All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s Friday and with the states of Tennessee and Florida both opening up, I’m taking my family down to our beach house for the next several weeks.

Yep, Outkick is relocating to Florida for the foreseeable future. With TV still on hiatus, I can do radio anywhere in the country. So we’re planning on the month of May at the beach.

Why am I comfortable moving my family? Because we are young and healthy and not in danger from the coronavirus. I’m living the advice that I’m giving out daily — if you’re young and healthy it’s time to return to normalcy.

Now that doesn’t mean we’re all 100% guaranteed to be fine — outliers and wild outcomes can happen — but our drive down to Florida is by far the most dangerous part of our trip. And I’m more nervous about my sons biking around the Florida coast than I am the coronavirus.

The result: I’m planning on spending the afternoon drinking some beers on the beach.

But until then let’s dive into the Friday mailbag:

The question I got by far the most on social media and via email was about Joe Biden on MSNBC this morning:

Here’s the crux of that MSNBC Morning Joe interview as Mika asks Joe Biden, “Are women to be believed unless it pertains to you?”

And here’s the big question I think reasonable people need to answer regardless of whether they are Democrats, Republicans, or independents, white, black, Asian or Hispanic, gay or straight, whatever your personal identity is: should we believe someone based on their identity?

I think the answer is 100 billion percent no.

That’s the standard I established in law school and it’s the same standard I continue to apply to all cases today. I spent a lot of time explaining it with Brett Kavanaugh and it’s the standard I continue to apply to Joe Biden.

Let me explain it once more, I have no idea if Tara Reade, Biden’s accuser, is telling the truth or not. But what I do know is this: her allegations have far more substantiation and corroborating evidence than the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh.

Consider this: Joe Biden is accused of sexually assaulting one of his former employees in his Senate office building. Then firing that employee. We know his accuser has been telling the same story since at least the 1990’s because the fact that she shared that story in the 1990’s has now been corroborated by at least six witnesses. Yes, there are no direct witnesses to this alleged sexual assault other than Biden and Reade, but we have witnesses corroborating this accusation has been consistently made by this woman for decades.

Reade also knows the place where this alleged assault happened, the month and year, and she says she filed a complaint at the time of the incident as well as telling her mother and others about the assault. (Her mom even called into Larry King to discuss it in the 1990’s, meaning she believed her daughter.) What Reade alleged, that Biden penetrated her with his hand without her consent, is, if true, 100% a sexual assault.

We also know that Reade is a Democrat and the people supporting the fact that she has been telling the same story since the 1990’s are also Democrats. This means there isn’t a clear political calculus at play regarding this accusation. Indeed, at least one of the women supporting Reade says she still intends to vote for Biden.

All of these pieces of evidence don’t prove that Reade is telling the truth, but they do offer substantial corroboration of her claims having been made for decades, long before Biden was the Democratic nominee for president in 2020.

Compare all of this with Christine Blasey-Ford, Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser. She named several people who were present at a high school party as corroborating witnesses of the allegation she made. Yet all of them either don’t recall that party ever happening or deny that the party ever happened.

What’s more, Blasey-Ford alleged behavior by Kavanaugh that isn’t even a sexual assault — no prosecutor would accuse a minor high school kid of a crime for trying to make out with a girl when both had been drinking at a party. That is, even if you accept her story at face value, no crime occurred.

Futhermore, unlike with Joe Biden and Tara Reade, there is no employee-employer relationship at issue here; remember, we’re not even talking about two adults, we’re talking about two high school kids. Ford can’t remember the date of the incident, where it happened, how she got home that night, and, significantly, she didn’t tell a single person about this story for decades.

Despite all of the investigation, in fact, not one single person other than Blasey-Ford was even ever able to confirm that Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey-Ford ever met.

Not one person!

What’s more, Blasey-Ford is a lifelong Democrat who abhors Brett Kavanaugh’s politics.

And for this all the Democrats on the Senate judiciary committee — and every senator except for Jon Manchin in the full senate — declared Kavanaugh to be guilty of sexual assault and refused to vote to confirm him for the Supreme Court.

Yet now these same senators are all endorsing Joe Biden for president?!

