Yesterday ESPN’s First Take debated Tiger Woods’s statements about Donald Trump and respecting the office of the presidency.
Those statements were as follows.
Here’s MSESPN sports media trying to drag @TigerWoods into politics by attacking his relationship with @realDonaldTrump. This is what athletes deal with all the time now, left wing sports media trying to use them to advance their own political beliefs. pic.twitter.com/6B40CC5X7r
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) August 26, 2018
Tiger’s comments here — made in a sports press conference after just coming off the course — were an attempt to avoid interjecting himself into the political discussion. In so doing, Tiger Woods was following the example set by Michael Jordan, who decided to let his dominance on the basketball court speak for itself rather than constantly immerse himself in politics and let others use his name to advance their own political agendas.
The most famous reported quote embodying this decision by Jordan was, “Republicans buy sneakers too,” which I took as the title of my new book, which is out next month in both hardcover and audio.
The member of the media asking these questions of Woods — he writes, not surprisingly, for The New York Times — had a clear agenda at play here, he wanted Woods to attack Donald Trump.
Because many members of the sports media use sports figures as megaphones to espouse their own political viewpoints. Members of the sports media who are not opinionists — that is, they aren’t columnists or radio show hosts paid for their opinions — are in the business of reporting actual, unbiased news. So the only way this reporter could rip the president, which he probably wants to do based on the tone of the questions he asked, is if he gets to write a news piece quoting Tiger Woods ripping the president.
In writing that news piece, he’s able to slide over from news-based reporting into opinion-based reporting, but the only way he gets to do that is if he writes a piece sharing the opinion of an athlete that he happens to agree with.
This happens all the time now and it’s one reason sports has become so politicized. But it’s an important journalism trick and I think you need to see what’s happening here. Members of the sports media, who voted against Donald Trump 96% of the time, are very left leaning but rather than directly share their own opinions — “Oh, look, another liberal, left wing New York Times reporter!” — they try to ask political questions of athletes to get them to say opinions they agree with. Because once that happens rather than being a relatively anonymous liberal reporter, they get to use the athlete’s notoriety as a megaphone to broadcast the reporter’s actual political opinions far and wide.
It’s how news reporters can become opinionists by proxy.
This is why left wing opinions by athletes get such favorable opinions and praise in the sports media and have their opinions shared far and wide and why conservative athletes get crushed in the media, or in the case of Curt Schilling, get fired.
Even though Tiger Woods made the explicit decision not to get political here — arguing the office of the president deserves respect even if you don’t agree with everything the president does is about as nonpartisan as you can get and Tiger has previously played golf with George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Donald Trump — that wasn’t good enough for ESPN’s Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith, who lambasted Tiger on their show, questioning his blackness and his intelligence. (Has Tiger also been asked to weigh in on the presidencies of those other people he played golf with? If so, I don’t remember it occurring and I certainly don’t remember it becoming a top sports story).
Here’s a quick clip that an Outkick follower shared with me of a discussion on ESPN’s First Take.
In less than 20 seconds on @FirstTake, @stephenasmith and @maxkellerman completely insult Tiger Woods’s intelligence and then race card him because he said that he respects Donald Trump, or whoever is in office. @ClayTravis pic.twitter.com/AaYCEo7mWV
— Ryan Moses (@RMoses10) August 27, 2018
Here is the full discussion seven minute discussion on Tiger Woods saying the office of the president deserves respect:
Stephen A. Smith also Tweeted me this morning as we discussed this on Outkick and said as follows:
I don’t need to explain anything to you or @ClayTravis. I just saw his opinion and I respect where he’s coming from. But I said I agree with Tiger about respecting the office. I always try to be fair, no matter what. Always.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) August 28, 2018
So that’s all the background here.
Now let me weigh in: first, Max Kellerman is doing what far left wing liberals do, he is arguing that anyone who disagrees with his opinion is stupid. On top of that, he’s angry at Tiger Woods for not sharing the opinion he, himself, has. How do we know that? Because Kellerman said just that in the above clip.
“I want to say something about what Tiger Woods said now. It really bothers me. I’m angry at what Tiger Woods said. It is a thoughtless statement dressed up as a thoughtful statement.”
