All That and a Bag of Mail

I’m on my way to Bristol as you read this and I can’t wait for that game to kickoff and for the fun of the weekend. So hopefully I’ll see a bunch of you up there.  

We’ve had an outstanding first week of Outkick the Coverage on Fox Sports Radio and I’ve even surprised myself and managed to wake up every morning at four without dying. Thanks for all the feedback and positive comments. 

Now it’s time for the mailbag. 

Lots of you wrote to me about Colin Kaepernick’s “protest” and its expansion to other athletes. So here are my thoughts:

First of all, and this is extremely important and no one else is writing or talking about it, THE UNITED STATES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ISN’T OPPRESSING ANYONE. 

The president and the attorney general have the same political beliefs as Colin Kaepernick. So when Kaepernick refuses to stand for the national anthem he is actually protesting a federal government that has the exact same beliefs as him. It’s one of many reasons why this “protest” is so idiotic. The federal government hasn’t killed any minorities to my knowledge and, as if that wasn’t enough, they have actually proactively investigated minority shootings in numerous states.

That is, they have followed up on state and local government investigations into police shootings and completed their own independent inquiries into those incidents. So the federal government, which is specifically being protested by Kaepernick and others when they don’t stand for the national anthem has actually undertaken the exact steps that he wants them to take. 

Now you may disagree with state laws or city or local police initiatives, but the federal government doesn’t oppress anyone. Has the federal government oppressed minorities in the past? Certainly. But there is zero oppression from the federal government of any race, religion or creed in the present day. The federal government treats everyone as equally as it possibly can. (In fact, the federal government, if anything, actually favors people, specifically blacks, via affirmative action. So if anything the federal government is actually biased in favor of blacks in the present day.)

This “protest” is just insanely stupid. And further elucidates that most people in this country have no idea how a federal/state government separation of powers actually exists. 

I told this story yesterday on Outkick, but I’ve actually been on a sports team when someone protested the playing of the national anthem. Twenty years ago I played soccer at Martin Luther King Magnet and our goalie, who was of Kurdish descent, sat and turned his back when they played the national anthem before our soccer games. Why did he do this? Because he disapproved of the way the United States government treated the Kurds after the Gulf War, when our country refused to protect the Kurdish people from retaliation from Saddam Hussein. 

I wasn’t that familiar with the issue, but after his protest I read about the United States government’s response and lack of protection for the Kurdish people and felt that he had a more than legitimate reason to bear ill will towards the federal government’s response. It had led to thousands of his people being murdered for seeking political freedoms. That was the kind of protest that made complete sense tome. He disagreed with an actual action undertaken by the United States government that directly led to thousands of deaths of people he held dear. 

Certainly there are many things that an athlete could protest about the federal government, but almost all of them would be coming from a conservative perspective.

Imagine if, for instance, Kaepernick refused to stand for the playing of the national anthem because he disagreed with the United States allowing gay marriage. In so doing his position would be the same as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s as recently as 2012. I happen to be fine with gay marriage — gay people should have every right to be as miserable as married straight people — but I respect the fact that some people aren’t okay with this. What would the reaction be if Kaepernick refused to stand because the federal government allowed gay marriage? Would liberals praise his being willing to use his platform and support his first amendment rights or would they demand the NFL suspend him for doing so?

Of course, they’d demand a suspension. Meanwhile many conservatives would consider Kaepernick a hero. 

That’s because most people don’t support all first amendment speech, they support first amendment speech they agree with and try to pretend that they’re supporting the speech for first amendment reasons and not because they actually agree with it. 

I, on the other hand, am a first amendment absolutist. I’d support Kaepernick’s right to take this stance in both instances and I’d criticize his actual opinion in both cases too. But I certainly wouldn’t believe he should be suspended for saying what he actually believes. 

Anyway, as is usually the case, I’ve been disappointed in how unintelligent most of the discussion surrounding Kaepernick’s “protest” has actually been. He’s protesting people who agree with him and being praised for his bravery in doing so, which is perfect for the disjointed stupidity that governs our political and sports discourse these days.  

James writes:

“Clay,

Your discussion was spot on last week about coaching being the only profession where a guy could go from making $50,000 to $5 million. I have pondered this topic for a while. It seems like certain coaches would thrive no matter their career or era, but some of these guys? I’m not sure how they would survive if not for coaching.

