All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s Friday of Super Bowl week and most media members are zombies. Not me though, I’m up at dawn out here in San Francisco making sure the mailbag is up to keep you guys from having to work.  

One bit of news before we get rolling in the mailbag: The Tennessee Titans have refused my interview requests with team president Steve Underwood and team owner Amy Stunk. (In a sign of my tremendous maturity I am intentionally misspelling Amy Strunk’s name as Amy Stunk until she sells the team.)

Our beaver pelt trader of the week is Julie Stewart-Binks, whose decision to get a lap dance from Rob Gronkowski, sent the Twitter-sphere into convulsions of histrionic pearl clutching.

On to the mailbag.  

Lots of you emailed and wrote on Twitter asking questions about Johnny Manziel. 

So here goes with my thoughts.

Johnny Manziel’s dad went public today, telling a Dallas newspaper: “I truly believe if they can’t get him help, he won’t live to see his 24th birthday.”

When your own dad is saying that about you, it’s a scary time. I’ve got three boys eight and under and it makes me sick to my stomach to think I might ever get to a point where I’d say anything like this about them. I want Johnny to be well.    

I really like Johnny Manziel. Everyone who reads Outkick knows that. I want him to succeed. I still believe he’s an electric talent and that the Cleveland Browns were a bad fit for him and that if you draft Johnny Manziel you have to be prepared to let him play football like Johnny Manziel. This year — when they let him play — Johnny showed the potential to be a pretty good quarterback.

I think if he ever gets his life in order he can still be a starter in the NFL. Could I be wrong? Sure. But we need to see him start another 15 or 20 games to really see what he is capable of doing. Right now Johnny’s only started eight games in his career. He needs an opportunity to go to an organization that will nurture him both on and off the field. The Cowboys may well be that team. (Honest question, if you’re the Cowboys why don’t you bring in RGIII and Manziel and see who the best back up for Tony Romo is? They’re better than any options the team has now.)

But right now football is secondary. Johnny needs to get his life in order. And eventually Johnny — who reads Outkick and might be reading this right now — has to make a professional decision. Does he like football more or does he like what football gives him more? If he likes football more then he needs to drop out of the limelight like he did before the NFL Draft. He needs to get well. And if he likes what football gives him more, then he needs to recalibrate his life. Because without the structure and stability of football to fill his time, I’m not sure he can handle the off field lifestyle.  

Put simply, I don’t want Johnny Manziel to become the Charlie Sheen of football. He’s only 23 years old. He has time to take control of his life. I’m still rooting for you, Johnny. Lots of people are.

We want you to succeed.    

Kenny writes:

“Dear gay radical Islamic sage,

Let’s assume we alive in a society where no one can/chooses to cheer for a university that they cannot get admitted to as a student. What would the implications be for the current state of college athletics or the secondary school system in general? Where would Alabama be without a historic football program? What about Notre Dame in football or Duke in basketball? Would the Eastern Kentucky/Central Arkansas schools be the modern day blue bloods or would schools dumb themselves down for financial gain? Does tuition change? Essentially, how much impact does the 85% (people with zero affiliation to a school other than blind fanaticism) actually affect the athletic programs or university? How would this impact pro sports situations in states that have no pro sports currently? Your gay and you should fire yourself.”

This is a fascinating question. 

The vast majority of SEC fans could not get admitted to the school they root for. That’s true in every major college conference, but it’s the most true in the SEC. Every school’s fan base in college sports would become rapidly depleted. Let’s assume that on average 35% of the average SEC fan base’s most rabid supporters actually went to school there or could be admitted to the school. (This could be a generous number, I’m just making my best approximation.) How many schools would be able to sustain their athletic programs solely by appealing to graduates?

There’s no way any school could fill up a 100,000 seat stadium seven or eight times a year solely by selling seats to graduates. It’s just impossible.  

So where would the 65% of additional fans go? Would community colleges become the new SEC schools? Would high school football rise up to fill the college football void on a hyper regional basis? Or would everyone just move to pro sports? I think pro sports would take over in the SEC states with NFL teams — that’s Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina — the Panthers count, Florida, Missouri and Louisiana. The only states without NFL teams in the SEC are Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Arkansas. My guess is those states would have some form of lower tier college sports that would remain somewhat popular, but most of those fans would pick pro teams somewhat close to their geographic bases. (That is, for instance, north Alabama takes on the Titans, South Alabama commits to the Saints, southern Kentucky is Titan country and northern Kentucky is Bengals fandom.  