Again, leave politics out of it and just pretend you were on a jury and were responsible for deciding who is more believable, Tara Reade or Christine Blasey-Ford. Is there anyone who could remotely vote on a jury that Blasey-Ford is the more believable accuser here?

I mean, it’s simply inconceivable to me that any reasonable juror could make this determination.

Again, I’m not saying I know what happened in either of these cases, but I’m saying that evidence matters when you investigate cases like these. And the evidence is far more against Joe Biden than it is against Brett Kavanaugh. So if you believed Kavanaugh was guilty, you absolutely, positively have to believe Biden is guilty too.

What’s more, I’m not just speaking hypothetically here, for several years I investigated sexual harassment cases on behalf of companies. You know those phone numbers or emails that allow complaints to be made internally at companies? I was one of the lawyers responsible for investigating those sexual harassment complaints made inside companies. So I would sit across from the women accusing men of sexual harassment. (The cases I investigated were always about women accusing men, never the other way around). And do you know what I found? Almost all of these cases were he said, she said. There were almost always zero corroborating witnesses.

That meant I had to try and figure out who was telling the truth, the man, the woman, or both parties.

And, guess what, every woman said she was being sexually harassed and every man said she wasn’t telling the truth.

Sometimes I ended up believing the man and sometimes I ended up believing the woman, but I’m here to tell you these were insanely difficult cases to investigate and it was insanely difficult to try to determine who was being more truthful.

So it always stuns me how often people line up aggressively on one side or the other in cases such as these.

Whatever precedent you have should be durable enough to handle new cases, otherwise it isn’t a precedent at all, it’s just bias in one direction or the other.

What I have consistently advocated is the same standards be applied to the accuser and the accused regardless of sex, race, religion, gender, ethnicity, or politics.

And it’s the same standard I’m applying now.

I believe Democrats were wrong to vote against Brett Kavanaugh based on Blasey-Ford’s claims, but if they apply the same standard now they have to demand Joe Biden remove himself from the presidential campaign. That’s their only option if precedent matters at all to them.

Of course what they should do, if they were being honest, is announce that they were wrong about the way they handled the Kavanaugh allegations, apologize to him and his family, and announce that they believe Joe Biden and that #believeallwomen was a disastrous position to embrace. (Not just for Kavanaugh, by the way, for former senator Al Franken as well.)

Now some Democrats will try and shift the argument here and say, “Well, Republicans only care about sexual assault allegations when it impacts Democrats, they didn’t care about Donald Trump!”

But that’s not an honest perspective here.

Why not?

Because this isn’t about Trump. And, frankly, the Republican standard has been better and more consistent here — look at the evidence of the claims and be skeptical of allegations until they are proven. That is, don’t #believeallwomen or #believeallmen. Look at the evidence.

Republicans are simply asking Democrats to apply the same standard to Joe Biden that they applied to Brett Kavanaugh.

I’m an independent and I’d like to see consistency here too.

Personally, what I’d like to see happen is for Democrats to repudiate their standards and behavior during the Kavanaugh hearings because it’s better for the country.

But I’m not holding my breath that will happen.

I don’t think Joe Biden should have to step down as a presidential candidate based on these allegations, but I also didn’t think Brett Kavanaugh should have been kept from serving in the Supreme Court based on the allegations against him either. My position, as much as it pains my critics to see, is consistent.

That’s because I think precedent matters and that a presumption of innocence should apply no matter who is accused.

It’s absolutely insane that presuming someone is innocent isn’t even a staple of the Democratic party any longer.

Brandon writes:

“Clay, why are some of these governors truly continuing lockdowns in your opinion? The data & common sense doesn’t even remotely show that’s what should be done. Is it political? Power hungry?”

People hate to admit they were wrong about the draconian nature of the initial lockdown so they are doubling down on it even though the evidence doesn’t support it.

We have far more data now than we did when the lockdown went into effect back in March. As I wrote early this week, we now know, incontrovertibly, that young and healthy people have nearly zero risk from this virus.

What we need isn’t a national lockdown for everyone, it’s a targeted lockdown that allows the young and healthy to begin to acquire herd immunity. The old and immune suppressed should quarantine, the rest of us should go back to work.

Sadly, I think the facts have been overtaken by the fear.

And many politicians are so afraid of people saying bad things about them on Twitter that they aren’t making logical, reasonable decisions supported by the data.