Jimbo Fisher is a classic example to me. He is obviously a tremendous coach, and probably a fine guy, but when I listen to him talk, I’m not sure he’s ever thought about anything other than football.

Nick Saban? Sometimes I think it’s a shame that he went in to coaching, because he might be extraordinary at so many things, and maybe even president. If he lived a century earlier, he might have been a decorated officer in the Union Army and then become a legendary industrialist like JP Morgan or Andrew Carnegie. People joke about “The Process,” but his ability to organize and apply management principles to a given topic is pretty incredible. Football is simply the application.

Hugh Freeze? Definitely an old-time circuit riding evangelist.

Dabo Swinney? Probably that guy who inexplicably rises all the way to Governor and you really don’t know how.

Mark Richt would be a teacher who has a very nice, middle class career with a wonderful family and is very active in the community.

What are your thoughts? How about some others? Jim Harbaugh? Les Miles? Pete Carroll?

Keep up the good work and may Outkick be the greatest empire since Alexander the Great’s.”

You nailed it, Nick Saban would have been a multi-millionaire in any business or industry he pursued. The process would work just as well, potentially even better, if applied to business. I actually think we kind of wasted Saban’s talents on football. I mean, it’s great that he’s the most dominant football coach of all time but I find myself thinking he could have used his talents on something that actually matters more. Imagine if, for instance, FDR had decided to become a football coach at Syracuse instead of a politician. There’s no doubt that he would have been a hell of a successful basketball coach, but who would have led our country during World War II? (Some of you are probably thinking, it’s awfully ironic that Clay Travis, a smart guy who makes a living off ranking dumb fan bases and dick jokes, is criticizing other people for wasting their talents.)

Les Miles would have definitely been like Michael Scott on “The Office,” the head of a regional paper company somewhere who was always on the edge of being fired for rampant HR violations.

Jim Harbaugh is a coach in pretty much every job I can possibly imagine, but I can definitely see him getting fired for hazing and making some freshman run around in an “I’m a pussy,” tshirt for failing to make the right time in his offseason training program. 

Pete Carroll would probably work as a clown entertaining kids at birthday parties with balloon animals. (Incidentally, this is probably what Hillary’s vice presidential candidate, Tim Kaine, should be doing as well.)   

David writes:

“If all schools did away with donor levels and the subsequent seating priority that come with those, and made every seat General Admission, what would the stadiums look like if every seat was first come, first served?

How early would people begin camping out for seats? Which schools would line up the earliest? What would the salary of a seat filler/placeholder be?”

Alabama fans camp out for days to be the first at the spring game, so I have no doubt that all of Tuscaloosa would turn into a shanty town filled with the 85% lining up for blocks and blocks. Students, the 15%, wouldn’t be able to get to class because 20,000 homeless Bama fans would be camping out to be first into the stadium for the best seats.

So Bama would definitely have the biggest issue with this. Zero doubt.  

You remember how before Southwest gave out boarding tickets with numbers on them, and just A, B, and C groups, all seats were first come, first serve? People would literally start lining up for their flight hours before it left. It would drive me crazy. Who gets in the front of the A line three hours before a flight leaves just so they can be the first to board? It made zero sense to me. 

“I’m just going to wait here for three hours so I can save time and be the first one off when we land.”

I think you hit on it though, there would rapidly become professional seat savers. And the rich people would show up right before the doors opened and all the Alabama people who aren’t employed and have been camping out all week would lose their minds. Riots might happen. It’s like back in the Civil War when rich people could buy people to go to the draft in their place. 

Taylor writes:

“Clay,

What are the realistic chances Ole Miss can beat Alabama? And second, what are the chances we get you to the Grove for the game?”

I think Chad Kelly will throw four interceptions and four touchdown passes against Alabama. Has that ever happened before?

Bama wins 45-28.

So I think the odds are low of Ole Miss winning a third straight game against the Tide, virtually zero. 

As for coming to the game, the thing I’m grappling with on a decision like this is that there are so many great games going on all day that I hate to bail on the ability to rapidly react to all these games taking place by going to one game. 

Last weekend we had the greatest slate of opening games in college football history. Combining all our reaction shows we had over 150,000 people watching Outkick live videos on Periscope and Facebook. That audience is just massive. Especially if you factor in the average age and intelligence level of a Periscope and Facebook video viewer, it’s a pretty elite, well educated crowd.  

