Research/Study Research/Study

Fox Corp’s OutKick spent March Madness attacking the NCAA women’s tournament and athletes

The conservative sports outlet has spent the tournament stoking outrage that women are getting attention and could be pretty good at basketball actually

Fox Corp.-owned sports outlet OutKick’s coverage of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament was full of misogynist attacks and chauvinist assumptions. The outlet targeted star players including Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese, criticizing their skills compared to high school boys, attacking their character, and dismissing complaints that they were being “sexualized.” OutKick founder Clay Travis also took aim at positive coverage of women’s college basketball, accusing outlets reporting on the growth of women’s sports of engaging in “identity politics” instead of sports coverage. These latest attacks fit OutKick’s long-running pattern of criticizing women’s sports and prominent athletes, including Megan Rapinoe, Simone Biles, and Billie Jean King.

  • OutKick attacked women athletes during the NCAA tournament, claiming they could never compete against boys and dismissing players’ efforts to defend themselves against “sexualized” coverage

    • Travis claimed Iowa Hawkeyes star and NCAA single season 3-point record holder Caitlin Clark “could not start on a top state champion high school boys team.” He continued, “She could not play on any men's basketball team in America that is hoping to make the NCAA tournament. Every single benched player on any men's NCAA tournament team right now, would destroy Caitlin Clark in a game of 1-on-1.” [OutKick, OutKick The Show, 3/29/24; ESPN, 4/1/24] 
    • Travis said women basketball players are paid less because they are less “fun” to watch than men. He stated, “Tens of millions of more people will watch the NCAA men's tournament than the women’s tournament. This is an indisputable truth. It always has been that way, I believe it always will be that way. Men are bigger, stronger, and faster, that makes men's basketball more fun to watch to most people than women’s basketball at all levels. That's why the NBA players make $50 million a year and the WNBA players make $50,000 a year.” [OutKick, OutKick The Show, 3/19/24]
    • On Travis’ radio show, he argued Clark could not play on any men's basketball team because “even boys are bigger, stronger, and faster than the best women.” “Caitlin Clark has a 0% chance of playing in the NBA, she has a 0% chance of ever playing in a men's college game,” Travis said, “She couldn’t play high school boys’ basketball. … That's not because of sexism. That's not because of the patriarchy. It's because men are bigger, stronger, and faster than women. Even boys are bigger, stronger, and faster than the best women.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, 4/1/24]
    • OutKick writer David Hookstead argued LSU basketball player Angel Reese should not complain about being sexualized because she previously modeled for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. He wrote, “It's hard to take this complaint seriously when Reese is going out of her way to post sexualized content. If she's that bothered by it, why are there bikini shots all over her Instagram?” [OutKick, 4/2/24]
    • Travis compared Reese to the comic book villain Thanos and argued she had no right to complain about being treated poorly. He stated, “When Thanos snapped his fingers and eliminated half of all life, spoiler alert, in the Avengers franchise, Thanos then didn't have a press conference and say, ‘You know what happened? People really didn't like me, they sent me death threats, they made really mean memes that sexualized me.’ If you're the villain, people are going to be mean to you. And let me just say this — no one’s going to have a great deal of sympathy for the villain. You’ve got to own it.” [OutKick, OutKick the Show, 4/3/24]
    • OutKick Senior Editor Joe Kinsey penned an article accusing Clark of “whining,” suggesting Reese is a “scumbag,” and complaining that WNBA games are “ridiculously meaningless.” Kinsey wrote that “Caitlin Clark's constant whining act is worn out,” adding, “In the name of equality, if we're going to hammer LeBron for constantly flopping, bitching at refs and constantly acting as if he's never fouled another player on the court, then we need to have the same conversation about Clark.” [OutKick, 3/26/24]
  • Travis repeatedly complained about the growing popularity of women’s basketball, calling this season’s coverage “identity politics masquerading as sports”

