Clay Travis
Travis in 2020
Born
Richard Clay Travis

(1979-04-06) April 6, 1979 (age 42)
NationalityAmerican
EducationGeorge Washington University
Vanderbilt University Law School
OccupationPolitical commentator
Sports journalist
Writer
Radio host
Years active2005–present
Spouse(s)
Lara Travis
(m. 2004)
Children3

Richard Clay Travis (born April 6, 1979) is an American political commentator, sports journalist, writer, lawyer, radio host, television analyst, media personality and founder of OutKick. He and Buck Sexton are hosts of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour weekday conservative talk show which debuted on June 21, 2021 as the replacement of The Rush Limbaugh Show on many radio stations.[1]

Early life

In 1997, Travis graduated from Martin Luther King Magnet at Pearl High School in Nashville. He graduated from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., followed by Vanderbilt University Law School in Nashville.

Career

Travis in 2013
Travis in 2013

Travis originally worked as a lawyer in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Tennessee.[2] He attracted media attention in late 2004 with his personal blog written while he was living in the U.S. Virgin Islands. A Tennessee Titans fan, Travis was unable to get NFL Sunday Ticket, the satellite TV package to watch NFL games in the islands, and went on a "pudding strike", eating only pudding every day for 50 days, with the goal of forcing DirecTV to carry the package in the Virgin Islands.[3] The effort failed, but he blogged about the experience and received media attention.[4][5]

Travis began writing online for CBS Sports in September 2005, which for the first year was not paid.[6] In 2006, Travis gave up his law practice for good.[7] Later, while writing for CBS, Travis began working on a book, Dixieland Delight, where he visited the football stadiums of the 12 then-current members of the Southeastern Conference.[2][a] After leaving CBS, Travis became a writer and editor at Deadspin, and then a national columnist at FanHouse.[6]

Outkick the Coverage

After FanHouse was merged into Sporting News in 2011, Travis founded Outkickthecoverage.com.[6] The website later became one of the most visited college football sites on the web.[7] While there, he continued developing his reputation for occasionally "contrarian" opinions.[8]

In 2008, Travis worked out at D1 Sports Training with NFL prospects preparing for the NFL Draft. He later wrote a ten-part serial about the experience which he entitled Rough Draft.[9]

In 2010, The Nashville Scene named Travis "Best Sports Radio Host We Love To Hate" in the publication's "Best of Nashville" issue.[citation needed] He later became a co-host of a sports radio talk show, 3HL, on Nashville's 104.5 The Zone with Brent Dougherty and Blaine Bishop.[10] He also hosted a national sports radio show on NBC Sports.[6]

Fox Sports

In 2014, Travis resigned from his role on 3HL[10] and was hired by Fox Sports for its weekly college football Saturday pre-game show.[7] In 2015, he signed a deal with Fox Sports to license his entire sports media brand under Fox Sports, including his website Outkick the Coverage, which was folded into Fox Sports' website.[11] He also started a national weekly television show, started a daily Outkick the Show broadcast on Periscope and Facebook, and began a national radio show with Fox Sports Radio in 2016.[12]

Travis was called out by DeMarcus Cousins for a 2010 prediction he had made that Cousins would be arrested within the next five years.[13][14] In response, Travis offered to donate to a charity of Cousins' choosing.[13][14]

Radio

Travis began a daily sports radio show on Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone, 3HL, in 2010. After leaving 3HL, in 2016 he began the “Outkick the Coverage” radio show for Fox Sports Radio nationwide mornings from 6-9 am et. Travis left that show in May 2021, when it was announced Travis and Buck Sexton would be taking over Rush Limbaugh's time slot on Premiere Networks.[15] That show debuted on June 21, 2021.

Controversies

Vanderbilt Confederate Memorial Hall

In August 2016, Travis criticized his alma mater, Vanderbilt University, for planning to remove the word "Confederate" from its historic Confederate Memorial Hall, comparing the move to actions taken by "Middle Eastern terrorists."[16] Consequently, Travis lost a $3,000 promotion deal he had with Jack Daniel's.[16] Travis said online that a Jack Daniel's representative decided that his Twitter commentary on the statue "brings (the company) into public disrepute."[17]

CNN "boobs" comment

On September 15, 2017, Travis appeared as a guest on CNN, with anchor Brooke Baldwin, to discuss free speech, specifically whether ESPN personality Jemele Hill should be fired for calling Donald Trump a "white supremacist" and stating that police officers are "modern-day slave catchers" on her personal Twitter page. Travis stated that it would be bad policy on ESPN's part to fire Hill for her private comments, just as it was bad policy when ESPN fired Curt Schilling for comments he made regarding transgender bathrooms on his personal Facebook page. Travis received criticism for using a phrase he commonly used on his radio show when he said "...I'm a First Amendment absolutist – the only two things I 100 percent believe in are the First Amendment and boobs..."[18] Baldwin cut the interview short and later responded, "when I first heard 'boobs' from a grown man on national television (in 2017!!!), my initial thought bubble was: 'Did I hear that correctly??..."[19]

COVID-19 comments

Travis has attracted harsh criticism for spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic.[20][21][22][23] Travis has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the disease, calling it "overrated",[24] claiming that it is less severe than the seasonal flu,[24] that fewer than several hundred would die of the disease in the US,[20] that victims of the disease probably have been "killed a month or two earlier" than they would have been otherwise,[25] and stated that the mortality rate for those under 80 and without pre-existing conditions is "virtually zero".[20] He suggested that some advocates for mitigation measures to slow the spread were "rooting for the virus to triumph".[26][27]

Politics

A self-described "radical moderate" who is pro-choice and against the death penalty, Travis said he voted for former President Barack Obama twice and claims he never voted Republican. In 2016, Travis voted for Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party.[28]

As an undergrad, Travis interned for U.S. Representative Bob Clement for four years while in college at George Washington University.[29] In 2000, he worked on Al Gore's presidential campaign.[28] Travis was hired to work on U.S. Representative Jim Cooper's 2002 congressional campaign but was fired for wrecking Cooper's wife's car.[29]

On September 20, 2017, Travis announced he was considering running as an Independent for U.S. Senator of Tennessee in the 2018 election if incumbent Bob Corker decided not to run. Travis also stated that he believed with his name recognition he "could beat anyone in the state" and would make both major parties "incredibly nervous."[30] The following week, Senator Corker announced he would not be running for re-election,[31] but Travis did not enter the race.

