March 15, 2023 | 11:35 in the morning
Years of mystery hit a fever pitch during the 2023 NFL free agency frenzy: Who the hell is Dov Kleiman?
Earlier this week, the Jets got star Garrett Wilson quoted Kleiman — or “Bro Dov” — as the source of the “press break” much of the NFL world has been waiting for: Aaron Rodgers’ football future.
Clayman had re-shared a report by Trey Wingo, who claimed Monday that the Rodgers trade to the Jets is “done.”
As of Wednesday morning, Rodgers is still a member of the Packers, and the Jets have yet to land a veteran quarterback.
Kleiman, however, was condemned on WFAN’s top-rated morning program “Boomer & Gio.”
The Post caught up with Kleiman, who has been inescapable on Twitter, and got some answers about who the hell he is.
A full-time artist for BroBible, a men’s culture site founded in 2009 that has barely survived the bygone era of sports blogging, Kleiman is in his early 30s and lives in Israel.
BroBible partner Cass Anderson confirmed to The Post that Kleiman is the real identity of the aggregator and they were on Zoom together.
An associate at OutKick, where Kleiman previously worked, said the same.
The reason for the widespread confusion about why you should even ask one’s employer this is that the masses see Kleiman’s tweets all the time, but no one has ever seen a picture of him publicly.
His Twitter avatar is an illustration.
Reached by Twitter DM on Tuesday, Kleiman was in a foul mood about “being attacked all over the internet” in response to a tweet he wrote about another’s report.
Kleiman couldn’t understand why he was the target of fury over a tweet that echoed a report from Wingo, a veteran NFL broadcaster, regarding the Rodgers-Jets saga.
He answered a number of questions via DM and agreed to provide two photos for public use.
Although Wingo was the first to report that the Jets were in talks with Rodgers, other well-known league insiders such as ESPN and the NFL Network treated his report as premature.
Wingo tweeted about the “done” deal at 2:52 PM ET on Monday.
As is his trademark, Clayman retweeted Wingo’s tweet, named the former ESPN anchor, and posted it three minutes later.
Kleiman’s message had been viewed 12.3 million times as of Wednesday, with Wilson — one of the young Jets who relentlessly lobbied Rodgers to come to New York — being one of them.
“I’m not gonna fake it, I thought Dov’s tweet bro was the news break I was waiting for…smh. Idk nothing. Sorry about that,” Wilson tweeted Monday night, hours after he and his teammates took part in the online version of the touchdown celebration.
Kleiman has about 150,000 Twitter followers and was endorsed by the social network long before you could pay Elon Musk nearly $8 a month for a blue tick.
His followers include NFL insiders Diana Russini, Albert Breer, Field Yates, Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen and Ian Rapoport.
And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the dozens of big names around the NFL and sports media that follow it.
When Wilson cited Kleiman as his source for the Rodgers news, hordes of Twitter users began accusing the aggregator of misinformation.
Kleiman protested to The Post that he was receiving scorn, not Wingo, the author of the story.
“I think overall it’s worth noting that Trey Wingo should take this race, if nothing else, not me. I used his report as a media person who worked at ESPN for over 20 years and was the first to break the story about Rodgers’ conversation with the Jets last week,” Kleiman said.
“If Gareth Wilson had read my tweet correctly and not said ‘Dov’s tweet’ but said Wingo’s tweet, that day would have played out a lot differently. Because I have given credit to Trey properly.
Wingo, by the way, stood by his report, telling Ari Meyrov, the team’s 33rd contributor who runs the Twitter account for NFL Update, that the deal was done as of last week and Rodgers was not the holdover.
Kleiman’s backlash was further fueled Tuesday morning when Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, the duo on WFAN’s top-rated morning drive program, ribbed the aggregator.
“I don’t think this guy really exists,” Gianotti began. “He doesn’t announce anything himself, but he did it [about 150,000] followers.”
Giannotti marveled that no photos of Kleiman had come to light and about his ability to be zoomed in, despite having no first-hand sources or scoops.
“Everyone retweets his stuff, but he doesn’t do anything himself. That’s what I don’t understand,” Gianotti said. “Everything he puts out is something that someone else put out.”
Esiason read aloud from a Reddit post, wondering about Kleiman’s identity: “Honestly, who is this guy? All he does is tweet clickbait stuff, insulting pretty much everyone’s team and putting everyone else’s reports up.”
Kleiman told The Post that he thinks Esiason, who also previously said Rodgers would definitely be a Jet but got a fraction of Wingo’s credit, is “just upset that Trey’s report got so much attention and took it out on me.”
What we’ve just described is emblematic of the ongoing private discontent among league insiders across all major sports who resent the way a number of social accounts obscure their content.
Publicly, Bill Simmons and Brian Windhorst often lament the “aggregators” of their popular podcasts.
Often, they argue, the crucial context of what they say immediately gets cut out when someone converts it into a meaningful tweet.
Klyman is sometimes accused of distorting the context.
For example, when rumors began to circulate in January that Rodgers might be traded this offseason, Adam Schefter said on television that he didn’t “think there would be any way” the Packers would trade the quarterback within the NFC.
“The Packers will not trade Aaron Rodgers within the NFC. They ‘will explore’ the idea of trading a QB exclusively to the AFC, according to Adam Schefter,” Kleiman tweeted.
Kleiman presented Schefter’s statement as obtained information, where the NFL insider was presenting an opinion rather than reporting it as fact.
Kleiman eventually followed through by posting the video of Schefter’s TV appearance, letting his followers make up their own minds.
There’s an inherent disconnect in that Clayman seems to seek the spotlight and enjoy the dopamine rush of likes, retweets and new followers, but he also wanted his own space — it can feel like a mini version of South Park poking fun at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
He tweets almost non-stop – about 60 times on a Tuesday – and the way he writes them certainly seems strategically designed to spread in the storm of Twitter’s algorithm.
Tweets usually include a photo or video and are rarely tweets with quotes or retweets, features that for some reason traditionally garner less engagement.
Kleiman’s methods work—he’s doubled his following from about 70,000 less than a year ago.
As for how he monetizes the content, he said, “I’ve done it a number of different ways: promoting ads, different content, getting paid to promote articles from outlets, writing stories about the league (NFL) for years . “
However, Kleiman maintains that he did not seek fame.
“I understand what you mean, but I have turned down many radio and TV interviews over the years to talk about football and not myself. I’m not looking for ‘fame’ out of it,” he said.
“I have a certain passion for news and for football and I enjoy what I do. I never even planned to make money from it, I had a normal job for the first few years. But opportunities presented themselves and I took them. But I never wanted to gain “fame” here. I don’t want that much attention.”