Charly Arnolt on why she left ESPN | Will Cain Podcast

Charly Arnolt on why she left ESPN | Will Cain Podcast

Will Cain is joined by his former ESPN Colleague, and new Outkick host, Charly Arnolt. They discuss polarizing opinions in today’s media landscape and why she’s speaking up to protect female athletes. #foxnews

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Charlie Arnold welcome Tau kick welcome To Fox it's good to see you again it's Good to see you again I had no idea we'd Be co-workers again but I'm so excited About it why why are we co-workers again What are you doing over here what Brought you from ESPN to outkick Oh there's a lot of reasons that brought Me over Um Obviously traditional Sports media is Going in One Direction uh ESPN included And when I was made aware that a place Like outkick exists and I met clay Travis who founded out kick and learned About their goals and the direction they Wanted this company to go in and the Ability to give Talent their freedom of Speech and the ability to freely think It's just a really exciting prospect Because for so many years I've had a lot Of opinions that I've had to keep Bottled up uh and now especially because The landscape of sports which you know Has gotten so politicized has gone in The direction that it has uh it's just Gotten to a point where I can't keep my Opinions to myself so I needed to come To a place that would allow me to Express those freely so here I am at Outkick I want to dive into what those Opinions might be that you're excited to Now share it out kick but let's talk for A minute about the way you felt at ESPN

You know it's interesting Um people often ask me about my Experience at ESPN and I didn't feel Really Charlie while I was there stifled Now I may have been a unique Um a unique outlier at ESPN where and I Was given a level of Freedom or Embrace Or allowed to go in places that maybe a Lot of other people weren't comfortable Going but I I I Um I left ESPN when I did Charlie Because I was interested in talking About things that I knew were outside The purview of sports I was ready to Embrace Not Just Sports but politics was It your experience at ESPN that you While there didn't feel free to talk About the things that you wanted to talk About Well the interesting thing is when you Laugh Ing in a certain direction as a country For a while now but in the past few Years things have really intensified and I would say they've really intensified Since you've left uh we're now Sports aren't Completely separate from politics Anymore or separate from The news uh you know whereas at one time People would turn to sports his way to Distract themselves from everything else That was going on in the world now when You turn on Sports you're immediately

Reminded of everything that's going on In the world Um so I think just in these past few Years so many issues have come about That have just completely seeped into The World of Sports where now you can't Just talk about sports there's a lot of Issues that need to be addressed Alongside and so that's at the point at Which I felt like I needed to say Certain things when Subjects were broached such as let's Look at the coveted pandemic of all the Mandates that we were forced to abide by All that the athletes were forced to Abide by for several years uh we look at The trans athlete debate that's going on Right now I mean these are all very much Sports issues now uh that we're not Allowed to speak about at ESPN just Because they're so politically charged And the right answer isn't the one that ESPN wants to hear So you're right Charlie and I think that Things have changed since I left ESPN in 2020. you know I was there through Um some fairly tense moments and times In their own right I was there during The Donald Trump era during the Colin Kaepernick issue and at the very end of My tenure was covid and and George Floyd And I'll tell you people would come up To me Um at ESPN behind the scenes and they'd

Say things to me like hey man I really Agree with what you are saying but they Didn't feel whatever it is they needed To feel I don't know what they needed to Feel but they didn't feel That feeling in order to share those Opinions themselves I can imagine that Only intensified as it metastasized into Issues like trans issues or the mandates Around covid but would you say when in Your time at ESPN was it that you didn't Feel whatever it is that Liberation that Support you needed to feel to share Those opinions or that you were told not To share those opinions on ESPN Well I'll tell you I always play it very Safe I've learned in this business that Is better to play it safe uh you know There's always the mentality of some It's better to ask for forgiveness than Permission well we all know how that Works it's it's definitely does not go That that way in the broadcasting Industry Um so I've always played it very safe Even in terms of just tweeting out Something so Innocent seeming I just if I ever occurs To me uh how might someone interpret This I just delete it and I don't send It out so then imagine trying to talk About these larger issues that you know Are super charged up and that everybody Has very aggressive takes on I just felt

In my position AI wasn't necessarily Asked for my opinion so sharing it would Be me stepping outside of a box that I Was necessarily I was put in you know to Begin with and then B even if there was A place where my my opinion which to be Honest there was I I hosted a podcast Podcast on a weekly basis first take her Take where we did uh get into topics That we weren't able to cover on air and I still felt uncomfortable just because I knew that my opinions might not be so Popular and I wasn't there to ruffle any Feathers I wanted to get my paycheck I Wanted to do my job I wanted to make my Bosses happy and You know I knew that it wasn't ESPN Wasn't the end-all be-all for me I felt That for a while and uh once the right Opportunity came across it was just like Okay just keep your mouth shut for a Little while longer soon enough you will Be able to speak You know I totally get that that's and That's a rational human motivation Um you know Really honestly I think especially when You highlight it wasn't what was asked Of you in your job I always got that you Know like I was asked to go and give my Opinions and and and you know let them Fly so there was a level of um I don't I Would I I would not say and I don't Think ESPN would want me to say that