On October 30, 2020, Travis said that he would be voting for Donald Trump in the 2020 United States presidential election. He said it would be the first time he had ever voted for a Republican for president.[32]

Personal life

Travis' wife, Lara, is a former Tennessee Titans cheerleader. They have three sons together.[5]

Books authored

Footnotes

References

  1. ^ "Clay Travis & Buck Sexton To Take Over Rush Limbuagh Show". RadioInsight. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Clay Travis goes from couch crasher to sports media celeb". USA TODAY. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  3. ^ "Give Him Tv Football Or Give Him Pudding!". tribunedigital-orlandosentinel. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  4. ^ Times, Matt ChristianPrinceton. "From pudding strikes to radio, writers touch their audiences".
  5. ^ a b "10/10/2004: Clay Travis protests lack of Titans on TV a spoonful at a time".
  6. ^ a b c d "FOX Sports 1 Takes On ESPN With Unique Talent That Includes Clay Travis". Forbes. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c "Sports Media Personality Clay Travis Creates Multi-Million Dollar Brand". Forbes. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  8. ^ "Clay Travis re-signs with Fox Sports to expand his "sports media brand"". Awful Announcing. June 25, 2015. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  9. ^ AOL. "Sports News & latest headlines from AOL".
  10. ^ a b Travis, Clay. "Signing off 3HL tomorrow, and radio ... for now".
  11. ^ "Clay Travis finds new home with Fox Sports megadeal". The Tennessean. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  12. ^ "Clay Travis to launch national college football TV show". The Tennessean. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  13. ^ a b "DeMarcus Cousins trolls writer who said he would be arrested". SI.com. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  14. ^ a b "NBA player destroys writer who 5 years ago said there was a 100% chance he would be arrested within 5 years". Business Insider. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  15. ^ Steele, Anne (May 27, 2021). "WSJ News Exclusive | Rush Limbaugh's Radio Show to Be Taken Over by Clay Travis and Buck Sexton". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
  16. ^ a b Tamburin, Adam (August 17, 2016). "Jack Daniel's nixes Clay Travis deal over 'Confederate' controversy". The Tennessean. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  17. ^ "Jack Daniel's nixes Clay Travis deal over 'Confederate' controversy".
  18. ^ Concha, Joe. "Radio host on CNN: I believe in 'the First Amendment and boobs'". The Hill. September 15, 2017.
  19. ^ "Brooke Baldwin: Speaking like this to women in 2017? No way".
  20. ^ a b c "The Ballad of Clay Travis". The Bulwark. April 10, 2020. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  21. ^ Kalaf, Samer. "Fox Sports pundit Clay Travis is spreading the worst possible coronavirus advice". The Outline. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  22. ^ Strauss, Ben (September 3, 2020). "Trump and the right loved Clay Travis. The fight over college football sealed their bond". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  23. ^ Silverman, Robert (July 26, 2020). "Inside the Right-Wing Sports Site Pushing COVID Trutherism". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  24. ^ a b OutKick [@Outkick] (February 24, 2020). ""I believe the coronavirus is overrated and we are overreacting to it because it is a new and novel fear. The flu happens every year and affects far more people than the coronavirus does." -- @ClayTravis t.co/T8fpehP91A" (Tweet). Retrieved January 9, 2021 – via Twitter.
  25. ^ Travis, Clay [@ClayTravis] (June 8, 2020). "I suspect data at end of the year will reflect the coronavirus killed people a month or two earlier than they otherwise might have died in spring. But death rates for rest of summer will be lower than normal. And that total deaths in 2020 will be very similar to past five years" (Tweet). Retrieved January 9, 2021 – via Twitter.
  26. ^ Travis, Clay [@ClayTravis] (March 28, 2020). "It's truly astounding how many coronavirus bros there are on social media who are rooting for the virus to triumph and refuse to accept any positive numbers at all. I've never seen anything like it. It's wild" (Tweet). Retrieved January 9, 2021 – via Twitter.
  27. ^ "Clay Vs. Karen Rovell Boils Over After Karen Starts Rooting For Corona – Again". OutKick. July 13, 2020. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  28. ^ a b Travis, Clay (August 14, 2017). "Yes, I've Turned Down TV Show(s)". Outkick the Coverage. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  29. ^ a b Rau, Nate (July 1, 2014). "Clay Travis: couch crasher to sports media celebrity". The Tennessean. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  30. ^ Conradis, Brandon (September 20, 2017). "Sports radio host and ESPN critic mulls Senate run in Tennessee". The Hill. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  31. ^ Collins, Michael (September 26, 2017). "Sen. Bob Corker will not seek re-election next year". The Tennessean. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  32. ^ "Clay: Why I'm Voting For Donald Trump". OutKick. October 30, 2020. Retrieved October 31, 2020.