All That and a Bag of Mail

Flowers lay alongside a basketball fans have left at the Pat Summitt statue Tuesday, June 28, 2016, in Knoxville, Tenn. Summitt, the winningest coach in Division I college basketball history who uplifted the women’s game from obscurity to national prominence during her career at Tennessee, died Tuesday morning, June 28, 2016. She was 64.(AP Photo/Wade Payne) Wade Payne AP

It’s the Friday before a three day fourth of July holiday weekend, which means a ton of you slackers didn’t go to work today and those of you who are there are pretending to work so you can start drinking early. 

But you know who never stops working?

Your fearless bearded gay Mulsim leader. 

Before we go any further, my thoughts on Pat Summitt are here. I absolutely loved her. Stay around for the end of the mailbag for a great Summitt story from a reader.

So here we go:

Tyler writes:

“One of my friends and I were discussing Brexit and the magnitude of it passing. Do you think it is possible for a far right state like Texas to vote to do the same here? If the federal government increased taxes significantly, forced states to accept refugees and passed extreme gun laws, I could definitely see them entertaining the idea. What do you think?”

It’s a fascinating question. 

First, from a pure stability sense, this is insanity. Markets would be terrified if individual states started to break off from the United States and I can’t imagine that state of Texas voters would majority vote to leave the union.

If every state was able to have a referendum and by majority rule leave the country, it would be absurd. Plus, can you imagine how crazy some of these states would end up? Like if Alabama were an independent country and only Alabama residents made the laws can you imagine the positions it would adopt? The same could be true of the far left states. Would Vermont have a 90% tax rate if it were an independent country? Right now, whether you agree with them or not, having fifty states leads to fairly moderate national politics, it’s hard for the far right or the far left to end up that much in control, which helps to limit the crazy. But that issue wouldn’t apply if individual states were independent countries. 

Having said that, there is already a pro-secession movement in Texas and the state was independent as a country for nine years from 1836-1845. It has the population, access to oil, and existing heft as an economic entity that in theory it could definitely pull off independence. In fact, if Texas were an independent country right now, its economy would be the 12th largest in the world, bigger than South Korea and Australia. (California’s economy standing alone would be the 9th largest economy in the world.)

How much would Texas’s economy take a hit if it left the United States? It’s hard to say, I’d love to see an economic analysis. To me, it doesn’t seem like that substantial of an impact, especially assuming the state would have a free trade pact with the United States. Although it is worth noting that right now Texas receives more federal tax dollars in return that what it pays.

Let’s talk historically for a moment — the South indisputably had the right to secede in 1861. That is, the Supreme Court, had this case gone to the Supreme Court, would have ruled that the Constitution did not prohibit secession and that individual states, therefore, had the right to secede. In fact, Jefferson Davis, who later became the president of the Confederacy, hoped that exactly this would happen — that several Southern senators would be seized by President Lincoln and charged with crimes for seceding. His hope was that the courts would agree that the South had the right to leave, which would have gone a long way towards arguing that the North was engaging in an unjust war by attempting to keep the South from seceding.

What would today’s Supreme Court say? Presumably that the Civil War and the subsequent amendments passed after the war, proved that secession was not permitted.

But how would the rest of the world react? What would happen if Texas voters went to the polls and voted to leave the United States? Would the US go to war with Texas to prohibit this from happening? How would other countries respond? Would Texas send a represenative to the United Nations and argue that the US government was unfairly prohibiting a group of people from making their own democratic decisions? Wouldn’t Texas have a decent argument — after all, the United States definitely argued that every former member of the USSR that voted to become independent had that right.

And don’t you think many countries would support Texas independence because they’d see it as an opportunity to weaken the United States? Like I said, I don’t think it will ever happen, but it’s fascinating to think about the result if Texas voted to exit the United States.  

Peyton writes:

“After Dustin Johnson won the US Open, a debate started between a few friends and I, and we need you to settle it. What is the most mentally challenging/testing/demanding position to play in sports? These guys played baseball growing up and all throughout high school (some now in college) and they argue that baseball pitchers are under the most mental stress than any other athlete. They have a point, as I’ve seen great pitchers fall apart at the beginning of games for no particular reason. This is why I put pitchers at second on my list. However, I say that PGA tour golfers are the most mentally tested. (See DJ 3 putt from 12 feet in 2015 US Open) In my opinion the majority of pro golfers are about the same mechanically, its what goes on between the ears that wins tournaments.”

The most challenging position in all of sports is NFL quarterback, and there isn’t a close second.

Only 10-12 guys can play NFL quarterback at a high level today and it’s virtually impossible to find them. That’s because the skill set — mind that works like a computer, ability to withstand extreme physical punishment, supremely strong arm, adequate height — is a rare elixir of athletic traits that doesn’t produce many that can excel.

Think about how crazy it is that with the millions of kids every year who play football, by the time we get to the NFL, we’ve winnowed down the number of guys who can perform at a top level to around 12.

That’s it.

After NFL quarterback I’d probably rank the positions thusly:

2. NHL goalie

3. PGA golfer

4. Major League pitcher

5. Top soccer goalie 

Thomas writes:

“I have a question that has bothered me for a long time. With all the LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan talk lately, why does no one question harder why Michael Jordan left basketball to try baseball? I know he said he was “tired” and wanted to do it for his father, but if you are “tired” why would you want to try and start a new sport when you are the best in the world at your current sport? Also, why would you want to move to Birmingham from Chicago to try this? I am from Birmingham and I know at that time Birmingham was a crap hole, today it is MUCH better, but still no Chicago.

