All That and a Bag of Mail

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It’s Friday, time for y’all to pretend you’re working while reading the mailbag.

Our beaver pelt trader of the week goes out to Jason Aldean’s steel guitarist, who rocked the Outkick shirt on the Today Show this morning. The number of y’all who watch the Today Show was incredible. I wake up this morning on the West Coast and my phone has blown up.

On to the mailbag.

Russell D. writes:

“What if Brady started anyway and just ignored the four game suspension?”

This is actually a fascinating question.

Assuming that the suspension is upheld in court then by playing Brady — and the Patriots — would theoretically be in contempt of court. So there would be legal consequences over and above how the NFL would respond for violating league rules. But those legal consequences would come later. What would happen at the NFL’s opening nationally televised Thursday night game if Brady ran out on the field to play and lined up to take the first snap under center for the Patriots? How do they remove him from the field at a home game? I mean, presumably the Patriots wouldn’t call their own security guards to drag Brady off their home field.

So what happens?

The NFL officials probably wouldn’t let the game start, but they’ve never seen a situation like this before and they wouldn’t have the authority, or ability, to physically remove Brady from the playing surface. Do they immediately try and threaten the Patriots with a forfeit? That seems hard to believe it would happen given there’s a national television audience watching. Meanwhile the Patriots crowd is just going bonkers with Brady out on the field, it’s like a riot is brewing. Can you imagine if Goodell actually went to the game too? Then we’d definitely have a riot like what happened in Montreal back in 1955 after a popular player was suspended. (Hat tip to Producer Tim from FSLive for the historical knowledge.) Goodell can’t go to a Patriots game this year that actually takes place in New England, he just can’t. Regardless, as the protest continues Brady’s the Katniss Everdeen of the NFL and Roger Goodell is President Snow. All he needs to do is throw up the Mockingbird symbol and the entire Patriots stadium riots.

So let’s say after the refs won’t start the game, what if Brady just sits down on the field and refuses to budge despite everyone telling him to leave? What happens then? They can’t start the game until he leaves the field. Sure, they could rule a forfeit, but then you’d probably have an actual riot and the TV partners would flip out. So how long would it take to find police willing to drag him off the field? Does the NFL try to get an emergency writ to arrest Brady for contempt of court? Eventually do Massachusetts state police have to drag Brady off the field with a court order in their hands? How long does this take to happen?

This would be riveting television.

I would love to see it happen. 

Patrick M. writes:


My wife was the girl that got serenaded by Tom Cruise and Jimmy Fallon during the lip synch battle last night.

Question for your mailbag- what’s the proper reaction when your wife is getting serenaded by one of the biggest movie stars of all-time?”

You have to be flattered. That’s the only possible reaction. Personally, I love Tom Cruise’s movies. Last night after FoxSportsLive’s Countdown show I went to see the new “Mission Impossible” movie by myself. I tried to get Petros to go with me and he said he’d rather have burning stakes shoved into his eyes.

I do love, however, that this viral sensation featured an Outkick reader’s wife. Outkick’s going to do nearly four million uniques this month, and one of you assholes is definitely going to be the target of a viral Internet mob at some point soon. Like, imagine, if the Minnesota dentist was an Outkick reader and he reaches out to us because I’m the only media person he trusts to tell his story? Then we do an exclusive sit down aired on Outkick. 

I mean, this could definitely happen, right? I guess what I’m saying is this, if everyone wants to kill you on the Internet some day, I’ll be your friend. Outkick will still embrace you with open arms. Let me tell your story.  

A ton of you on Twitter and email asked this basic question:

“What was your take with ESPN and Colin Cowherd?”

I think ESPN, which tried to sign him to a new contract, saw an opportunity to try and weaken a new competitor as he was leaving for Fox. If Colin had re-upped with ESPN, they wouldn’t have made this decision. I think everyone was smart enough to see exactly what happened. It’s like breaking up with your girlfriend or boyfriend before they can break up with you. Except everyone already knows you have a new boyfriend or girlfriend so you just end up looking pathetic. 

I also know that quite a few ESPN personalities were unhappy with ESPN’s decision because all it does is embolden the Twitter mob to think they actually accomplished something. To his credit, Dan LeBatard delivered a scathing take on PTI which aired on ESPN. I agree with everything LeBatard said and think he deserved more credit for his willingness to take on ESPN.

Regardless, Colin’s going to be fine and Fox is excited to get him off and running with our radio and TV properties.  

Here’s a big question worth asking that doesn’t get discussed enough whenever these media outrage stories bubble up: Why do people who don’t watch or listen to shows get to decide what other people watch or listen to? The reason I’m asking this is because just about every person who gets offended or outraged today isn’t actually watching or listening to a show when something “offensive” or “outrageous” is said. That is, they aren’t in the market for that show and they aren’t a fan. Instead, they wait for a site like Deadspin — which has morphed from a satirical and funny website into the charge of the liberal pearl clutching brigade — to reproduce a statement totally devoid of context and line up a parade of fellow outragers. “How dare “insert person here” say “insert statement here?” 