With the exception of the New York City area ,the data is pretty clear: we should all be back at work on Monday everywhere in this country.

Clinton writes:

“What are the chances college football starts as scheduled? Or will this be a conference-by-conference decision?”

I get asked this question every week and my answer remains the same every week.

Yes, it will be a conference by conference decision, but I will be stunned if college football, in particular the SEC, and the NFL, aren’t both playing this fall.

Aury writes:

“What are your thoughts on name, image and likeness, especially pertaining to mid-major schools? Do these athletes have a chance or will the Trevor Lawrence/Cole Anthony’s only have a shot? What about one-in-a-program talents in field hockey/smaller sports at the P5 level?”

I actually think name, image and likeness has a strong likelihood of making college sports more competitive.

Why so?

Think about it, right now the top college football and college basketball schools in the country sign a bevy of top talent every year, resulting in the same teams tending to dominate year after year. In college football in particular these top classes feature around 25 recruits a year.

That leaves us with an interesting question: is it better to be Alabama’s 20th best recruit or the best recruit at Missouri or Kentucky or, for instance, Southern Miss or Troy?

Every school has rich boosters and companies that support the team. I think it’s likely a top local recruit in a state or city might be more valuable to stay at home than go to a football or basketball factory.

Think about it, let’s pretend there’s a four star football recruit in Louisville, Kentucky. His final four choices come down to Alabama, Ohio State, Louisville and Kentucky.

Most players would pick Alabama or Ohio State, right?

But that four star player might be the 20th best player in the Alabama or Ohio State class. Whereas he’s likely to be the best player in the Louisville or Kentucky class.

So why wouldn’t his endorsement opportunity and value be higher if he stayed at home and played for Louisville or Kentucky as the top player in their class as opposed to an average player in Alabama’s?

As the best player in each school’s class in his home state he would theoretically be more valuable at the lesser school than he would be at the better program.

I can see examples like this existing all across college football. (And to a lesser extent, because the classes are smaller and the players are all better known, in college basketball too).

I think name, image and likeness offers the potential for talent to be spread out across more programs, instead of less programs.

And it doesn’t even have to be big five schools either.

I can see a local high school star being more valuable as the top recruit at Southern Miss, for instance, than he is as the middle tier recruit at Ole Miss.

So I don’t necessarily buy into the prevailing view that this is going to be a boon for the big schools at the expense of the smaller schools.

I also, by the way, don’t buy into the idea that very many players are going to have substantial name, image and likeness value. Most players are fairly anonymous when it comes to the general public.

I actually see these rights as being most valuable on college campuses when it comes to, say, a promotion at a local bar or night club. College athletes are pretty popular on college campuses and could pretty much ensure a particular bar or restaurant could have a big crowd on a given night. (You know how fraternities and sororities do this already, right? Their members frequently get paid to steer crowds to the right bar or club). I can also see this turning into a huge mess, however, for the schools, which will want to police name, image and likeness when it comes to brand associations. Players couldn’t, for instance, endorse strip clubs, beer or liquor, gambling, or pornography for instance.

And what happens if a college player is throwing a party and someone gets shot or fights break out? There could be liability involved there.

Which is why there needs to be a endorsement clearinghouse for each school.

Ultimately, however, I suspect most endorsements will be for local businesses, as opposed to national ones.

We’ve just given the Buddy Garrity’s of college sports a ton more power.

Bret writes:

“I believe there are essentially 3 camps out there with COVID. 1) the healthy and strong: those who are justifiably not afraid and want to get on with life as normal. 2) the weak/infirmed/old who are genuinely scared of this (rightly or not) and 3) the lazy. They pretend to be scared, but are much happier sitting on their ass everyday, not working but scraping by with government money.

Do you agree? What do you think the percentages are? I’m thinking 30%/25%/45%.

The problem is the 45% pretend to be a part of the 25% which then makes it a 30/70 split. For the 30% of us, it is as if we’re watching the sheep walk over a cliff (economic collapse) and we’re all saying “hey guys, don’t you see the damn cliff you’re about to walk off….stop!” and the sheep whine back about not being selfish.

