Keyshawn Johnson has been working in sports media longer than he played in the NFL and college combined. This past fall, the former No. 1 overall pick and Super Bowl-winning wide receiver joined Fox Sports after reaching a settlement with ESPN, where he had worked since retiring in 2007. Now, having spent several months as a regular adversary for Skip Bayless on FS1’s Undisputed, Johnson is getting his own conversation-based digital show-podcast combo, Undisputed Presents: All Facts No Brakes With Keyshawn Johnson. “I have fun, but also I’m an honest person and tell the truth,” says Johnson. “I’m not into trying to create headlines and gotcha moments and all that.” We caught up with Johnson to talk about his new venture, the state of sports media, and the differences between Fox and ESPN.
How can you differentiate your new show with so many others out there?
I’m unique and different than everybody else. I’ve been that way ever since I came into sports and entertainment. When I retired, I went straight to Sunday and Monday Night Countdown … over at ESPN. My personality is different. What comes out of my mouth is probably going to be the truth and probably very matter-of-fact and direct.
What do you make of recent controversies involving sports media personalities and their guests?
As a player, I understand how people will take things and try to make it bigger than what it is and create firestorms to get clicks. … I’m not trying to get somebody on [my show] to say something wild and crazy and put themselves in hot water, nor do I subscribe to that type of behavior [when I’m interviewed]. … You’re not going to get famous off of me. If you try to get famous off of me, you’re wasting your time.
Do you consider yourself a journalist?
I don’t consider myself a journalist. I just consider myself an entertainer who played a sport, who knows sports, who is authentic. I didn’t go to school for journalism. They have their way of doing things, and I kind of have my way of doing things.
What are the biggest differences between working at Fox Sports and ESPN?
Fox, I think, is a little more intimate, in terms of: I can see all the executives at the FS1 level in, like, 20 minutes. ESPN is such a big company that you don’t see everybody every single day. They’re busy. They got a million different things that they’re doing. And there’s nothing wrong with that. You can skin a cat many different ways.