What Max Kellerman is directly saying here is this: any athlete who says anything at all that isn’t condemning Donald Trump is stupid and it makes me angry. Incredibly, what Tiger Woods said was completely apolitical and yet ESPN still couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to bash the president.
In other words, no matter what is said, even if it’s not remotely political, Kellerman and others like him on ESPN are going to use the statements to bash Donald Trump. What’s more, and this is I believe when it is inauthentic, Kellerman is using a sports show to convey his own political opinions even when the story doesn’t justify it at all.
If Kellerman wants to host a show on MSNBC or CNN and bash the president all day, there’s certainly a market for that, but this is what I mean when I say that ESPN has adopted far left wing politics. Kellerman uses every opportunity to attack the president and he’s falsely doing it under the guise of sports. He’s dragging us away from Tiger’s apolitical answer because his agenda is nakedly transparent — bash Donald Trump on a sports network with every chance I get.
Now Kellerman isn’t a reporter, he’s an opinionist but he also isn’t being fair and impartial.
If Tiger Woods had bashed Donald Trump, Kellerman would have praised him to the high heavens. But if you attempt to avoid politics or, god forbid, actually endorse the president then you get crushed by the sports media.
That’s not remotely fair and viewers are seeing through this rigmarole.
Worse, if Kellerman is going to use every opportunity to bash Donald Trump, shouldn’t you have a person on to debate him directly on the issue? I’m not sure if there’s a huge market for Crossfire meets sports and politics, but if there is, you need to share both sides of the argument here.
That doesn’t happen on ESPN today, which doesn’t employ a single person who has publicly announced he or she voted for Donald Trump.
Now on to Stephen A. Smith.
I have an issue with equating anyone’s opinion with their race, gender, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation because I believe identity politics is a cancer in our country. So whether Tiger Woods is black, white, Asian, or Hispanic is, to me, totally insignificant when it comes to his opinions on any issue.
To argue otherwise is, I believe, racist.
Because when you say Tiger Woods isn’t black, what you’re doing is suggesting that if he were black he’d have a different opinion than the one he does. It also suggests that there are right and wrong opinions for a black man to have, which is, again, I believe racist.
Now Stephen A. is a smart guy and probably the most talented opinionist employed by ESPN. In his tweet to me above he says he agrees with Tiger Woods about respecting the office of the presidency. If that’s the case, why not say that more forcefully and calling Kellerman out on his clear bias? All Stephen A. would have to say here is this, “Max, unless Tiger Woods condemned Donald Trump as the worst president in our lives then you were going to rip him for it because that’s what you believe. This isn’t about Tiger’s opinion on Donald Trump at all, it’s about yours.”
At that point the argument is over because Stephen A. would have exposed Kellerman’s clear and apparent bias.
Instead, by beginning with Tiger’s race, what Stephen A. is doing is suggesting that Tiger’s race defines him to such an extent that he can’t escape it and his opinions are inextricably connected to that race.
I don’t know Tiger Woods at all, but what I’ve taken Tiger’s describing himself as a cablinasian to mean is that he defines himself primarily as an individual of varied and diverse ethnicities, not as a member of a particular ethnic background. That’s what I wish everyone did, honestly, because if we all did that then identity politics would crumble. If we’re all more than what we look like and who we sleep with then politicians wouldn’t be able to nakedly appeal to us based on our tribal connections to others.
If you start off your opinion with, “As a black transgender gay female, I believe,” I block out everything before you say, I believe. Either I agree with your opinion or I don’t. I can see what you look like, but your appearance isn’t what gives your opinion legitimacy and cogency.
Remarkably, First Take, the same show that argued Donald Trump was out of line — and racist — when he Tweeted LeBron James’s political opinions weren’t smart, had no issue whatsoever with calling Tiger Woods stupid and not black because he had the audacity to not mix sports and politics together.
If Donald Trump, a white man, was racist for saying LeBron’s politics weren’t smart, isn’t Max Kellerman, a white man, racist for saying that Tiger Woods, a minority of black and Asian descent, is stupid for his opinions? Isn’t the logic the exact same here, that if a white man calls a minority stupid for his opinions he’s automatically racist? That’s plainly a dumb argument a person’s opinion isn’t smart or not based on his race, but that’s the standard ESPN has previously set when it comes to analyzing sports and Donald Trump.
Thank God for double standards, because without them ESPN would have no standards at all.