All That and a Bag of Mail

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It’s Friday, rejoice!

I will be appearing on Adam Carolla’s podcast tonight at 7 at Zanies in Nashville.

It should be fun so hope to see some of you there.

The Outkick podcast also continues to surge in popularity so I’d encourage you to all go subscribe to that today. And if you write a five star review we’re reading the best ones on the radio. If your review gets read, you will get an autographed copy of my book. So go subscribe today.

Lots of good questions to dive into this morning, so here we go:

Tim writes:

“Do you think the NFL (& possibly other leagues) will have the foresight to work with their players to allow for a protesting mechanism that won’t alienate fans & potentially hurt the overall business (i.e. something outside the anthem)? Or are we in for a repeat of 3-4 years ago?”

I think we’re in for a repeat of 2016 and 2017 when NFL ratings tanked by 19% amid the Colin Kaepernick kneeling controversy.

I floated my idea for compromise that could make sense this year — eliminate all extraneous personnel from the field to help protect the players from coronavirus infections. That would include cheerleaders, photographers, camera men, anthem singers, half time performers, you name it, if you aren’t directly involved in playing, coaching or officiating the game then you aren’t on the field for the game.

I think that might work as a decent compromise for a year.

That way you could keep the players in the locker room, play the anthem on a jumbotron and then have them come out after all the pre-game festivities have taken place.

The only other possibility I could see is a BLM symbol on the jerseys, like when someone dies affiliated with the team. Maybe that would forestall the anthem kneeling. I also have no issue with Colin Kaepernick being signed either because I think that dilutes his brand immensely. Once Kaepernick is standing on the sideline holding a clipboard he isn’t a martyr any longer.

But I think players want the attention now so I don’t think there’s really anything you can do to keep kneeling from taking over.

And I think the media, especially in an election year, will give them that attention because the media hates Trump and will see it as a rebuke of him.

So I think unfortunately we are headed for a repeat of 2016.

The most interesting part of this to me is whether it helps trump in the Big Ten states where the election will be decided. I think you can make a decent argument that Kaepernick’s kneeling swung the election for Trump in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Trump won these states by the combined size of one Big Ten football stadium. Is it crazy to think Kaepernick’s kneeling and Trump’s response to it could have helped to swing tens of thousands of votes in that region? I don’t think so.

Bob writes:

“Did the NFL make a mistake going full SJW from a pure profits standpoint as the country comes out a pandemic? With their bottom line already in jeopardy this up coming year was it wise to rattle their base at this current time?”

I think the NFL is in a tough spot, primarily because they are presently negotiating new television contracts. They need to do whatever they can to limit controversy off the field in order to drive up the price for their product. Which is why I think Goodell made the statement he did on Friday.

It looked like Roger Goodell and the NFL might be able to emerge from the coronavirus mostly unscathed — free agency and the NFL Draft came off without a hitch to massive praise — but then Drew Brees stepped into the anthem controversy and everything blew up on them.

This week has been somewhat quiet on that front and I think Goodell’s comments on Friday went a long way towards putting out the fire for now. And we’ve still got roughly two months until NFL preseason action starts back up so who knows what might happen in the country between now and then. (We also don’t know if the NFL will play the preseason so when the kneeling might become an issue is unclear as well.)

A buddy of mine argued Goodell endorsing kneeling would kill the entire protest movement because it would be the equivalent of your parents and grandparents getting on Facebook. As soon as old people endorse anything younger people move on to something new.

I mean, is there anyone less cool in sports than Roger Goodell?

So if Roger Goodell starts kneeling and throwing up the black power fist everywhere he goes — for which, by the way, he would be accused of cultural appropriation — would protesters have to move on to something new because he killed the cool, rebellious vibe of protesting?

After all, is there anyone who represents “the man” more than a commissioner?

Remember, using my Facebook analogy, as soon as your parents got on Facebook then Instagram and Snapchat became cool. Now there’s Tik Tok. All of it is basically a race for young people to abandon places that old people congregate.

So protesting may lose its coolness factor once it becomes embraced by corporate America.

Furthermore, if everyone kneels, isn’t the guy who stands the brave one then?

Another analogy I’d make is to the peace sign. The peace sign was a major statement back during the Vietnam War. It really meant something. But now it’s just something people throw into pictures. No one really reacts to it at all.

When a protest is endorsed by the mainstream then it loses its power in many ways.

I mean, what happened to the hippies?

