BUCK: Well, that’s… Yes. By the way, do we have ratings on which one is more watched?

CLAY: Oh, I bet women beach volleyball is way more watched than men.

BUCK: I would agree.

CLAY: Here’s the question as we get ready to go to break; I’ll come back. What are the least popular sports, according to Americans that they are least interested in? I doubt very many people will guess these, but I will tell you the sports that Americans are not interested in watching. I gave you the top five or six.

BUCK: I think my beloved table tennis, also known as ping-pong, is probably on that list.


BUCK: ‘Cause I am, for an amateur, freakishly good at ping-pong and it makes me very sad that that’s one that doesn’t get the proper love in this country that I think —

CLAY: Should we bring in the crew and let them guess? Ali is texting me right now.

BUCK: Oh, yeah, no. I’d love to hear from our team here, the EIB Network squad.

CLAY: Yes. Let’s bring in the EIB squad, and we will see if any of them can get one of the three least popular sports at the Olympics.


BUCK: Clay and I are getting into the Olympic situation here, and we’ll have got our EIB team that is telling us what is the least watched of the Olympic sports, the least popular, at least by viewership. Producers Ali, Greg, Mojo, Crash, Dub, all weighing in. Ali says fencing. Greg, it is skateboarding. Mojo says, speed walking. Dub says handball. I guess it all depends on shorts. Crash says… Do you see that? There was a controversy ’cause some of the ladies wouldn’t wear the shorts.

CLAY: I did see that which is kind of crazy.

BUCK: And Crash says the marathon because it’s exhausting. I think the marathon’s actually fun to watch. You just gotta watch the very end of it, though. But on person. I’ve never watched it on TV, to be fair.

CLAY: So here are the…? So was it Ali who said fencing?

BUCK: Yes.

CLAY: That is the fifth least popular, according to Americans, sport that is out there. Here are the bottoms — and, by the way, your water polo is the sixth least popular sport.

BUCK: Yeees. Take that! Take that!

CLAY: Counting down, handball. Dub, I think said, handball. It is the fourth least popular here. Modern pentathlon. I’m not even sure exactly what is in the pentathlon.

BUCK: Is that you swim, you ski, you shoot? Isn’t that all the different things?

CLAY: I don’t even know. I don’t know what is the modern pentathlon. I don’t know what they do. That sounds accurate. I think there’s five, right, pentathlon?

BUCK: You’re the sports guy! (laughing)

CLAY: But I don’t know the pentathlon.

BUCK: Clay Travis has to know everything about sports.

CLAY: I think it’s the five events. I don’t know what the five events would be in the pentathlon. Field hockey! Do men play that?

BUCK: Yes.

CLAY: I don’t think men play field hockey.

BUCK: Men play field hockey, sir.

CLAY: Really?

BUCK: It’s big in South Asia. Oh, yes.

CLAY: Oh, I didn’t know that.

BUCK: Yeah. Pakistan, they play it.

CLAY: I know girls play in America. But we don’t play field hockey in America, do we? Men?

BUCK: I mean, that all depends.

CLAY: Women are…? I know it’s a big sport for women, especially on the East Coast. But I don’t remember there being men who play field hockey. I always thought that… Well, I don’t know. I don’t think we do. And then the least popular, the least popular… It kind of surprised me. The Rugby Sevens is the least popular American Olympic sport, according to this. These are the most anticipated. Maybe there’s some that are not included here, but those are the least anticipated events in this graphic that I am looking at.

BUCK: I’m surprised. I’ve never been a rugby watcher in general. Rugby Sevens, is that a specific kind of rugby? Is it like seven on seven?

CLAY: I’m assuming it’s seven on seven. But I don’t know. I don’t even know how many people are usually on a rugby team. Yeah. Dub says seven-man rugby team. By the way, the pentathlon, Buck, is fencing, swimming, equestrian, pistol shooting, and running. That’s a pretty crazy collection of events.

BUCK: I was not that far off. So that’s kind of close.

CLAY: Pistol shooting! I didn’t know that. That’s kind of wild.

BUCK: Yeah. I didn’t know that. Well, yeah, I didn’t know that was a part of it. I’d also say that whenever you watch… If you were like me, if you grew up watching karate movies and then you actually see the Olympic sport —

CLAY: And by karate movies you mean Karate Kid?

BUCK: Well, no, no, no. Are you kidding me?

CLAY: You mean the Bruce Lee movies back in the day?

BUCK: I celebrate Jean-Claude Van Damme’s whole catalogue, Buddy.

CLAY: Okay, that’s right. That’s right.

BUCK: We could have a whole martial arts conversation here.

CLAY: (laughing)

BUCK: But, yeah, the karate in the Olympics is not as cool, unfortunately.

CLAY: Rugby usually has, by the way, 15 people on it.


BUCK: I gotta let Charles from North Carolina in here, ’cause he’s got a bone to pick. What’s up Charles? Welcome.

CALLER: Hey, guys! Hey, just want to let you know: In a few short weeks you guys have made me a fan. So I’m enjoying the show quite a bit because of your work.

BUCK: Thank you.

CALLER: But I had to take issue with your disparaging comments about water polo because any man or woman who plays water polo will take you out! Very strong, very athletic, very capable. I was a gymnast and a water polo athlete, and the water polo is much harder that gymnasts was.

CLAY: Yeah, I agree. I think Buck’s in trouble. You’re gonna be walking down the street in New York. Out of nowhere, door opens; water polo players are just gonna flatten you.

CALLER: (laughing)

BUCK: I was gonna say, first of all, water polo ladies, I’m sure, are absolutely fantastic. And, Charles, I wasn’t saying that it’s not a difficult sport or that it’s not that you guys are hard-core. I rowed crew in college, believe it or not, which is misery but also very good for you. But watching it is not the most… I meant from a specter perspective, you can’t see what’s going on in water polo. It looks like a lot of splashing, one of those aerobicized classes for some folks in the water that what it looks like.

CALLER: That’s true. (unintelligible)

CLAY: I don’t think you’re helping yourself here.

BUCK: I know. I’m drowning on this one.

CLAY: Now you’re comparing it to aerobics instructors?

BUCK: I’m drowning on water polo.

CLAY: Oh, well, yeah.

BUCK: It’s true.

CLAY: Maybe the next time you go swimming —

BUCK: Charles?

CLAY: — I’m telling you, they’re gonna drag you down into the water.

BUCK: Charles, if somehow, I don’t show up for the show one day and they find a yellow water polo ball next to my head on the street and I’m knocked out —

CALLER: (laughing) Yeah.

CLAY: (laughing)

BUCK: — we’ll know what happened but thank you for calling.


BUCK: Thank you for calling in, man. We appreciate it.

CLAY: Your boy Will Cain is a former water polo player, I believe, at Pepperdine. He’s gonna definitely take out.

BUCK: He’s gonna take me… But, no, does he agree with me that it’s not a good spectator sport?

CLAY: I don’t know. It’s a good question. Is it fun to watch on TV? Didn’t we win, like, the gold medal in water polo ’cause we brought over an eastern European beast of a coach?

BUCK: Clay, you’re the sports guy, and you don’t even know.

CLAY: I don’t know Olympic team!

BUCK: Listen to this. Next thing, people are gonna find out that you actually played soccer, too.

CLAY: I did.

BUCK: You frisky fellow.

CLAY: I did play.

BUCK: That’s right. He’s a stealth soccer player.


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