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OutKick’s Bobby Burack Talks Woke Sports with Clay

13 May 2022

CLAY: We bring in one of the really talented young writers, who is doing good work every single day at the website that I sold to Fox last year, almost a year to this day, OutKick.com. I’d encourage you to add it to your repertoire of places that you go visit if you’re looking for sanity in an insane world. But, Bobby, I want to start with this. It’s Friday the 13th. You haven’t been prepped on this. Is there a scary movie that to you is the greatest of all scary movies, like, if you had to watch a scary movie tonight, which one would you pick and why?

BURACK: So, the answer has to be The Shining, Clay, right? Because, of all the goofy characters that we’ve seen in horror movies, nobody has been more authentically terrifying than a crazy Jack Nicholson that’s stuck in that lodge all winter. So, to me, when he’s chasing after his family with the axe and stuff when you turn all the lights off, nothing’s more terrifying than that, and I say that as somebody that saw The Conjuring opening night in the theaters at 12 a.m. —

CLAY: Oh, that’s great.

BURACK: — when everybody started clapping when they heard those voices in the basement. That was unbelievable.

CLAY: By the way, we’re gonna open up phone lines in the third hour: 800-282-2882. But, if you are a huge horror movie fan and you want to weigh in with what people should watch tonight, given the fact it’s Friday the 13th, you can load up the phone lines; we’ll take some of your calls throughout the course of the remainder of the show on that topic. All right, Bobby. You do fantastic work for us at OutKick. And I couldn’t believe that the NBA did this.

We talk a lot at OutKick about the degree to which sports has turned into basically woke sports. It’s taken over the universe of regular sports fans. And they constantly are lecturing us. And the worst in terms of lecture — I think you probably agree — is the NBA. And so the NBA pulled their All-Star Game — we got a lot of people listening in North Carolina — out of Charlotte over a transgender bathroom bill. And then they end up now going to the United Arab Emirates, which if you are gay, you can be put to death there. And it feels like OutKick — and to a certain extent Fox News, which builds on a lot of OutKick’s work — are some of the only outlets even discussing this. How crazy is the hypocrisy?

BURACK: Yeah. And there’s no other league that gets protected by the sports media like the NBA does. I mean, this has been going on for years right now. The fear that broadcasters from ESPN, The Ringer and CBS and New York Times have calling out the NBA is really second to none. And what I find so fascinating about this is, Clay, the NBA just turned the corner for the first time in four years by moving out of politics, by focusing just on the games. And what do you know?

They’re reaching near record highs, highest opening first round since 2014 — and, for context, the NBA ratings plummeted to all-time lows when they really embraced the, quote, unquote, racial reckoning in the country; they put Black Lives Matter across the court, I mean, the NBA lost almost 48% of their audience when they embraced social justice messaging. And it took ’em three years to get it back so, all of a sudden, they’re just now focusing back on the game, and people love it. Now they make a statement like this, they’re in jeopardy I think, again, of losing some of their more moderate political audience, which is just insane business decision.

CLAY: Now, also Phil Mickelson got destroyed to such an extent — golfer out there who a lot of people listening to us right now play golf, I know. Phil Mickelson got destroyed for negotiating with Saudi Arabia about a new golf league, effectively. And he didn’t even agree to it. He certainly didn’t sign on to do it. Yet the NBA criticism is minor, relatively speaking. How can you justify Phil Mickelson getting crushed like he did for negotiating with Saudi Arabia compared to the NBA getting a pass with the United Arab Emirates?

BURACK: Well, you can’t. That just goes back to the first point about how the media protects the NBA, particularly the sorts media. Clay, you know, you and I are some of the only people that have really called out LeBron James’ hypocrisy and some of the other NBA players. Right away every time we do this, somebody from like The Athletic or The Atlantic comes after us saying, “Oh, you guys don’t like because the NBA players stuck up for, you know, black rights and racial injustice and all that.”

So, you get none of that when you criticize Phil Mickelson. So, it doesn’t surprise me that top shows like Pardon the Interruption will lead an entire day condemning Phil Mickelson for thinking about going to Saudi Arabia, but not mention this, because there’s no pushback by going after Phil Mickelson, an old white male golfer. But going after some of these NBA players, who are so active and popular on Twitter, that comes with another degree of backlash that, quite frankly, most journalists and TV anchors don’t have the backbone to withstand.

CLAY: Speaking of journalists and TV anchors, ESPN… I still think this is shocking. We’re talking, by the way, with Bobby Burack. He does fantastic work at Outkick. Encourage you to go check out OutKick.com to read a lot of what he is doing on a day-to-day basis. ESPN stopped programming in March during the NCAA women’s basketball tournament — I think a lot of people out there listening right now may not even know this — to criticize the Florida parents’ rights bill, which kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third graders are not gonna be taught about sex-related issues.