    • Travis attacked articles claiming the NCAA women’s basketball tournament was a bigger deal this year as “identity politics masquerading as sports” and meant “to denigrate male athletics.” [OutKick, OutKick The Show, 3/19/24]
    • Travis claimed it was “identity politics” to argue that women’s college basketball is more popular than men’s games. He ranted, “The reality is women’s college basketball is a pinprick as big as men’s college basketball. The fact that anyone tried to argue on the contrary, is a sign that they care about identity politics more than they care about objective reality and the truth.” According to Michael Mulvihill, the President of Insights and Analytics at FOX Sports, women's college basketball games averaged more viewers than men's college basketball games on the network this season. [OutKick, OutKick the Show, 3/27/24; Awful Announcing, 3/5/24]
    • Travis again bemoaned coverage on the popularity of women's basketball. He stated, “The NCAA tournament ratings, according to CBS Sports and Turner, have hit all-time highs. This is interesting to me because you may remember coming into the NCAA tournament, there was a media narrative which was being widely shared — I read from The Wall Street Journal and New York Times, they said women's basketball, college basketball has now eclipsed men’s basketball. It’s more popular, it has better story lines, everybody cares — no, no, no.” [OutKick, OutKick The Show, 3/25/24; Awful Announcing, 3/5/24]
    • Travis accused “woke media outlets” of asserting that the NCAA women’s basketball tournament could outperform the men’s tournament. He wrote, “Writers at the WSJ, ESPN, the NYT and other woke media outlets all asserted as fact that sports fans cared more about women’s basketball than men’s and that the women might well outdraw the men. It was total lunacy. There was zero evidence to support it.” Notably, the Iowa-LSU women's game this year was the most watched college basketball game on ESPN platforms ever. [Twitter/X, 3/26/24; Axios, 4/2/24]
  • OutKick has a history of attacking women’s sports and athletes including Megan Rapinoe, Simone Biles, and Billie Jean King

    • OutKick joined other conservative outlets in attacking the United States women’s national soccer team’s athletes. The outlet wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter), “The majority of the OutKick audience is rooting against the USWNT because of many of their athletes holding very anti-American beliefs.” And according to OutKick writer Dan Zaksheske, “The US Women’s National Team does not compete for the United States. Not really. They compete for themselves,” accusing members of “constantly pushing radical left-wing talking points leading into 2023 World Cup.” [Media Matters, 7/25/23, Twitter/X, 7/23/23; OutKick, 7/19/23]
    • During the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, OutKick belittled women’s soccer and attacked USWNT. “The women were awful, they performed and failed at the highest level in Women's World Cup history. They should be ridiculed,” Travis argued after USWNT lost to Sweden in penalty kicks, adding, “I think it's actually sexist and homophobic not to attack these women.” [Media Matters, 8/14/23]
    • OutKick writer Amber Harding joined others in right-wing media celebrating soccer star Megan Rapinoe tearing her Achilles tendon, calling the incident “karma.” “I did not think it was impossible to be more self-important than she already was but, you did it, Megan, you did it,” Harding stated. “The narcissism that just seeps out of her is absolutely remarkable. But yeah, that's exactly what that was, it was karma.” [Media Matters, 11/17/23]
    • Appearing on Fox News, Travis attacked Olympic gymnast Simone Biles for withdrawing from the gymnastics team final. Travis told Fox News anchor Bret Baier, “I don't think it's heroic. I don't think that she should be praised for it and, in fact, I think — I feel bad for her teammates and the alternates that would have been able to step up and potentially take that spot.” [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 7/27/21]
    • OutKick host Riley Gaines accused USWNT’s Rapinoe and tennis legend Billie Jean King of undermining the fight for gender equality in sports by supporting trans athletes. Gaines, a former college swimmer turned anti-trans activist, claimed, “These women, they’re actively working to undermine their fight. It's beyond me.” [YouTube, 5/9/23; Media Matters, 6/13/23]
    • Gaines agreed with Travis that high school boys would beat WNBA champions. Recounting Travis’ claim that WNBA champions “would not be able to hold a candle to any high school boys basketball team in the country,” OutKick host Charly Arnolt asked, “If you're putting the bet, you're going to put the bet on the boys basketball team, high school level, versus a professional squad, not to mention the champions, from the WNBA, right?” Gaines replied “Of course.” [OutKick, OutKick The Morning, 10/30/23]