All That and a Bag of Mail

Feb 4, 2017; Sacramento, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the second quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports Sergio Estrada

It’s Friday and Outkick has had another killer week of shows. Seriously, I can’t thank you guys enough for all the support of Outkick. Our streaming numbers for Outkick the Coverage on Fox Sports Radio are up over 2000% compared to last year. I didn’t even know that kind of growth was possible.

2017 is going to be massive for the show and Outkick in general. 

Thanks, in a large part, to you guys. 

Okay, on to the mailbag.  

Chip writes:

“Clay – love the site and love the content. You are a voice for the sane in the increasingly insane profession of journalism.

Just read your article regarding MSESPN today, and I thought I’d share an insight that I (and no doubt many others) have run across lately – MSESPN and the rest of the thoughtcrime police force aren’t liberal anymore. Liberals are pro-free speech, pro-free thought, and pro-individual freedom. Ironically, this is now more descriptive of those on the moderate-to-right side of the spectrum than it is of the left. MSESPN and its cronies especially no longer fit this description, and are no longer worthy of the “liberal” label, which throughout history has been very much a positive tag (as you know, our country’s founders were extremely “liberal”).

I know labels are dumb, but call them what they are – leftists bordering on fascists.”

It is wild, isn’t it?

I feel like my political philosophy hasn’t moved at all since I was around twenty years old and everyone else has gone crazy all around me.

You ever notice how any time you challenge liberal orthodoxy on anything with actual facts they immediately respond by calling you names? Racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, whatever it is.  

The Under Armour fallout has convinced me, as if I needed further convincing, that right now we are in the middle of a left wing McCarthy era. People are being examined now to see how much connection they have to Donald Trump and if you have too much of one you’re being tarred and feathered in public.

I mean, Under Armour’s CEO said that having a pro-business president in the White House was an asset. That’s not even a controversial statement. You can go read his statement here. 

And Steph Curry responded by saying that the president was an ass. And no one even blinked. 

Can you imagine if a white athlete had said that about Barack Obama in 2008? The left wing would have called him racist and demanded that the team release the player. Curry says it and nothing happens at all. In fact, quite the opposite, he’s praised. 

Now I’m fine with Curry giving whatever opinion he wants to give, but I think political opinions from athletes should be treated evenly by the media. The sports media shouldn’t use athlete opinions as a covert way to interject their own political opinions by seeming to praise the athlete, which is everywhere now.

I love to give this example, can you imagine if Colin Kaepernick had said he was taking a knee because the opposed the Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage?

To hell with defending his first amendment rights, liberals would have demanded that the the San Francisco 49ers immediately release him. So when the vast, vast majority of people say they’re speaking out in favor of first amendment rights just keep in mind that most people don’t speak out in favor of the first amendment these days, they speak out in support of speech they agree with.  

Chris writes:

“My friend is dating this girl who has had a history of getting around with guys. However, she decided to settle down and date my friend. The other night my friend received a very long text message about how watching porn was wrong and that he was cheating on her. She told my friend that if he keeps watching porn, then she can’t be with him anymore. My question since you are King Solomon of sex i was wondering what your opinion of this is, and if its really cheating? I mean how many guys are in a relationship that are in their younger years and still watch porn?”

All men watch porn and it isn’t cheating.

But this isn’t about porn, it’s about controlling your friend. Which is why he should immediately break up with this chick. And if he does this I bet there’s a good chance that she’ll want him back so badly that she’ll end up watching porn with him the next time they have sex.

Chess not checkers.   

T. writes:

“I’m a Baylor graduate student. The more news that’s reported about my school’s handling of this sexual assault situation the angrier I become. Baylor is totally in the wrong here. Women were raped and sexually assaulted and the administration failed to act. I feel that my Baylor fanhood (as well as my graduate degree) is tainted.

So here’s my question for you: As a fellow radical moderate who despises the social-justice warrior twittermob as much as circle-the-wagons homerism, what’s an intelligent fan to do? There’s got to be an appropriate reaction somewhere between lighting my football tickets and academic transcript on fire outside of McLane Stadium while screaming “Death Penalty!” and shrugging my shoulders and saying “Every university does this.”

As the smartest gay muslim who covers sports on the internet, I feel that you’re best qualified to answer this: If you were a Baylor fan/student (or if it was your team/school that allowed this to happen), what would your response be?

You can see from my email address that I’m a Baylor student. I’d prefer if you kept my name anonymous, however.”

You’re fortunate here because you have an entirely new administration and and an entirely new coaching staff.

I think the very reasonable position for a Baylor fan to take is to acknowledge that the prior administration screwed up, but that you love your university and you’re rooting for the new administration to help clean up the mess that was left behind.

That’s the radical moderate solution.  

Keith writes:


Can you see a parallel between ESPN and Jack Daniels? Jack Daniels cancelled a live appearance with you promoting their cinnamon whiskey. ESPN, rather MSESPN, clearly has a liberal political agenda they’re trying to advance. See Under Armor CEO comments after Trump meeting and the liberal takes that followed.

In both cases someone in the North has made these decisions.  In the case of Jack Daniels you have to believe no one in their Lynchburg, TN offices would have ever cancelled you because they know you and your influence on their typical customer.

If ESPN was headquartered in Charlotte like the SEC Network you have to believe their takes would be more moderate. The SEC Network clearly knows its audience. However, ESPN clearly does not want to accept their audience which like the SEC Network is conservative too but they refuse to adapt accordingly.

Would love your take. By the way, your wife is a smokeshow. You should put her on your avatar, point to the scoreboard and shut up your haters.”