There was endorsement of my opinions I Don't think that but that's not what's Implied there's an openness to my Opinions and it's hard to ask you when Hosting in the moderator's seat at first Take to to jump in there you know and And say the things that I that I might Have said I never knew how about this Charlie I didn't know when I was at ESPN That you in fact actually while we sit Here today I don't know what your Opinions may be so like I didn't know Him then and I don't know them today I Don't know right now what your opinions Are on kovid or I think you've shared Someone trans rights or trans issues in Sports Um or many of the the race issues that Got involved in sports I don't know Where you are and I didn't know when we Were together at ESPN Are you are you asking for some uh for Me to share some of those opinions out Let's do it let them fly you if you feel This Freedom now Charlie then let's go I Feel the freedom and you know what I Just have to say before I start well you Always I I really appreciate it because you Always took an independent approach it Was always very obvious that your Approach to subjects was different than Those at ESPN because a you have a Different background but B

You did come in and and it wasn't Expected of you to you know fall into I Guess the uh the regular way at ESPN but I always would hear you speak on first Take because you know as as a fill-in And because you were filling in for Either Max or Stephen A at the time we Got to work together quite a bit and uh I always really respected your opinions And there were so many times I want to Be like yes but of course then then it's Like wait a second what what Charlie What what are you agreeing with Um and that probably wouldn't have gone Well for you by the way no and that Being said also when I was on the show a Few times and this was you know in the Thick of covid and we were talking about All the mandates and all that and I was Always mind blown by most of the Mandates uh I would have to just sit There and stew and I'm like I I can't Say anything and it's it was a little Bit difficult but um I can imagine as Far as as far as covid goes I think from the beginning no one no one Knew what was going on so we all wanted To play it safe and you wanted to you Know it was a very precarious time and Looking back it's mind-blowing what we Lived through and what I'll have to pass Along to my children one day of saying Oh you have no idea we weren't allowed To go outside we had to wear masks

Everything was shut down I mean it's Just bizarre to think about but I Think that as we got more information And we learned that social distancing Wasn't proven to be as effective as Maybe they had claimed in the beginning Masks to be probably you know much more Ineffective than they were originally Said to be uh and then you saw like There was just all the Kind of um Oh what's that word when things are like Oppositions of you know having one Mandate versus the other you know you Have all the athletes masking up and Having to social distance but then you'd Bring in crowds of people who didn't Have to abide by those same rules to Watch those athletes in the same setting And it just none of it made sense at Some point Um but things were still reported only In One Direction as as per ESPN and most Of the other traditional Sports networks And we were never able to question is This the right move we just accepted it Reported it and there was no argument as To could there be another way was that The breaking moment in your mind like is That you know was there a moment and You're like I I can't do this anymore It's too it's too indoctrinated or Doctrinaire it's too one-sided was it Covid that sort of like I don't know

Opened your eyes or your mind or changed Your mind Yeah I think in covet a lot of people Realize that there's not just one way of Going about things I mean the whole World of broadcasting changed uh during Kovid and I think that you kind of Realize that I don't need to follow this Super traditional path in order to be Successful and in order to get my points Across and you know you also realize That when you do work For certain corporations you are Expected to Follow their guidance and their rhetoric And uh I just realized I I honestly Think the kovid was a definitely a Catalyst but once these trans Issues started coming to light uh it's Just such a common sense issue and will When I tell you that since announcing my Job at outkick last week and people saw Me on America's Newsroom last week Talking about the trans athlete issue I Have had several women from ESPN reach Out to me and say thank you so much for Being the voice that we are not able to Be and it's it's interesting because I Knew they existed but you just never Hear about it but there definitely is a Swell and I just hope that eventually it Gets to the point where more women feel Comfortable to speak up because at some Point when enough of us speak up what

Are they going to do about it there's Nothing they can do they're not going to Get rid of everybody or at least they'll Be forced to address the issue in a way That both sides of this argument have to Be heard on a regular basis I hope that By traditional media I hope that's true That's something I've noticed that you Are speaking out on you're talking about These trans athletes in sports Um and So What you just described happened to you With with trans athletes all these women That have come up to you now behind the Scenes former colleagues at ESPN Was like I described earlier what I Would hear on various issues and so it Kind of makes me wonder when I was at ESPN I I first of all I actually have Fond feelings and and memories from my Time at ESPN I I really enjoy and I do And I just want to I I do too I you know It's it was a great place to work I have Friends that I will keep for a lifetime But it it doesn't change the fact that You know certain opinions are not Welcome there okay so so what I felt at ESPN was this that there was definitely A group consensus on a whole host of Issues right and if you broke the group Consensus then you know I was pretty Cool with everybody in the hallways the Vast majority of people in the hallways

