It’s Friday and the Outkick mailbag is here to make you smarter as you head into the weekend.
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Okay, here we go with the Friday mailbag:
Why is sports media pushing so hard for football not to be played this year? Especially after a guest on the Finebaum Show said media job loss would be devastating.
MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, MLS, PGA, WNBA, UFC, NWSL, PBA, boxing, NASCAR, the Kentucky Derby, the Indy 500 and lacrosse will all either have their seasons underway by August 1st or be playing this fall.
The only sport at this point that the coronabros have left to attack is college football.
Their arguments for why college football can’t be played effectively boil down to three things: 1. it’s not safe 2. college football players aren’t professionals and 3. what about everybody else on campus who is older and at higher risk of coronavirus infection?
But all three of these arguments ultimately fail. I’ll explain why in order.
First, there’s no argument I’ve seen that being off campus is safer for college athletes. That is, if you are going to argue there’s danger to college athletes from the coronavirus, the danger is arguably lessened by being on campus, not increased. Why is it lessened? Because college athletes have access to constant medical care and testing on campus. They wouldn’t have that off campus, which is why so many players arrive and find out they had the virus and never knew.
The coronabros all say, “BUT WHAT IF A PLAYER DIES?!” The truth is that’s much more likely off campus than it is on campus. Because, again, off campus players don’t have access to health care or regular testing. The rate of infection we’re seeing for players arriving on campus compared to when players are on campus clearly demonstrates that being off campus is more dangerous for your average player than being on campus is.
Second, college football players aren’t professionals, the coronabros scream!
That’s true, but they also aren’t being forced to play. If a player — or his family — decides the risk from the coronavirus is too high then all colleges have already announced that player keeps his scholarship without having to play this season. Furthermore, the player would be entitled to a redshirt season. So if a player doesn’t want to play he doesn’t have to play.
The truth is the vast, vast majority of players want to play, but for those who don’t want to play, that option is there without any penalty at all.
Third, but what if a player comes in contact with an older person and infects them?
Well, that’s actually less likely on a campus than it would be off campus. Off campus many players live with older relatives. Living in close quarters with an older person is the primary method by which the virus is spread. So players are actually more likely off campus to infect an older person than they are on campus.
Also, older coaches or college employees should be given, and are being given, the option not to work if there is a belief they are at high risk of infection. That is, no one has to work this season.
Rather than cancel the season, shouldn’t we allow adults of all ages to make adult decisions based on all the relevant data about risk that’s available to them?
Finally, the older people college kids would come into contact with on campus are in pretty solid health. That is, Nick Saban is 68 years old. But he’s working eighty or a hundred hour weeks during the fall. That means Nick Saban’s probably got more in common health wise with a fifty year old than he does with a seventy year old. (And I’d bet Saban is healthier than many college kids when it comes to heart rate and his fitness level). If you’re able to put in the crazy hours of work that college coaches are putting in then the chances of anyone being in poor health are pretty low.
When you add all this up, I’ve yet to see a persuasive argument for why having college football players on campus — and playing games — is more dangerous than simply having them stay at home for the entire fall.
Finally, there’s no guarantee things will be better in the spring or next fall. I hope we have a fully effective and well-distributed virus that takes our national death rate from the coronavirus to near zero, but what’s the likelihood of that occurring?
I think much of this comes down, frankly, to politics. Getting college football canceled is the last possible success story for the coronabros who have wanted all sports stopped for the rest of the year.
There’s just no logical or health basis for college football not to be playing.
Finally, check out the data on death rates by week of the outbreak here. Every single week the death rate is plummeting and at this point if you are under 65 years old there is nearly a zero death risk from the coronavirus.
This is a great chart. If you’re under 65 years old your chances of dying of covid are nearly zero. https://t.co/Ruw5LWdNDD
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) July 17, 2020
We need all kids back in schools from kindergarten through college and we need all sports playing as well.
