MARTHA MACCALLUM (ANCHOR): You wrote a piece this week that came out on Sunday titled “Novak Djokovic, Kyrie Irving, Aaron Rodgers are modern day heirs of Muhammad Ali.” Explain where you're going there.
CLAY TRAVIS (OUTKICK FOUNDER): Yeah, so people are fired up about this, which is good. That's the job of anybody who is writing a column, to get people talking. But there's this illusion that because people today acknowledge that the decision to fight the war in Vietnam was wrong, that everybody in the 1960s thought that too. No, no, no. It was wildly controversial to make the decision that Muhammad Ali did. And so look at what has happened to Aaron Rodgers in the NFL, to Kyrie Irving in the NBA, and to Novak Djokovic in the tennis world. These are three incredibly brave athletes who looked at all the data and said I'm not going to comply with government mandates as it pertains to the COVID shot, even if it potentially threatens my career in a big way. Kyrie Irving lost tens of millions of dollars and wasn't eligible to play for much of last season. Novac Djokovic may be the greatest men's tennis player of all time, but he is behind Rafael Nadal. He wasn't able to play in the Australian Open where he would have been favored to win. He's not able to play in the U.S. Open where he would be favored to win. This could cost him the titles of greatest men's player of all time. And Aaron Rodgers has suffered the slings and arrows of derision in the NFL. These are guys who refused to comply with the government mandate, were willing to take all of the criticism for that choice, and spoke out about something larger than their sport. That is rare.
Muhammad Ali did it. A lot of the athletes that we praise today, Martha, whether it's Megan Rapinoe, whether it's Lebron James, these are woke athletes being rewarded – Colin Kaepernick – for speaking out in a left-wing manner. They're actually making more money. To me, in order to really stand on something that matters, there has to be a risk to your livelihood, to your ability to excel at your profession, and Djokovic, certainly Kyrie Irving, and Aaron Rodgers all to me are going to be on the right side of history on the COVID shot, much like Muhammad Ali ended up being on the right side of history as it pertains to Vietnam. We're talking about 10, 20 years down the road. I think all three of these guys are going to be seen as incredibly courageous for being willing to stand up to government mandates.
MACCALLUM: It's an interesting argument, Clay. We talk a lot these days about freedom of, you know, bodily freedom and health care choices. And yet apparently not for these folks.