Right at least to my face they were all Cool to me and they would talk with me And Um but you would get the sense that I'm Definitely the outlier here I'm Definitely the Maverick and having the Opinion I'm curious do you think you Were a Maverick on the issue of You're a Maverick but there might be More people that agree with you behind The scenes that's what I learned about All these things they would come up to Me and they'd say you know I agree with You but I'm never going to say it it was On the issues during my time do you Think that's the same it is with the Trans issue at ESPN like I I was Absolutely I was gonna say I wasn't There for a lot of the trans debate the Way it's taken off now but I'm wondering If it's the same as the covet in the Race debates wherein you walk the Hallways and there's this feeling of I Can only really have one opinion Publicly but everybody quietly will come To me and say I'm 100 with you do you Think it's like that with the Trans Sports issues I definitely believe it's Like that I think there's still a lot of People who even though they feel that Way will still never say anything to me Even in private because everyone that's Approached me it's been very quiet Um but I think there's a lot of people

That there's unfortunately A lot of people feel guilty for feeling A certain way about the trans issue as Just as just you know one issue on its Own they feel guilty they think you know Am I in the wrong is this am I am I not Progressive am I am I not an advocate For equal rights like people people the The brainwash is so real these days Where people feel guilty For Having been irrational Yeah it's it's very very upsetting I and I think that a lot of it you have to Think past yourself because for example I don't have children yet but one day When I do I think of what's their life Going to be like what if they're Athletes what is it going to be like for Them because I know will growing up as An athlete if this was an issue When I was in high school I would be Beside myself I would be really hurt As as a woman as an athlete to think That you know why is this being taken Away from me why why do we not have our Own space where we can feel safe and Comfortable and and have success without Men imposing themselves into it uh so I Just I think that a lot of women are Being very short-sighted right now if They do not admit to themselves that This is something that shouldn't be Happening and I just hope that

Eventually their their mindset can Evolve I can't believe that the trans The issues of trans athletes and sports Has become something at ESPN that There's really only one allowable Thought I can't believe that one too has Gone the way of the absolute consensus That everyone is supposed to pretend to Agree with hey you brought up your past You and I when we knew each other at the Time you know I always knew you were Involved in WWE you brought up your your Background as an athlete so tell us a Little bit about like where your Involvement with WWE and how how you got There Uh so it was just one of those Right place at the right time kind of Moments for me as far as far as WWE was Concerned I was backstage at a WWE event With my friend Tony Khan whose father Owns Jacksonville Jaguars and Tony now Is the owner president of aew all El Elite wrestling which is really the First direct competitor to WWE in a long Time so I was there with Tony and uh we Were just Waltzing around backstage and I happened to run into the head of Talent relations at the time who I Recognized from the reality show Total Divas which used to air on E and I at That point was in between jobs I had Been a local sports anchor in Indianapolis my hometown the two years

Prior I decided I didn't want to Continue on there I was looking to move To in my mind I was probably a regional Sports Network was realistic at that Point and I ran into Mark Carano who Again at the time was uh head of talent Relations and I said hey I'm a sports Broadcaster all I'm asking is for you to Look at my reel if you have any feedback Let me know and that's it So after a while he got back to me and Said oh this is really good I passed it Along to Michael Cole who's one of their The lead commentators on WWE and he Called me right away and said we'd love To bring you in for an audition just Want you to know we don't have a Position at this time but we want to Bring you in so when one arises we might Be able to you know have you as an Option and simultaneously I actually had Verbally committed to being a Sports Anchor in DC at the fox owned and Operated station there So they were going to bring me in kind Of let me do my own thing at that point I had a self-created web series that I Called back talk ball which was kind of A comedic take on sports So I go to WWE's tryout I'm I'm super Loose and carefree I already have a job Who cares they don't even have a job for Me I ended up killing the audition as as It does happen when you don't care about

