Keyshawn Johnson on His New Podcast and Correcting Narratives in the Media

Keyshawn Johnson
Keyshawn Johnson /

Keyshawn Johnson has done quite a bit over the course of his 15-year career in sports media. But he now has a podcast for the first time. Undisputed Presents: All Facts, No Brakes With Keyshawn Johnson premiered this week. Billed by Fox Sports as "a mix of in-depth interviews, lively discussions and entertaining segments that covers everything from the latest sports headlines to trending topics in entertainment and lifestyle," the first episode featured an in-depth interview with Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson.

Johnson spoke with The Big Lead about how the podcast came to be and what he hopes to do with his new platform.

Liam McKeone: Keyshawn, congratulations on the launch of All Facts No Brakes. You’ve been in media for a long time, why is now the right time for you to launch your first podcast? 

Keyshawn Johnson: I wanted to do it at ESPN but for whatever reason we could never get it taken care of, get it going in the direction I wanted it to go in. So we never really pursued it heavily. The opportunity presented itself at FOX so I said, yeah, I’m all in on it. When you’re doing so much– and I did a lot at ESPN, you have a lot on your plate. There’s gotta be right timing for everything and at that point in time we just didn’t have the right timing. This is the right timing and it makes all sense the world. Plus I wanted to do it because, with Undisputed and all the other shows that I’m doing, this is a different platform. This is different. 

You can’t get everything in sports in on other shows, right? We don’t have room for Jaylon Johnson, and the reason we don’t have room for Jaylon Johnson is that we’re talking about something else. Now we’re got different platforms to do different things. We’ll show me cooking at home at some point. We’ll have my son on it. It’s a different platform that makes all the sense in the world for me, my personality, and who I am. 

LM: It seems like this podcast is a space for you to cook, a platform for Keyshawn Johnson to do whatever he wants. So what do you want to do? What do you want this podcast to accomplish?

KJ: To be able to give a platform to many people from all walks of life. To communicate with them so they can reach certain audiences. I’m not looking for clickbait. I’m not looking to have somebody come on and trash their coaches or trash their girlfriend. I’m not looking at that. I’m not looking to try to be famous off someone’s mistake that they may or may not have made. I’m simply giving the truth about sports, the facts about sports. Not the things people tend to want to believe even if it’s not the truth. 

You’re not going to get any mysterious what-ifs. When you leave the show, in your car or at home or wherever you consume podcasts, you’re gonna be like, Damn, I guess he was right. I guess he does make a lot of sense.” As opposed to somebody who just makes shit up. I feel like a lot of people in sports especially, they just make stuff up. It’s about giving individuals the opportunity and time to explain. Like a Jaylon Johnson, what went on with Justin Fields. What he thinks went on with Justin Fields, as opposed to someone just saying Justin Fields can’t play the position. Here’s a guy who sees him every single day. He can tell you what he thinks as an NFL football player and a teammate why Justin Fields struggled at times and why he succeeded at times. 

LM: You said you want to use this podcast to “correct narratives” in the media more than breaking down the X’s and O’s. What kind of narratives are you hoping to push back on?

KJ: For instance, A.J. Brown getting into a heated argument on the sideline with Jalen Hurts. That’s not a heated argument, that’s a conversation. Having been on the sideline and played the game and had animated conversations on the sideline, I don’t think anybody can speak to it better than me. What happens in mainstream media is, guys get on television and forget that they played and act like they don’t know what transpired or took place at that particular moment in time. So they give the notion to the audience that there’s a problem brewing on the sideline. That’s not true. Guys are talking it out and they’re animated and that’s just what happens. That’s an example. 

LM: In previous interviews, you said you believe the draw for your podcast is your unique voice. How would you describe that voice in your own words?

KJ: I’m just a normal human being. Cool, calm, collected. I want you to feel like you know me, that you’ve already met me, that you’ve seen me at a restaurant or a bar or wherever and you had a 10, 15 minute conversation. I want you to feel invited. I want you to feel unintimidated. 

I’m just going to be me. I’m going to be myself. I’m going to be the guy who gets that part of the business taken care of, getting it done. I’ve been in this space for a very long time with a good network of people, and I feel like I’ll always be able to attract from that. People are going to want to be a part of that. Everybody can’t get certain people to do certain things and say certain things that they may be reluctant to do on other people’s shows. They don’t feel comfortable with them. This is not a gotchu-moment type of deal, right? Trying to get one of my guests to say something outlandish so I can go viral. That’s not what I’m looking for.