We know Jordan had a gambling problem, hell Birmingham County Club wouldn’t let him become a member because of his gambling problem. Birmingham Country Club has a 4 step process to get in, he didn’t make it past step two. Don’t you think they would want one of the most famous people in the world to be a member? Do you think it is possible that the NBA caught him gambling on his own games, Pete Rose style? And instead of punishing him like Pete Rose was punished they said to take a year off and we will keep our mouth shut? It would have been terrible for the NBA to catch the best player ever gambling on his own games, there is no way they would have made it big news.”

This is my favorite sports conspiracy theory that I actually believe — that the NBA caught Jordan gambling on his own games and enforced a super secret probation. Jordan, needing a cover, decided to announce he would attempt to become a major league baseball player. 

I mean this entire story is going to be so hard to explain to my kids. Think about it, the best player in the world decides, after his third straight title, that his dad, who was “randomly” murdered parked on the side of the road, wanted him to play baseball so he gives up his best sport for just shy of two years and decides to play baseball.

Then he decides baseball isn’t for him and comes back to basketball just before the playoffs start in year two?

It just doesn’t make sense.

Which is more believable, all of that happens or that the NBA instituted a super secret suspension on Jordan for gambling on his basketball games?  

I think the super secret NBA suspension makes the most sense. 

So, yeah, I’m a Jordan was suspended by the NBA for gambling on his games conspiracy theorist. 

(By the way, isn’t this what fans say they actually want to happen, players having a direct stake in playing hard based on the outcome of regular season NBA games? I love the idea of Jordan being so confident in himself that he’s got an extra million on his team covering the spread on a random Tuesday night against the Toronto Raptors. It should never be an issue if athletes want to bet on their teams to win, it’s only when they bet on their teams not to win or not to cover that it becomes an issue.)

Matthew writes:

“Why do people follow you, listen to your show or tweet you just to talk shit/vehemently disagree/or antagonize you? It makes absolutely no sense. I listen and read your work because I like your opinions. Don’t these idiots realize that this only increases your popularity and platform? Following you just to talk shit to you would be like me following Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity just to talk shit to them. I don’t care to incessantly comment and ridicule them, I have better things to do with my time.”

It’s amazing to me, but there is a decent percentage of people that are obsessed with reading, listening and watching people they hate. This is the Howard Stern lesson — Stern became famous as much for his haters as he did for the people who loved him.  

And statistically these haters actually spend more time with my content than the people who love me. What’s more, haters are the best advertisers I have. Because their incessant complaints leads to more people watching, listening and reading. The haters don’t get it, but they are the best thing in the world for me. 

Most of you don’t get this either because you’re busy in your own lives. There are so many things I love that I don’t get to do that the idea I’d religiously follow someone I hate is insane to me. 

But I thank the haters. 

They’re my most important fans. 

Mike Grove writes:

“I appreciated the well written article today regarding Pat Head Summit.

I’ve heard many tributes on the radio this morning regarding Pat Head Summitt’s character. There was one in particular however that really resonated with me, which was, “if you ever had the opportunity to meet Pat in person, it was very memorable.”

I was fortunate enough to meet Pat in my youth as a recent graduate from the University of Tennessee. The time was the very early ’90s and I was a disillusioned, demoralized young man recently let go from my first professional job post college, which had compensated less annually than the part time bar tending job I had during college. During this time of my unemployment, I had contracted a serious case of bronchitis which then was compounded by being inflicted with a case of Bell’s Palsy. I know, this sounds like a tragically mis fortunate character in Game of Thrones!

Weeks later and fortunately recovering from Bell’s Palsy, I was driving back from an interview that had gone horribly bad to the house I was renting with 3 friends for $50 per month. I decided that I had really nothing to lose and while I was driving through campus, I grabbed a copy of my resume and dropped it off at Coach Summitt’s office, with a had written note attached explaining that I was looking for a sales position and would appreciate any help should might provide in assisting my job search. As I entered the Lady Vol basketball office, I was greeted by Coach Summitt. As she immediately asked, “what can I do for you young man?”, I nervously began to explain the reason for my visit with my resume in hand. Coach Summitt took me into her office, sat me down and talked with me for about 30 minutes. She ended the conversation by taking my resume, saying she would try to help in any way she was able, wished me luck and told me to stay positive.

Within a week of my visit with her, I received a hand written letter from Coach Summitt informing me that she had sent my resume to several boosters and owners of local corporations in the area with a recommendation that I would be an excellent choice as a sales representative for their business if they had opportunities available.

Several years later, I have often recalled that encounter with Pat Head Summitt and the kindness and encouragement that she provided that day and with the letter that followed.

I didn’t get a position as a result of that letter of recommendation, but I have had a very successful professional career and have had the opportunity to mentor disillusioned demoralized young professionals like Pat did for me that day.” 

This is a great lesson for the 4th of July weekend — you never know who you might be helping out in a time of need. 

There are countless stories like this about Pat Summitt, but I thought this one was worth sharing with all of you. 

Happy 4th of July weekend, y’all. 

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.