Sports pundit Clay Travis has found himself in hot water after criticizing ESPN for their promotion of the WNBA.
Travis posted a tweet Wednesday expressing his disapproval after SportsCenter informed its 41.5 million followers that the New York Liberty had signed WNBA player Breanna Stewart.
The SportsCenter tweet showed Stewart alongside new teammates Jonquel Jones and Sabrina Ionescu.
“Just stop. The vast majority of sports fans can’t name any of these people. @espn’s descent into woke sports engineering continues,” Travis wrote in a quote tweet.
The Outkick founder’s comments quickly attracted the ire of multiple sports media figures.
“You’re so lost in your grift that you just blanket everything you don’t personally care for as ‘woke,'” wrote Seattle Sports contributor Joe Fann.
Jake Fenner, who covers sports for the Daily Mail, tweeted that, as “the founder of a sports publication,” Travis should be able to “name three women’s basketball players.”
Travis then doubled-down on his comments.
Big turnout for the WNBA championship parade today. pic.twitter.com/atQGy9oey3
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 20, 2021
“If you ever wonder how @outkick got so massive it’s because I’m just about the only person in sports media willing to say the WNBA sucks,” Travis wrote in a separate tweet thread. “[M]ost sports fans have zero interest in it, & it’s wildly overhyped for woke political reasons. Which 99% of actual sports fans agree with.”
Data suggest that the WNBA is not particularly popular with the general public.
In 2020, the WNBA Finals averaged under a million viewers per game, while the NBA Finals averaged over 12 million viewers per game.
WNBA player Sue Bird, who has since retired, spoke up at the time, blaming the league’s lack of popularity on bigotry.
“[T]o be blunt it’s the demographic of who’s playing. Women’s soccer players generally are cute little white girls while WNBA players, we are all shapes and sizes,” Bird said, claiming that the number of “black, gay, tall women” in the league was an “intimidation factor.”