But here’s what I don’t understand — if you don’t watch or listen to something, why do you care what someone says on a show you don’t watch or listen to? If the show exists, in this competitive of a marketplace, it’s because lots of people are listening or watching. If you seek out something you didn’t watch or listen to after the fact on the Internet to get outraged, isn’t that on you? Why would we take someone seriously who is seeking out things on the Internet to be offended by? The Internet contains every opinion known to man, how weird is to spend your time finding things you disagree with and complaining about them existing? 

Put this in another context outside of television, the internet or radio. Some people like to hunt. I’m not not one of them, but there’s a huge market for hunting. (And whatever you do, just don’t kill a lion with a name in Zimbabwe). If my cousin shoots a deer — as my cousin likes to do — and I see that dead deer on our farm while he’s preparing it — as I might do — can I really blame him if the sight of a dead animal or blood upsets me? That’s on me, right? I chose to go look at the dead deer. He likes to hunt, I don’t. Or let’s go to sports, if I sought out an MMA fight and got upset by what I saw, it would be ridiculous for me to complain about the MMA fight, right? After all, I sought it out and chose to watch it. MMA gonna MMA.

If there’s one thing that I consistently demonstrate it’s that I’m a strong believer that consenting adults can do what they like in their private lives, that extends from sex with a partner of their choice to consuming media of their choice. The whole cottage industry of being offended in this country is just absurd to me. I don’t understand the mindset of the Internet pearl clutchers here. Really what they’re arguing is that this person or his show shouldn’t exist because they don’t like everything that person says. When the truth of the matter is, everyone doesn’t have to like the same things. If you don’t like something, don’t watch or listen to it. Isn’t it the height of arrogance for you, who doesn’t watch a show or listen to it either, to try and decide what other people should be able to watch or listen to? 

Otis writes:

“Will Fox get all of the Big Ten TV rights?”

I don’t know about all of the Big Ten games, but I think we’ll get a very substantial portion of the rights. 

Pretty much every college football game will end up on ESPN and Fox. (NBC will still have Notre Dame and CBS will keep the SEC until that deal runs out and the SEC leaves for ABC/ESPN.) 

Louis N. writes:

“I was listening to you guest hosting the Dan Patrick show on my way to work — a while back — and heard you talking about the emergence of soccer in the United States.  Nobody in my family has ever been a soccer fan, including myself. I would say that until recent years, I hated soccer. Nothing about the game appealed to me whatsoever.  In our house, we played football and baseball. Soccer was never even a thought.   

I don’t think I will ever care one bit about European soccer clubs.  I have zero connection to any team over there.  However, I have enjoyed being able to follow the national teams especially in the wake of the last two summers full of World Cup action.  Outside of the Olympics, the national team’s about the only major way to consistently cheer for the United States in sports. 

My question to you is this…what changed?  Why is soccer gaining so much on other sports? Is it the concussion information that has come out about football that scares some families away from getting their kids involved? Is it the fact that in this day and age of immediate action, some just see baseball as boring? Can we blame EA Sports for their “FIFA” video game and the impact it has had on thousands of people as it has gotten better year after year? It’s not like soccer is a brand new game. What flipped the switch?” 

It’s the demographics, stupid. The number of kids playing soccer has been on a rapid rise. When I grew up in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, there wasn’t a single kid I knew playing soccer. Interestingly, soccer used to be a rich kid sport in the South. If you grew up in wealthier parts of town, you played. If you grew up in normal or poor parts of town, no one played. 

Now that’s completely flipped and tons of kids play everywhere.

I went on to play soccer in high school and loved it. 

Combine the number of kids exposed to the game with the continuing rise in immigration — all of those families and their kids like soccer — and then toss in the FIFA video game, concussions in football, the EPL on NBC and Fox’s bevy of game rights, the desire for kids to like things their parents don’t necessarily like, and you have everything coming together at the perfect time for soccer.

When I was growing up the idea that you would love watching a foreign athlete was anathema. The only foreign athlete I really rooted for was Boris Becker in tennis. Now kids love Messi and Ronaldo and all of the top soccer players. Hell, they’re wear their jerseys to school. Kids today are much more attuned to the globalization of soccer.

Finally, and I can’t emphasize this enough, old sports fans are dying off. Go to a soccer game and look at the average age of the attendees. There is almost no one with gray hair in the entire stadium.

I really think soccer has already passed hockey. Within ten years, it’s possible soccer is giving baseball a run. Not in terms of the individual game crowds, but in terms of the crowds for big games. The real question is going to become, how quickly can MLS grow and continue to add huge stars to the sport. We have the best professional baseball, football, and basketball. Why can’t we start to compete for the top soccer players over the next 25 years. Those players all want to live here, especially if they’re American. We just need the quality of our teams to rise to the level where they don’t feel like they’re hindering their growth by remaining here.      

I also wonder whether the EPL is going to see this and decide to have an expansion team in New York. 

