Why More Major Professional Athletes Have Not Been on Joe Rogan By Brian Dolan

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The Joe Rogan podcast is without question the biggest podcast on the planet and possibly the biggest media platform there is globally. Rogan has put out nearly 1600 episodes which are generating nearly 200 million downloads monthly. He recently moved his podcast exclusively over to spotify where he inked a 100 million dollar deal. The Joe Rogan Experience’s success has made it essentially the “GodFather” of all podcasts


For those who don’t know; Rogan is an incredibly successful stand-up comedian who is also widely known for hosting “Fear Factor” and announcing fights for the UFC. The format for the podcast is fairly simple; it’s Rogan and his guest(s) having a non-scripted, non-interrupted conversation for anywhere between an hour to even 5 plus hours covering a wide variety of topics. 


In part, what makes Rogan’s podcast so interesting is the type of people he chooses to have in the studio. He’s had politicians, comedians, journalists, health experts, rappers, celebrities, conspiracy theorists, UFO hunters, business moguls and everything in between on the pod. He does a great job allowing his guests to speak their mind and let their ideas materialize while also pushing back when he may disagree with a point without steamrolling them and pushing his own agenda. Rogan has said in the past he loves talking to interesting people regardless of their background or career path. Which makes me wonder; why does Rogan rarely, if ever, have athletes on from any of the major professional sports leagues?


Outside of Arian Foster and Jason Hairston, who are not exactly blockbuster names, why have more athletes from the NBA, NFL, MLB or NHL not been on the podcast since its inception. I find it hard to believe that there has been a lack of trying on the athletes side since JRE is wildly popular amongst sports fans and athletes themselves. Most superstar athletes are trying to grow their brand or promoting something they are involved in/are passionate about so why wouldn’t they go to the outlet that will reach the widest audience which by all measures is The Joe Rogan Experience.


Rogan has said in past podcasts that he’s not your typical sports fan; he prefers UFC or Jiu Jitsu over say basketball or football. But Rogan has had people on in the past that aren’t exactly in line with things he may like to do, watch or particularly follow in any way. That being said, what is it that makes major professional athletes not a major target for Rogan to have a conversation with. As an avid listener to JRE I have a theory as to why you won’t find more major, professional athletes on the podcast:


Current athletes can not speak their minds freely. Rogan does not like restricting his conversations whatsoever with rigid guidelines or agendas so it’s possible he knows he will have to stay away from any topics he might find interesting because the athletes will not give genuine answers due to PR pressure. As Rogan has said in the past, he will not be told what he can or can’t talk about it or what topics he has to avoid. He wants every conversation to be genuine and organic; there is no pre-show prep or list of topics they are going to cover before recording.

Because athletes are essentially employees at the end of the day they still have to abide by their team’s rules when it comes to media appearances. These organizations are businesses ultimately so they are always concerned with their bottom-line. Teams have their own PR departments that train athletes to, for a lack of better terms, “stay within the lines.” Most interviews are set up by these PR members who clear what topics and questions will be covered during an interview. 

As a result of this athletes a lot of the time are not allowed to speak freely about their opinions on a variety of subjects. Whether it is topics like marijuana or politics you will find that the vast majority of athletes will just stay clear of said topics because of the potential negative blowback on social media. Team’s know their fan bases come from all different walks of lives so they don’t want their players talking about hot-button issues that may cause fans' relationships to sour with that particular player, team or even the league itself. Between athlete’s being restricted on what they can talk about and Joe Rogan not willing to change his style I will venture out to say that any hope of seeing your favorite major professional athlete on Joe Rogan will not be coming any time soon. Which is unfortunate because I’d love to know to what the likes of Lebron James or Tom Brady opinions on aliens, marijuana or any of the other wild topics they cover on JRE.

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