As for my haters, an important lesson for everyone out there: 99% of all hate is motivated by jealousy or misdirected self loathing. Let me put it to you this way, I’ve never had a hater who is more successful than me. No matter what you do for a living, I bet the same is true for y’all too.  

As for your question, people who live in New York City or its immediate environs and Los Angeles or its immediate environs make 90% of important decisions about most major brands. And those people often have no idea how the people in the rest of the country live.

Which means they often make poor decisions for their brands.


They’re reviewing some consultant’s report about what their audience is instead of just knowing by living their lives. It’s like I told the Jack Daniels guy when they fired me from their event for saying that Vanderbilt shouldn’t sandblast the word confederate off a building. This is going to be much worse for you than it is for me. 

I’ve lived in Washington, D.C., the Virgin Islands, Nashville, and over the past several years spent a lot of time in Los Angeles. I also married a girl from Michigan, so I’ve since spent a lot of time in the Midwest over the past 12 years. On top of that I went to public school in Nashville K-12 and then two private schools, George Washington and Vanderbilt Law School.  

My point is, I feel like I’ve had a fairly diverse experience in terms of what people across the width and breadth of America think like. And I think many people in media have not. 

I’m very confident that half of my family and friends voted for Hillary Clinton and half of my family and friends voted for Donald Trump.

Last year before the election my mother-in-law pulled me aside and said she’d been listening to my shows and she thought I was being way too tough on Donald Trump. One of my best friends reached out and said he listened to the shows and thought I was being way too tough on Hillary Clinton. I took that as a great sign. It meant that I was squarely in the middle.  

I’m giving all of these examples because it’s easy to get lost in your own tiny world and not be able to understand anyone else’s perspective. And I think that’s what often happens with brands as they get big, they lose touch with who their audience is. Because instead of some Southern guy who busted his ass and turned Jack Daniels into a global brand, you’ve got a 32 year old New York City brand rep who orders it for $30 a shot in a fancy Manhattan club and has only been to the South once when he went to New Orleans for a bachelor party.  

You guys saw the reaction when Jack Daniels pulled their sponsorship of me. They got absolutely murdered online. I guarantee you it’s the worst social media week they have ever had. And I told them that was exactly what was going to happen. That’s because I know their brand better than they know their brand.

And, to be honest, I know ESPN’s audience better than ESPN knows its audience. I talk to them every day on the radio, I sit in the stands with them, I cared about the games I write and talk about long before I ever thought I might write and talk about them. And there’s no way that the average viewer of ESPN believes that Caitlyn Jenner is a hero. 

But ESPN’s running their brand not based on what their fans want, but on what a few northeastern liberals want. It’s inauthentic.  

And that’s the biggest strength of Outkick’s brand right now, our authenticity. And that’s why we’re growing like gangbusters and ESPN is stumbling. Now Outkick is just a tiny pinprick of ESPN, but we’re insanely profitable and growing fast.

It’s a great time to be buying stock in Clay Travis. Is it a good time to buy stock in ESPN?

I don’t think so.   

Todd writes:

“With a lot of people calling for Baylor to get the death penalty over their handling of the rape allegations, there are also those who think the lawsuits will bankrupt the university (and I don’t think either will happen). What is the most likely payout to these victims? A quick search shows some Title IX suits paying anywhwere from $800k to $2.5 million (Tennessee). Also, if you look at some of the wrongful death lawsuits, they average around $2-$5 mil. At the end of the day, are these victims going to get a lot less money they everyone thinks?”

The university is not going to go bankrupt.

As for what the total bill will end up being? I have no idea because it’s hard to know what can be proven and what can’t be proven, but I’d be surprised if it settles for more than $20 million.  

Abel writes:

“People ask you all the time for the magic elixir that gave you success. I don’t know if it’s because they don’t want the answer to be “I worked my ass off” or if it’s because they don’t want to give you credit for all the time, passion, and work you put in. That said, I also have a question about your makeup. You’re seemingly able to balance not giving a shit what people think about you, while also being a reasonable, polite person until given a reason to be otherwise. As the father of a one year old boy, I’m curious if there were any specifics in the way that you were raised that allowed you to develop and balance these two traits. I want my son to be thick skinned, but not to be an asshole unless its necessary. I’m more just an asshole so I can’t really lead by example and I also care (not a ton but enough) what people think about me. The bright side is I have enough self awareness to acknowledge this about myself and I do try to work on it, but I am more concerned in having my son develop these things so that hes not facing this issue when he’s 35 like his dad.”

I was telling a friend recently that the number one trait that I’d like to pass on to my sons is self confidence. (Also, my hair genes.) Not a false self confidence like the kid in your high school who didn’t start on the basketball team, but believed he would play in the NBA, but an honest ability to know what your talents are and then be fearless about pursuing them. 

My parents are absolutely incredible — I genuinely think I have the two best parents in the country — but I tend to think a ton of this confidence is innate. I’m sure it wouldn’t have developed as well with bad parents — just like all traits are hindered by bad parents — but I think most people who have known me at least since high school would say that I’ve always been pretty confident.

 I will say that I think growing up in the South — where you’re raised to be nice to everyone — and then going away to college on the east coast — where everyone is an asshole — isn’t a bad combination. The east coast toughened me up a little bit. It’s still my least favorite part of the country too. 

My geography power rankings look like this:

1. South

2. West

3. Midwest

4. East Coast

Okay, I’m off to speak to the next generation of college sports journalists now in Nashville. Hope you guys have a great weekend and thanks for your support of Outkick. 

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.