Thanks for the rational coverage during all of this.”
I think you also have to factor in high information and low information individuals. I’m still stunned by the number of young and healthy people who think they will die of the coronavirus if they go outside their homes. There are tens of millions of these people, people who have bought into the fear porn and legitimately don’t understand they have nearly zero to fear here.

An absolutely massive part of this story as well is that many unemployed workers — over half of them in fact according to a front page Wall Street Journal article this week — make more money not to work than they do to work.

So why would it make sense for these workers, who stand to make much more money through July 31st to stay home and watch TV, to go back to work?

I don’t blame them for not wanting to work either. When you pay someone more to stay home than to work why would anyone want to work at all? Millions of workers are getting a multi-month vacation that pays them better than working for months would have done.

(This, of course, presumes the checks are arriving from the overloaded state unemployment offices and it also presumes there’s a job for them to return to when the coronavirus shutdown is over).

Many of these people are supportive of the shutdown because it’s in their rational self interest not to work; they actually make less money when the country opens back up and they have to go back to their jobs.

I think the number of people who want to open things back up right now is still the minority, but I think every day more and more of them come to that opinion and I think their numbers will continue to swell as we move into May and June.

By the end of June, if not before, I think there will be almost no one still in favor of a shutdown.

Joshua writes:

“As an attorney and a First Amendment supporter, what is your take on the fact that so much of the population has been willing to roll over on liberty, in the name of (mostly imagined) “safety”?”

It’s wild.

But it confirms what many of us already knew — power isn’t seized when times are good and people are more zealous of their rights, it’s seized in times of danger. And it isn’t even seized, the fearful public willingly gives it up.

This is why the Donald Trump dictator claims were always so ridiculous. Democrats have spent years trying to accuse Trump of being Adolf Hitler and then do you know what happened when an actual crisis arose? Democrats demanded that Trump take as much power as he possibly could.

After spending years saying he was a dictator, they immediately demanded that Trump become a dictator.

It’s truly insane.

I still can’t believe that so few businesses — and people — filed lawsuits to oppose being forced to shut down.

We’re going to spend years digging out the mess we’ve created in the past month and there was almost no one who stood up and said, “Man, I’m not sure this whole shutdown thing really makes any sense at all.”

I hope, desperately, that we’re going to see a V shaped recovery, a quick collapse and then quick restart, but we’ve entered into the biggest economic gamble in the nation’s history with almost no debate about the decisions that were made.

I’m still kind of in shock.

David writes:
“I am a long time listener that has been tuning in from the first day you started your takeover of the nation’s airwaves.

I wanted to take a moment during this hectic time in our world to thank you personally. As the head of my family, my fiancée and five year old daughter look to me everyday to be the backbone and support they need, especially during this time of unprecedented proportions. Admittedly, I have no real idea or clue as to what is going on with the whole coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, but I try my best to be educated on the subject. That being said, I wanted to let you know just how much it means to me, personally, to have you on the air each and every morning sending out your message of both education on the situation and, more importantly, the positivity you impart with it. I won’t bore you with all the details of my life, but the short version is that I’m unemployed due to my depression I suffer from, my fiancée is on disability due to her severe anxiety and other mental health disorders, and I have a five year old daughter with her mother not in the picture. As you can imagine, I have a lot on my shoulders everyday.

Yesterday, my fiancée came to me and asked me how I can remain so positive during this whole coronavirus situation while also remaining educated enough to talk to her when she comes to me with all the negativity of the news or answer questions my daughter has. I told her that I owe it all to you. I normally would slip into a depressive state due to all of this, but I am able to wake up every morning, be positive, help my daughter get off to preschool, and help both of my girls through each day as the backbone they need me to be all because of you and the positive and informed message you send out every single morning from your radio show.
Thank you so much for being the voice, the information, the positivity, and the backbone this backbone needs to get through everyday and through these unprecedented times. I can only hope this letter from a listener turned lifelong fan has captured all the gratitude I wish to and can impart.
Thank you, again. From my family to yours, all the best wishes.”
I’ve been working harder for the past several months than at any point in my life.
And I want all of you to know that I see all your emails and I’ve never gotten more positive feedback for anything that I’ve done in my entire life.
Things are going to get better.
And soon.
As always, thanks for reading Outkick and I hope you all have fabulous weekends.

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.