By the 1970’s they were pretty much enmeshed in overall society.

This is an important detail that I feel like most people miss — no one is in favor of innocent people dying at the hands of the police.

No one.

What many people oppose is protesting during the anthem. It wouldn’t matter what was being protested, many people aren’t going to support it.

For instance, what if I took a knee during the anthem to protest cancer? No one is pro-cancer. But lots of people would probably ask why I was protesting cancer during the national anthem. And they’d have a point. I could argue I’m protesting to draw awareness to cancer still existing, but we all know cancer still exists. Eventually, as with Kaepernick, the protest would turn into a debate over whether protesting cancer during the anthem made sense.

And I think that’s kind of where we are here, on the protest merry go round.


“With all the wokeness, will you find it hard to watch sports when they come back?”

I will still watch, but it will make me enjoy sports less.

I like movies, but I enjoy the Oscars less when actors or actresses get up and lecture me about their political beliefs.

Look, regardless of the actor or the athlete I think I am better informed on political issues than 99% of actors or athletes. (And that’s probably being generous). I’m not going to learn anything from them about politics that I don’t already know and they aren’t going to make an argument I hadn’t considered. If I want to know more about politics, I’ll consider the opinions of people who are well versed in politics. That’s why I read the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal every day, to get both sides of an issue covered.

I don’t even watch very much politics on TV because most political discussion on TV isn’t particularly smart and it’s so wildly slanted you don’t gain much perspective.

Maybe I’m unique in this, but I don’t particularly care about anyone’s religion or politics. I have lots of friends with wildly divergent religious and political opinions. I don’t find that religion or politics impacts very much whether I like hanging out with them or not.

And personally I can’t think of anything worse than getting to hang out with friends and debating religion or politics all night.

When I watch sports I want to know if my team is going to win or if the team I bet on is going to win or cover. That’s why I watch, for entertainment.

That’s why almost everyone watches sports.

If you watch sports to see your politics reflected back at you, there are plenty of TV networks doing that every day as their business.

Go there.

Jesse writes:

“Why is the NBA media so afraid to call out the players, coaches and league executives on China?”

One of the biggest fallacies that exists in sports media is that sports media holds coaches and players accountable. For the most part what the sports media does is use coaches and players as megaphones to advertise their own political opinions, cheerleading for those they agree with and denigrating those they disagree with, all while pretending to be non-partisan.

It’s transparently false.

That’s how Drew Brees gets crushed for his opinions and LeBron gets praised for his. Because the sports media (generally) agrees with LeBron and (generally) disagrees with Drew Brees.

LeBron’s comments on China were absolutely insane. He endorsed a Communist government, rejected democratic protests, suggested anyone supporting democratic protests was uneducated and misinformed, and attacked first amendment rights.

And yet most in the media continue to praise LeBron as an important voice for social justice issues.

It’s totally bonkers.

The simple truth here is much of sports media relies on access to players and coaches. If you are too critical of players and coaches, they won’t talk to you, meaning your access is cut off. That makes access the equivalent of golden handcuffs, even if you disagree you can’t say what you really think for fear of losing that access.

You’ll notice that I rarely even bother having players or coaches on Outkick. Why is that? Because most of them aren’t going to say anything interesting and because ratings don’t reflect people really care much about players or coaches on radio. Now if it’s an incredible superstar, that’s different, but most superstars don’t do much media.

My show thrives despite having almost no coaches or players on the show at all.

Hell, some days we don’t have a single guest on at all.

That’s because radio is about the host. You come to hear me. The show rises or falls with the host, not with the guests.

But most in sports media aren’t like this, they only matter if they are the megaphone for someone else’s opinions. So they kneel at the altar of athlete opinions and praise them.

Kyle writes:

“Do you think we will have full capacity football stadiums in CFB and NFL by Week 1?”

Making predictions for nearly three months from now is really tough.

Three months ago the NBA was just shutting down and lots of people were arguing sports wouldn’t come back for all of 2020.

Now it’s pretty clear every sport will come back and the debate has moved on to how many people will be watching in person.

Here’s the coronavirus situation right now: there doesn’t appear to have been any significant spike in new cases as a result of all the protests around the country. (It’s possible new cases haven’t dropped as quickly as they otherwise would have without these protests, but we’ve been hearing for a long time that if we gathered in large numbers it would be cataclysmic. Yet nothing has happened (so far) in terms of large increases in cases.)

To me that’s a very good sign for full stadiums — or close to full stadiums — this fall.