If you think about the rise of college sports in the South it mostly occurred because those were the biggest sports in the region. (It wasn’t just the South either. College football dwarfed the NFL nationwide in the 1930’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s.) Now that pro sports are in the South, I think they’d pick up the rooting interests of the 65%.

Put simply, there is no way major college athletics could be sustained at anywhere near its current level if only college graduates could root for teams.  

Evan writes:

“The dumbest thing you’ve said in your illustrious career is that Melania Trump is hotter than Jackie Kennedy. With that said– can we do a candidate wives power ranking?”

Here’s my top three hottest candidate spouses. 

1. Marco Rubio’s wife

Rubio married a former NFL cheerleader and has four kids. I married a former NFL cheerleader and we have three kids. So I’m ranking her number one. 

2. Melania Trump

The first of many first ladies who has been photographed naked. (By the time people in their thirties now start becoming president everyone will have naked photos out there.) 

I also think she’s indisputably hotter than Jackie Kennedy. 

3. Bill Clinton

Bill is sexy, come on. 

Fun bar conversation, what if Hillary was the philanderer and Bill was the faithful spouse? How do their careers change? That is, what if Hillary was caught banging a 26 year old intern in the White House instead of Bill? Does he divorce her? No way she ever gets elected to the senate, right? In fact, Hillary Clinton is virtually anonymous right now. She never goes to the senate, never becomes secretary of state, certainly isn’t a leading candidate for presidents. 

She’s just a random, anonymous lawyer somewhere in the country. 

Bill Clinton’s already pretty beloved so I’m not sure his stature changes at all. So think about that, my argument is we think pretty much the same thing about Bill Clinton whether he cheated with Monica Lewinsky or not, but Hillary’s public career is over if she hooks up with a 26 year old male intern. 

Anonymous pooper emails:

“I’ve been battling this dilemma for some time. We have someone physically challenged on our floor at work and it’s making me question whether to use the handicapped stall to poop. Now I know the odds of us needing to drop one at the same time are fairly slim, but if he comes in prairie dogging only to be stoned by a locked door to the only stall he can use while I finish scrolling through my Twitter feed (with two standard stalls open) I will never be able to look him in the face again, right? Not to mention the story spreading throughout work. I could always claim the other two stalls were taken and I had to go, but I’ve never been in there where all three stalls were being used. Is it time to nut up and start rolling the dice on the rarely used porcelain palace or just keep slumming with everyone else in the standard stalls?”

I’d roll the dice. Pooping in the handicap stall versus the regular stall is like the difference between being in a regular hotel room and a suite. I’ve been pooping in handicap stalls for decades and never run into a conflict. Ever.   

Plus, you see and hear him coming, right?

If you guys every overlap with poops, you can call out to him when he enters the bathroom. “My bad, man, first two stalls were taken.” That’s a lie, but has he been monitoring bathroom entry and exit like a hawk. He’ll buy it. 

But if you get caught with a poop overlap then you have to give up the handicap stall. You can’t risk a double overlap.   

Josh writes:

“To the gayest Muslim,

First of all you would be pleased to know how much you are read on campus. I have had in class discussions about you. So in essence, your ugly ass is famous.

My question for you is, if you could turn back the clock and go to any college you wanted, where would you go? Not as an athlete. I’m talking about the college that everyone experiences.”

If I was reapplying to colleges I’d go to Stanford, it’s the best school in the country. I think I would get in because hardly anyone from Tennessee applied to Stanford back in 1997. Plus, I had good test scores and grades. 

But if Stanford said no, here would be my list of schools I’d apply to now. (FYI, I applied to Georgetown, GW, Wake Forest, University of Virginia and Davidson. I got waitlisted at Georgetown, the other four schools accepted me. And I took the scholarship to GW.)

1. Stanford

2. Vanderbilt (I’m biased now, but I think Vanderbilt is the second best big five school in the country). 

I don’t think I’d even apply anywhere else. 

Matt writes:

“Clay,
When was the last time Nick Saban cried? Excluding the death of a close family member (which is always a free pass), what do you think? Did he lose a five star recruit to Urban Meyer? Did Lane make fun of him? Was he watching a sad movie? I doubt he cried because he was laughing too hard. What does your bookie say?”