Something right and uh the next thing You know they called me and they said Hey actually we just had one of our Announcers leave which was Brandi Rhodes For anyone familiar Cody Rhodes wife and Um Next thing you know there was a position Available and I was in touch with like a Few people here and there that I went to For advice one of them being a a lady in The talent relations department at ESPN And they all said You should go to WWE this sounds like a Really cool opportunity and one you Probably will not want to take later in Life so that was that I ended up being There for almost five years uh did Pretty much everything I could as far as Broadcasting went there and then Simultaneously was hired by ESPN uh About Midway in and then I left WWE full Time at ESPN so it's been a cool ride so Far I love that moment you walk up to The talent executive backstage I mean Because that's how it I I've often told My story on how I got started in this And mine was I sent an email by guessing At the email address of the president of CNN at the time I I had done some stuff For free for Fox and for uh National Review and like you said I put together A reel and I just emailed him and said Hey you need somebody like me over there And he responded you're right why don't

You come in and let's talk and that got Me an audition which I which I killed But the point isn't that like the point Is you gotta be willing to put it out There and the percentage of it happening The likelihood of happening is low but That can't stop you right from you got To strike when you see that when you you See that moment I love that story Yeah so it's been my I was actually Asked earlier today Um by someone from Fox News digital did You ever imagine ending up at a place Like outkick and fox you know in 2016 When you started a WWE would you imagine This is where your career would have Taken you and I said no I said but then Again I didn't really realize that some Of the issues like we've already gone Over would be issues that we'd be Dealing with today uh in sports as a Woman just you know leaving your home You know in the middle of the it's just It's everywhere you go these issues are Present and I had no idea but realizing That I have strong opinions and am so Passionate I'm proud to be a leader uh Where I can speak for the silent Majority it seems right now for those Who can't speak on the subject matter All right so what does that mean what Are you going to be doing as we talked About Um you now feel free we're going to hear

These opinions and you're at out kick so What does that mean what will you do for Out kick so I'm going to be co-hosting a Show that will be launching before Football season at some point it's going To more than likely be a morning show so The first thing you wake up to each day Um we're gonna you know give you Everything you need to know obviously Sports Centric show but being that like We already talked about there's so many Issues in sports that are relevant in Pop culture in society in news and Politics there's going to be a little Bit of everything and the beauty of the Show never having seen the light of day Yet is there's so much creative freedom We can make it exactly what we want it To be and there's a solid chance from Day one it's going to be different than What the show you see on day seven Versus day 14 versus day 30. so it's Going to be ever evolving and I'm just Super excited because uh I think that you know I have a lot of Energy that a lot of people haven't been Able to see from me quite yet and here We go Full Speed Ahead who's your Co-host That is to be determined we are uh Sprinkling some names about right now We're gonna well he's in our boss right There like Gary isn't Gary like right There you can just ask him no Gary

Actually he had to go upstairs he had to Go upstairs for a call so he's not right Here but uh we have some some great Names in the mix right now but you know Chemistry is a big part of it and we got We want to find someone who can match my Energy and bring their own sense of Whatever it is that they're passionate About and so it's it's whatever it is Though because I also will have my my Hand and and having to say who it is I Promise you it's going to be someone Fantastic and where where are you gonna Do the show from are you going so out Kick is uh a lot of it is based out of Nashville of course fox has its offices In New York where are you going to be Geographically do you know I will be based here in New York uh this Is where I've lived for A little over six years now so my life Is in New York at this point and so I'm Going to be doing it out of the fox Headquarters uh my co-host Good question I I I would love a world In which they're at Fox because they're So like for us right now will like Nothing is in person anymore so I would Love having a body in the same room as Me but it could end up being a situation Like this where they could be in Florida Or they could be in Nashville or they Could be in Who knows well listen Charlie is super

Exciting this is a big hire for outkick To bring you over you're an incredible Talent um you paid me those compliments Earlier and those are appreciated I want You know that I always thought you were Incredible talent and this is a coup for Outkick to bring you over from ESPN you Are a thoughtful person and to me that Is one of the most important Characteristics Um as long as I don't even know like if Somebody is thoughtful it is almost by Default that they are authentic and real You can't be thoughtful while parroting Or faking it and I'm glad you're in a Situation where you feel that you are Free to to share exactly who you are With with the audience and again I think A Morning Show on outkick is gonna as They continue to build that Network out And that continues to go places that are Desperately needed in the sports Environment there's a desperate need for An outlet that reflects the values of as You described it the silent majority of Americans and um and I think it's Exciting I'm going glad I'm gonna get to See you around right there in New York And imagine we'll see you on imagine We're going to see you on Fox news from Time to time and you know it was on America's Newsroom last week I'll be on Hannity and Varney and Co this week and Uh just beginning you know you won't be

Able to avoid me you're gonna try but You won't be able to That's awesome Charlie so good to see You again I'm excited for you and for Outkick thank you will so much and I am So excited to be working with you again So cheers to the Future hey it's Will Kane click here to subscribe to the Fox News Channel on YouTube it's the best Way to get our latest interviews and Highlights and click to subscribe to the Will Kane podcast for full episodes Right now

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