Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift

If you have a brain, you are probably sitting around wondering, why are so many people upset at Taylor Swift? It’s a good question, and the answer is pretty simple.

If you are a normal, sane person with good intentions, you cannot possibly be mad that Swift and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce are in a relationship. There’s nothing to be mad at. They are just two people living their lives and having fun.

Also – if you are a normal, sane person with good intentions, you cannot possibly be mad that TV networks show Swift on TV for five seconds at a time during Chiefs’ games. Again, there is nothing to be mad about. It is harmless and will have zero impact on your life.

But then, why is everybody upset on Twitter?

Guess what?

They’re not.

It’s all fake.

We are living in a media ecosystem where pretending to be upset about something (fake outrage) is your ticket to fame.

Go on social media or go on a cable news network and yell and scream that you are “outraged” about Swift doing anything and my goodness, you will get attention. And we all know, that attention, if you play your cards right, will get you paid.

But that’s not even the worst part.

The worst is when people pretend to be outraged at the original fake outrage.

In other words, if you cannot muster up enough phoniness to pretend to be outraged about Swift, then you can go on social or cable news and pretend to be outraged about all the people who are pretending to be outraged about her.

It’s media, especially sports media, at its absolute worst.

It’s layers of stupidity upon layers of stupidity.

I did not think sports media could get any dumber than Embrace Debate, Pat McAfee, or Colin Cowherd.

But then Taylor Swift entered our lives and, sports media, congratulations, you have officially reached the bottom of the barrel of human intelligence.

It’s important to note: I do not blame Swift or Kelce for any of this. This isn’t even about them. They are just pawns in the social media game of who can get the most attention. And in case you haven’t noticed, stupidity will always win.

It’s a game that has taken us into depths of brainlessness that I could have never imagined when I fell in love with sports and sport media in the 80s and 90s.

But we are here.

You may be wondering: why don’t people in the media tell us about this? Because they don’t want you to know what their business model is. They’re all in on it. They are all working together. Not formally, but they are all in on the game, and they pray you’ll never find out the truth.

And the truth is, they invent a world that isn’t real. They pretend everybody is outraged. They tell you Kelce is going to propose Sunday or Swift is going to endorse Joe Biden for president after the Super Bowl. They want you to enter this fake world with them so they have your attention. And once they have it, you’re done. You will believe everything they tell you.

Of course, the goal is to not enter that world.

But if you’re on social, especially Twitter, you’re already more than halfway there.

If I were you, I’d get out now. It’s only going to get worse.

Fake outrage is the bit. It’s how they elevate their personal brands. It’s how they become famous.

How do we stop it?

We don’t. That ship has sailed.

When stupidity will get you paid, why would you ever want to be smart?

God help us all.

Ricky Thein is an assistant professor of Sports Communications at Siena College in New York