This weekend I’ll be in Bristol, but there aren’t that many good games going on this weekend and I felt like I needed to be there to chronicle Woodstock meets college football in person.  

On the same day of Bama at Ole Miss we’ve got Ohio State at Oklahoma and Florida State at Louisville. Those are both massive games that I’d love to watch in their entirety. So we’ll see whether I can make it down. 

I know we’ll have a ton of Outkick readers, listeners and viewers in Oxford so I would like to come hang out with you guys. 

What I’d really like is to be able to hop a flight from Nashville to Oxford early in the morning, tailgate in the Grove while watching Florida State and Louisville play, hit Bama-Ole Miss in person, and then fly back home to Nashville in time to watch the second half of Ohio State at Oklahoma. 

So if one of you has a couple of spare seats on your plane and is going to that game, I’d love to make that trip. (Honestly, we need an advertiser that wants to work with us here at Outkick to advertise their private charter or private plane service to reach an affluent college football audience. Reach out to me, I’d love to do this, clay.travis@gmail.com).

Phillip writes:

“Clay,

A few months ago me and my buddies were pregaming for a hockey game and decided to take shots. We’re in our mid 20s so shots aren’t as fun as they used to be. Afterwards we were all bitching about how awful the shot was (coincidentally it was that Jack Daniel’s Fire shit. Always do Fireball, lesson learned). Fast forward to the next morning and one of my buddies admitted to not actually taking the shot even though the night before he acted like he took it. I still give him shit for faking it and not actually taking the shot. Do I have a right to still give him shit about it 6 months later?”

I’ve definitely faked taking shots before when I was too drunk to need more shots. I actually think it’s a veteran move. 

In fact, it’s an old stripper trick. About a decade ago I was in a strip club for a bachelor party and we were doing shots with strippers and one of the strippers took her shot, acted like she was taking it, but was really just throwing it right over her shoulder every time. Such a savage move I had to respect it. And I asked her about it and she said, “Bitch, I’m here to make money, if I get too drunk, I make less money. So I just fake taking shots and let you dumbasses get drunk instead of me. That way you spend more money.”

Pretty much genius. 

So what I’m saying is — your buddy should become a stripper. 

Colin writes:

“Hey Clay,

Glad to see you’re back on radio although I don’t envy that unbearable time you have to wake up.

I was wondering if there were any plans to get your show onto XM? We don’t have a FSR affiliate where I live and I’d love to listen driving to work.

When Finebaum came back and went to ESPN/SEC, I remember there was a gap before they worked out a satellite deal for him. Hoping that’s the same case here!”

These decisions are made well above my pay grade, but I would guess that Fox Sports Radio would need to make a deal with satellite radio in order for the entire network to be carried, not just my show. 

Here’s my easiest advice for how to listen to the show — download the iheartradio app and play it there or stream it live on foxsportsradio.com. That works anywhere in the world. Our affiliate list is also here, but some of these stations only carry a few of the hours — for instance right now in Nashville and Houston we’re only on live from 5-6 am — and I know that can be frustrating to you guys.

Just know that Outkick is growing rapidly and we’re going to continue to grow rapidly. And I can only imagine that’s going to lead to more opportunities for you guys to listen, watch and read our content.  

In the past year Outkick has gone from a website to the most watched live daily Periscope and Facebook sports show — which I’m convinced is basically a TV show — and a live three hour radio show. Last month more people watched Outkick videos than read Outkick articles. That’s really wild.

Only good things are coming for us.  

And you guys are a huge part of that. 

Thank you. 

N. writes:

“I’ll make this short. My asshole friend is getting married this fall, like an asshole. What’s worse is that I’m in the wedding during a home SEC game.

Add to that the bachelor party and the wedding shower, and he’s asking me to miss 3 home SEC football games. Which of these can I skip? Also, what the fuck is a wedding shower?”

If you go to the wedding shower you’re being a total pussy. 

Because what’s our number one life rule at Outkick?

Don’t be a pussy. #dbap

So don’t be a pussy, skip the wedding shower. (Also, hate to brag, but I’m kind of a genius. Why not make the bachelor party take place at an SEC football game and that way you only have to miss one weekend for the wedding itself?)

Hope to see a ton of y’all in Bristol. 

Big morning on Outkick the Coverage’s radio show, Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys will be on as well as SEC commissioner Greg Sankey. 

Let’s go Vols, cover the -11.5.

And let’s all get drunk in Bristol.

Can’t wait.  

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.