After all the virus would pretty much have the same impact in a stadium or a protest, it’s not like the virus cares why people are in close proximity with each other.

I think it should be pretty straightforward issue of personal choice, if you want to go to games, you can go to games. And if you don’t want to go to games, you don’t have to go to games.

I personally would take my family to a game this weekend if football was back.

And I think most of you reading this right now would make the same decision in your own lives.

Joey writes:

“How does the far left justify re-writing history/judging past leaders through today’s optics? It seems like a slippery slope to go down.”

We are right back in the exact same place we were in 2016, when suddenly everything was racist. I wrote this in the summer of 2016 when Vanderbilt made the absurd decision to spend millions of dollars to SANDBLAST THE WORD CONFEDERATE OFF A BUILDING THAT WAS OVER 120 YEARS OLD.

I’d encourage you to go read that article now.

The drive to tear down statues and rename places presumes that we are flawless today. Yet history teaches us that there are many things we all do today that our descendants will consider barbaric. It’s possible in 2220 that eating animals will be considered murder. Are they going to tear down all the statues of animal eaters in 2220? Maybe.

The larger issue, however, is cancel culture doesn’t end. It’s lunacy to engage with these people because there’s always something more that needs to be torn down. There are people today who would argue we should tear down the George Washington and Thomas Jefferson memorials in Washington, D.C. because they owned slaves. Hell, there are people who would argue we need to rename Washington, D.C. because Washington owned slaves.

Rather than consider them within the context of the world they lived in, we consider them in our world context.

That’s lunacy.

I don’t want to be judged on what I believed in 2020 based on what the world believes in in 2220. All of us, for better or worse, are a product of the times in which we live.

This is not what educated people do. This is what zealots do. This is what Muslim theocracies do, they tear down graven images that offend them. The woke brigade in America has more in common with dictators and theocrats than they do liberal democracies.

The pyramids were built with slave labor, should they be torn down?

This is all insanity.

What’s more, slavery existed in the United States of America for eighty years, from 1783 to 1863. Prior to that any issues with slavery should be Britain’s fault because we were England’s colonies and didn’t have control of our democracy. (That’s why the reparations argument, if it were really being honest, should require England to pay the majority of slave reparations in this land, because England ruled America for most of slavery’s existence). America has been an independent nation for 237 years. So for 157 of those years we haven’t allowed slavery, for eighty we did.

I wish slavery had never existed, but defining America’s entire history based on slavery is a fundamentally flawed reading of historiography.

Jake writes:

“Will MLB work out a deal or should I give up?”

MLB will be back — the commissioner 100% said they will play this week — but it has taken far too long to get a deal worked out.

They should have gone to spring training in Florida and Arizona on May 15th when both states opened back up. If they’d done that, they’d be playing right now.

They had an opportunity to grow baseball’s audience and brand at a time when Americans are desperate for the return of sports.

And they failed.

I still hope they take our Outkick idea — initially sent to me from a listener — and at least have a homerun derby on July 4th. But I have serious doubts about baseball’s ability to get anything worked out right now.

Bobby writes:

“If Minneapolis has a Democrat mayor for the last 59 years, a Democrat city council, a black democrat police chief, the state has a Democrat governor and attorney general….then the “systematic racism” that is being protested…the fault of democrats? How do they escape blame?”

Well, first, things have gotten much better in this country since the Civil Rights movement.

I know it’s popular to hate America, but if you sent your average woke kid back to 1965 and told them to live there for a month, they wouldn’t come back arguing things are the exact same in America now as they were then. They’d recognize that things aren’t just better, they are orders of magnitude better.

So this criticism relies on something that I think is fundamentally untrue — that things aren’t better now than they were back then.

But the larger critique is valid, if you’ve been in power for generations and systematic racism still exists — news flash, I don’t believe it does. Racism exists, but the systemic racism that the woke police want to argue exists does not. — why is it the fault of the people who haven’t been in power?

If you want change, vote for change.

But if you’ve been voting for change and you don’t think anything has changed at all, why do you keep voting the same way you always have? Maybe the people and the ideas you’re supporting are broken and not likely to remedy the issues you see.

Ultimately I believe that a democratic and capitalistic government offers the best opportunity for the largest majority of the people in the history of the world.

And I believe America is the greatest force for change that has ever existed in the history of the world.

Others disagree.

But history is on my side.

Thanks for reading Outkick.

I hope all of you have fantastic weekends.

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.