(Cued up to the 6:44 mark:
Max Kellerman to Stephen A. Smith this morning:
“You made the argument a couple weeks ago, you thought if SEC football wasn’t played that could swing the general election because people in Trump’s base would be very upset that they didn’t have football, which is practically a religion down there. I disagreed because he would simply shift blame because the pandemic is raging. They seem to be susceptible to very low quality information and easy to propagandize and almost immune to facts. Because, as Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s advisor, said, they have alternative facts. If they stay in their propaganda silos — like the Fox News propaganda silo — it wouldn’t matter what happened because they’d say the handling of the pandemic has been great. The handling of the pandemic has been the worst in the industrialized democratic world, by far. By far, in the United States, at a federal level, it’s been a disaster. And as a result we’re dealing with this pandemic. And yet I didn’t think that would affect voters because the blame would be shifted.”
Give Max Kellerman credit for one thing. He's got guts.
It's not every employee of a company that just spent up to $400 million for the rights to a product who'd have the balls to say that every consumer of said product is a low information moron who's easily duped and incapable of processing information. I mean, talk about shitting where you eat. ESPN has been bleeding subscribers for years, cable-cutting accelerated the process, months of no sports other than the World Cornhole Championships and competitive Rock Skipping made the network ratings (pardon the expression, Max) fall off a cliff. Now that college football is on the verge of tossing Disney a lifeline to put some eyeballs on some screens, one of their top commentators is describing their target demo as a collection of drooling halfwits who don't understand science as well as noted epidemiologist Dr. Max Kellerman.
It's an odd business strategy, to say the least. For a short time those of us at Barstool had the misfortune of having Michael Rapoport for a co-worker. Until one night he took to Twitter to verbally dump on the loyal readers and listeners who not only keep the lights on around here, but have built us into a media empire. He was fired before Dave Portnoy got out of bed the next morning. And he's mourned by no one.
Not that I'm asking for Kellerman's professional head. Quite the contrary. And I say this as someone who has never lived in the markets he's talking about and barely visited some of them. I like having guys who have such contempt for their audience in front of a camera speaking their mind. It makes it easier to keep track of them. Better they get their utter disgust for the paying customers out in the open instead of keeping it a secret.
The SEC comprises 14 schools in 11 states and Max just painted them all with the same brush. And I like hearing from people who have a terrible opinion of large segment of the population. Guys who hate an entire state or region … well, because. I know people like this. Who say everyone in the southeast is a piece of shit. Texas is full of cowboys. Alabama is all rednecks. Mississippi has nothing but swamp trash. Tennessee is all hillbillies. Not joking about Florida Woman headlines, but genuinely assuming everyone in the state has a screw loose or else they wouldn't live there. Basically accusing a huge region of the country of being a bunch of stereotypers while unironically stereotyping them.
So keep talking. I'm sure the bosses at ESPN will politely ask that he not reduce their desperately needed audience to a caricature of a backwards, podunk, dumbass hayseed. But I for one respect his honesty.
P.S. They can't pay Stephen A. enough to have to put up with this insufferable turd five days a week.