Again, ESPN on their programming stopped and had a moment of silence. Elle Duncan is I believe who was hosting this ridiculous charade. Yet they’re not going to even say a word about the NBA going to the UAE. They claimed that they cared about gay people, but, as we just said, Gay people can be put to death in the UAE. Same thing for the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks also have had walkout situations. What in the world is going on here that ESPN can have this woke stance as it pertains to the state of Florida for a bill that, frankly, a lot of their people aren’t even smart enough to understand why they sounded like such idiots for this protest —

BURACK: Right.

CLAY: — and yet they’re not gonna be saying a word about the UAE or the NBA’s relationship there?

BURACK: Yes, Elle Duncan, like you said, goes on air during a college basketball tournament and says, it’s so unfair to the LGBTQ community that the teachers won’t let the kids say “gay,” which obviously is not true. There’s nothing in the bill that bans you from using the word “gay.” It’s not what it does. It basically tells teachers, you know, don’t talk about sex change and transgenderism with third graders and younger. So, she doesn’t even know what the bill says.

She interrupts a game to spread that talking point saying this is an attack on the LGBTQ community. Then she goes on Twitter a little after saying, well, I have friends that are LGBTQ, so it’s my job to use my large platform to stand up for them and protect them. Yet, like you said, the NBA — a league that she claims to be her favorite — is now partnered up with a country that if you’re gay they’re allowed to punish you by death.

Moreover, Clay, Elle Duncan is frequently interacting with Joy Reid on Twitter who posted a bunch of homophobic posts on her blog a couple years ago. So, Elle Duncan brands herself as the gay rights activist at ESPN, yet she’s talking with Joy Reid and not saying a word about the NBA (laughing) dealing with a country that can kill you for being gay. So, to me, there’s no bigger fraud at ESPN than her. There’s a lot of people on that list to consider, but right now I think she’s in a league of her own.

CLAY: She’s a clown and she’s a hypocrite —

BURACK: (laughing)

CLAY: — and, frankly, I’m not even sure she’s smart enough to understand how much of a clown and a hypocrite she is. But it’s part of the larger network environment that ESPN has created. Bobby, for people who may not be super plugged in in the world of sports, how left wing is the sports media that covers sports?

‘Cause we talk a lot about the left-wing bias in politics from MSNBC and the Washington Post and the New York Times and CNN and all these outlets that everybody immediately recognizes and acknowledges has that left-wing bias. A lot of times the ESPNs of the world slide under the radar and the extreme left-wing bias of the sports media, outside of places like OutKick, almost doesn’t even get called out at all.

BURACK: Right. I don’t think there’s anybody more qualified to talk about this than you and I, because I don’t think anybody on a daily basis delves into both the political and media landscape in the sports media landscape like we do. And yet there is a perspective that the news media leans left, which it absolutely does. But the sports media leans in that direction so much further, because here’s the thing: The reason with sports media is that most of the people are sort of bitter and they feel like they need to prove what side they’re on.

You see so many people just never miss an opportunity to call somebody racist for somebody that’s not racist. At least in the news media, you have alternative outlets that can push back on that prominent outlet. Until OutKick, there was nobody in the sports media space that could even get a moderate opinion just to push back and say, ‘Wait a minute. What you’re saying is not factual.” All these sports anchors saying that this bill prohibits the word of “gay,” if there wasn’t OutKick, there would not be a single website that covers sports that would have said that.

CLAY: I don’t think there’s any doubt. If you enjoy this conversation and you want to have a little bit of sanity in your sports life, I’d encourage you to check out Bobby Burack. Also, check out OutKick.com. Bobby, by the way, data also out there: Major League Baseball pulled the All-Star Game out of Georgia because they said that it was Jim Crow 2.0. Voting has surged in Georgia. Another lie, another thing that sports got wrong.

BURACK: I think. I think my favorite one is actually I think when Biden called it Jim Crow on asteroids. Jim Crow 2.0 is pretty good but Jim Crow on steroids is even better. Yeah, this is just another example of some of these sports companies and major corporations acting irrationally out of fear. What happened here is, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, he saw the push to say that Georgia’s bills were holding black people back, was an example of voter suppression so he felt he needed to make a statement to show everybody, well, he’s not a racist.

You can’t call me a racist! I pulled the All-Star Game out of Atlanta. But, as you say, it didn’t suppress any vote. Voting has doubled since 2018. And, moreover, what ended up happening he took the All-Star Game to Colorado, which arguably has more stringent voting laws than Georgia, and, in the meantime, he ended up just taking money away from black-owned businesses in Atlanta. So, what did he accomplish? Nothing.

CLAY: Thankfully, the Braves won the World Series and got to host three World Series games instead. Bobby, keep up the good work. Appreciate it, my man.

BURACK: Clay, appreciate it.

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