Facebook/Clay Travis/Getty Images Clay Travis, Takk McKinley

No, Clay Travis, I'm not triggered. I'm not offended. I'm not uncomfortable. I'm not calling you a bigot and I don't want you fired.

I just want to respectfully disagree with your rude comments toward Takkarist McKinley.

For reference, McKinley was selected No. 26 overall in the NFL Draft by the Falcons last Thursday night. He arrived at the podium holding a portrait of his deceased grandmother. He explained to NFL Network that he promised his grandma he'd make it to the NFL, and now, he was accomplishing that goal. "This is who I do it for," he said.

Clay Travis is a writer, radio host and personality for Fox Sports. He is among the most talented and most read college football writers in the nation, who has a following of 361,000 on Twitter and 70,000 on Facebook. He also sometimes expresses polarizing opinions.

It is one thing to disagree with others in a respectful manner. Travis is a bright mind who provides details to back up his arguments. Outside of sports, Travis is known to tackle political and social issues with an opinion that leans to the right. That does not make Travis a bad person. That makes him an American exercising free speech.

But Travis' tweets about McKinley on Thursday night were not an opinion. They were not an educated stance on an issue that had two sides. His tweets, which included Travis asking, "What grown person gets a solo picture taken of themselves?" were disrespectful to a dead individual and her family. And that is wrong. It's not illegal or fireable, it's just straight impolite.

McKinley called Travis out on the tweets:

It is easy to just ignore Travis. This could be considered another hot take, and perhaps a ratings ploy. But it's more than that. It is not a political or a social take. It is blatant, unprompted disrespect.

Sports media has no place for personalities trolling athletes just to troll athletes. Beyond that, this is not how any one individual should treat another individual. Travis has a voice and a platform and a wider social reach than much of the world. With that influence comes public responsiblity. With responsiblity comes accountability.

Travis is not being accountable for his mistake. He is instead double-downed on his McKinley Grandma jokes (for the record, McKinley maybe went a little too far with the "the devil is alive and well" comment). 


Maybe Travis did not know the facts. Maybe he did not know that McKinley never knew his father and was abandoned by his mother at age 5. McKinley was raised by his grandma, Myrtle Collins, in Richmond, California, a city outside of Oakland that is constantly ranked among the most dangerous cities in the nation and was popularized by the film Coach Carter. According to McKinley, Collins "basically paid her bills by collecting water bottles and cans."

Maybe Travis did not know that while Collins was on her deathbed in 2011 after suffering multiple strokes, McKinley promised her he would make it to the NFL. He originally committed to Cal, but his scholarship was lost due to clerical errors involving summer-school courses he took. He went to junior college, and then to UCLA where he became a star. The reward: a first-round selection in the NFL Draft.

Takk McKinley has lived a life most Americans can never relate to. Clay Travis certainly cannot.

This isn't about getting preachy and promoting life lessons. This is about what is rude and what is respectful. McKinley experienced an amazing moment Thursday night and he shared a lifetime of emotions with football fans across the world. To him, that portrait of his grandmother represented a journey of poverty, perseverance and success.

There is no justification for Travis' tweets other than being a ratings ploy. It's one thing to have hot takes. It's another to disrespect the dead. And if Travis seriously believes what he meant, he's just as bad as all the trolls he criticizes every day on Twitter.

While Travis was taking some attacks on Twitter this Sunday, he also said, "The people who come at me are the least self aware people on earth. It's uncanny." That seems like a generalization to me. I too disapprove of the general hate on Twitter calling for Travis' death or his firing. These people are very wrong and overly reactionary. But Travis knows they are just a portion of his critics and by quote-tweeting them, he avoids conflict with those who are not the least self aware people on earth.


Clay, you seemed to have missed this tweet, so I'm doubling-down with this article.

Be nice. That's not a political or social statement. That's a humane statement.

-- Follow Jeff Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband. Like Jeff Eisenband on Facebook.