Jay R. writes:

“There is a quote that has been in my mind for several years now with Twitter and Facebook but it really came to the for front with the confederate flag. It is from Gladiator and it is one of the senator’s speaking about the games:

 “I think he [Commodus] knows what Rome is. Rome is the mob. Conjure magic for them and they’ll be distracted. Take away their freedom and still they’ll roar. The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the Senate, it’s the sand of the Colosseum”

This quote to me symbolizes social media now. It seems that major change does not start in Washington anymore, it is spurred by social media. Look at Cecil the lion, Ferguson, gay marriage, the confederate flag, and Caitlyn Jenner. It seems that this is the avenue that our country is taking for major social events. It also seems that if you are not on the side of the majority you better keep your mouth shut because you will be labeled in a way that isn’t going to be positive. What are you thoughts on all of this?”

There’s definitely a bread and circuses element to the way social media exists in our country today. It’s a total distraction that keeps the people occupied.  

The Cecil the Lion story was beyond absurd. I mean, seriously, you got a random dentist from Minnesota who pays $55k to legally kill a lion in Zimbabwe. He hires hunting guides in Zimbabwe, a county he knows absolutely nothing about, those guides lure a lion out of a national park and he kills him. How is this the dentist’s fault? I just don’t get why everyone is mad at him. He’s not an expert on the lions of Zimbabwe. He doesn’t know that one of them happens to have a name. He’s just a dude with a hobby of killing exotic animals. Now, I don’t happen to have this hobby, but it’s a legal hobby to have. And he pays a ton of money to be able to do it. 

I think most reasonable people would feel this way, but social media isn’t filled with reasonable people in situations such as these and I think what all of us miss, people, corporations, the media is that social media doesn’t accurately reflect the opinion of the masses. It just reflects the opinions of a small, but vocal subset, the kind of people who get outraged about a lion getting killed in Africa, but will do nothing to ever help anyone in Africa at all.

I was thinking about this recently when I read a national survey on race relations from the New York Times. They polled people about their impressions of the Confederate flag. Would you believe that 51% of Americans see the Confederate flag primarily as a symbol of heritage and 36% see it as a symbol of hate? Even twenty percent of black people see it as primarily a symbol of heritage. So even after all the misguided coverage of a mentally insane nut job who killed nine people and happened to have his picture taken with the flag, a substantial majority of Americans still didn’t see the flag as a racist symbol. Doesn’t that make the decisions of Amazon, eBay, Wal Mart, Apple, the national parks and the stripping of the Dukes of Hazzard car and television show look even more ridiculous? All of these companies — and that idiot Bubba Watson — acted at the behest of a vocal minority of social media users. Worse, the majority of people actually disagreed with the actions they were undertaking. That’s why so many loved my Confederate flag column, because the majority actually agreed with me. 

I’ve been arguing for a while that social media is given way too much credit for reflecting the views of the masses. The reality is it reflects the views of a tiny percentage of the population. What’s more, somehow media have made the decision that Twitter and Facebook comments should be taken seriously while, for instance, YouTube comments on popular videos or comments on popular websites like Outkick are totally ignored. Why the distinction? Those people on social media aren’t making logical decisions about something they actually care about, they want to posture on social media. The more of those people there are, the more of a outrage slippery slope there is. Before you know it a ton of people are wishing a Minnesota dentist would be murdered for killing a lion.

An eye for a lion, just like the Bible said.    

James G. writes:

“This week’s edition of the “Dumbest Fan Bases” on Notre Dame got me thinking. I have encountered several of the irrational Notre Dame fans you spotlight, and agree that they are ridiculous.

Consider the following scenario, which I think is the case for a decent number of people. I attended a midwestern Catholic college that doesn’t have a football team for my undergraduate degree, so to some degree I am a Notre Dame fan because I view Notre Dame and Boston College as the closest things to my alma mater that have FBS football. I’ll add that when my alma mater has played ND in any other sport, I’ve rooted for my alma mater. I know some people who don’t do that, and it ticks me off.

I’ll be the first to admit that I wouldn’t have gotten into Notre Dame for undergrad or law school. I also haven’t felt much of a connection to my home state, so I’ve never felt a desire to root for the big state school here.

Still, I enjoy college football, and it’s better to have a team to root for, so I had to pick a team. I guess my question is this: what criteria should I have used to avoid being dumb?”

Schools like Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Duke, and Stanford are tough cases. Because lots of smart people get rejected by these schools. In theory this would mean that these schools could have no bandwagon fans since the number of people who go to schools better than Notre Dame or Vandy, for instance, is pretty small. I mean, I’m sure there are some people who go to Harvard or Princeton or Yale and are diehard Vandy or Notre Dame fans, but they’re a substantial minority, right? Hell, I got rejected by Stanford law school. They were my top choice, but they have an admit rate of like 5%. So I think we need to craft an addendum to rooting for these schools — you don’t have to be able to get into these schools, but you do have to be able to get into some decent colleges and universities to avoid being classified as a member of their idiot fan base. I’ll leave “decent” open for your interpretation.  

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.