I would love to know the last non-funeral time that Nick Saban cried. 

I’m guessing it was something child-related. His kids graduating, the birth of a grandchild, when his daughter got sued for a sorority catfight. You know, a memorable dad moment.

I’m a total wuss when it comes to my kids and memorable moments. My dad cries sometimes giving the prayer at Thanksgiving. I’m convinced by the time I’m fifty, I’m going to be just like this.

But the real upset here would be if Saban is a closet movie fan and cries all the time during romantic comedies. What if Saban cried during “The Notebook?”

If Saban ever does Outkick the Show — which will probably never happen — I’ll ask him. I’d love to know this answer. Becauase I wouldn’t put it past him to say something like, “November 14th, 1988.” And not explain any of the rationale behind it.

I feel like he definitely knows the date and time of his last cry.  

AJ writes

“Hey Clay,

What dominoes have to fall to get Mayor Bloomberg in the presidential race? And if he gets in the race, what is his path to the presidency? He has to get 270 electoral votes. What needs to happen to get there?”

I think the only way Bloomberg could win the election is if Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders were both the nominees.

If both parties picked their most polarizing possible nominee then I could see Bloomberg winning the moderates on both sides and cobbling together around 34% of the vote. Now the challenge would be winning 270 electoral votes. The most likely outcome in a three-way race like this would be no one getting a required number of electoral votes and the House of Representatives picking our President. Given the Republican majority in the House, Cruz would probably win unless Bloomberg and Bernie managed to finagle an incredible political swap.

So while I like Bloomberg’s combination of fiscal conservatism, liberal social policies, and aggressive policing, I think it would be really hard for him to win the presidency.   

“I’m 28 years old, and in a 3 year relationship with a girl that I really care about. Recently, my sister and brother in law just had their first baby. In the past, I’ve always had doubts if I ever wanted children. Knowing that I was going to be a future uncle, I told myself I could somewhat use my nephew as a baby barometer to see if my feelings would change about having children.

So the baby was born, everyone was healthy, and I realized that my stance on having no kids was only strengthened by the birth of my nephew. To complicate matters, my girlfriend has said in the past she has no intention of marrying someone who has no interest in starting a family. I told her how I felt after my nephew was born, but she insisted that things change when it’s your own child. Is she right? Did you ever have hesitation about starting a family? If I’m dug in on no kids, what’s that mean for my girlfriend and I?”

I always knew I wanted kids, but I don’t think you’re unique, I think lots of men aren’t really sure they want kids. That is, I believe women are driving the baby train in most marriages much more than the men are. Think about it, how often are men convincing women to have babies? A quarter of the time, 10 percent of the time? Less, even, than this?

I know it happened to me. When my wife got close to thirty, she told me it was time for us to have kids so we had kids. 

You’re 28, you may feel different about kids when you’re 32 or 35 or 40. Men have that luxury, we don’t have a ticking biological clock to worry about. As a result, I don’t think single men spend as much time contemplating having kids. We don’t feel kid pressure in a way that a woman would. 

My big question for you would be this: if you aren’t having kids, why do you want to get married? Can’t you live together and do the exact same things that you do now without being married? If I 100% knew I didn’t want to have or adopt kids, I don’t think I’d see the point in getting married either. 

My guess is if you end up marrying your girlfriend and she really, really wants kids, that you’re eventually going to have kids because people who are married together try to do things that make each other happy. If you refuse to have kids despite the fact that she wants them desperately aren’t you being an asshole to your partner? Because think about this in another, much less serious context. What if your wife really, really wanted to go to Europe and you just wouldn’t go because you had no interest in a trip to Europe? Not because the money isn’t there or you can’t get off work, just because your wife wanted to do it and you didn’t. So for a decade she tried to get you to go, and you wouldn’t go. Having kids is more serious than a trip to Europe, but just about everyone reading this would think you were being an asshole for not going to Europe.

Eventually your refusal to do things that make her happy manifests itself in other ways and the relationship falls apart.

If she really wants kids and you remain adamant that you will never have them, then you both need to find new partners.

Good luck.  

Happy Super Bowl weekend. 

We’ll have a live Outkick the Show today at 7 eastern and we’ll do a live post-Super Bowl show on Sunday as well. 

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.