“Love the show. As a college professor, I can tell you that I and many of my colleagues WANT to be teaching in person to students this fall. But the decisions are made above our heads and predominantly with concerns for mitigating any legal action. It is clear that very little of their decision-making is based upon science. So don’t throw all of us under the bus.”
This is why I think there needs to be national legislation not allowing people to sue over getting sick from the coronavirus at work, school or in public venues.
Life comes with risk.
Proving exactly how and where you contracted a virus is nearly impossible and setting the precedent that lawsuits like these are permissible is a bad one.
We all regularly get colds or the flu. Viruses are a hazard of life in an open society. The same thing is true of the coronavirus. The only way to ensure you never get sick is to isolate yourself and never leave your house. (To be the safest of all you’d need to live by yourself and never have face-to-face contact with anyone for the rest of your life.)
That style of life is certainly your right to choose, but it’s a sign of mental illness, safetyism run wild. A life with zero risk, in my opinion, is a life that isn’t worth living. And, frankly, isolating yourself from all other humans isn’t natural, you’re likely to end up with drastically increased risks of mental illness.
And it certainly isn’t one that we should be encouraging.
In fact, one of the stories that is going untold is the massive rise in drug overdoses since the lockdown began. Nashville, where I live, has seen drug overdose deaths double covid deaths and drug overdose deaths are skyrocketing this year.
In my opinion we have made the cure far worse than the disease.
Nashville has seen twice as many drug overdose deaths as covid deaths. Rate of drug overdose deaths has soared since lockdown began, likely to set an all time high this year. https://t.co/FxzIJZPLeD
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) July 17, 2020
“What are we doing in 2020 that’ll cause our statues to be torn down in 2175?”
It’s a fascinating question that people ask from time to time.
I’d bet it’s eating meat.
The idea that we mass produced animals to slaughter may well seem tantamount to slavery to future generations, who will probably see animals as deserving of more rights than being made for slaughter. Already we make distinctions between how we treat animals. If someone treated a dog or cat like we treat cattle or chickens, for instance, they would go to jail.
I can see that viewpoint spreading substantially in future decades. So that all animal life is ultimately considered equal, regardless of the type of animal.
That means I can see future generations discussing “meat eaters” like current generations discuss “slave owners.”
Of course, we don’t know for sure.
But history teaches you to be humble. Because no matter how advanced you think your culture is, history teaches us that future generations will judge us by their future standards too, not by our modern day standards.
That’s why I keep arguing that judging historical figures by modern day standards is a ridiculous fallacy. We shouldn’t be doing it at all.
I’ve argued we should be slower to put up statues to anyone. If you had to wait a hundred years after someone died to put up a statue of a historic figure that would probably be a good standard length of time to consider their life more in context. (Even not allowing a statue of a living person to be made is a good idea). But once the statues go up, I think we should rarely, if ever, take them down.
“What do you make of the idea to cut out local school taxes in areas that don’t open their public schools?”
For those who don’t know the vast majority of your property taxes go to schools.
So there’s an argument that if public schools aren’t opening for in-person instruction, why shouldn’t taxpayers get refunds?
I can’t speak to what every teacher will be doing if their schools don’t open for in-person instruction, but in Nashville teachers will do two hours of live instruction per day. That’s it. I don’t think there’s anyone out there who would argue that two hours of video instruction is anywhere near the same value as seven or eight hours of in-person instruction.
In theory, when we you work less and provide less value for the people who pay you, you should make less money.
That’s why I wish we could bring market-based economics to bear on taxpayer funded institutions like this.
Usually teachers have to be physically present for at least eight hours at their job site. Now they can do two hours of instruction from their homes. So what do you think the reaction would be if teachers only got 25% of their salaries for 25% of their work?
There would be outrage from teachers unions, but if taxpayers and politicians followed through with demanding a market-based response, I bet many teachers would demand that schools reopen. That’s because teachers would change their behavior based on market-based incentives.
If you don’t want to peg pay to hours worked then peg it to quality of impact. We know that online instruction is about half, at best, as effective as in person instruction. A market based solution would be if your work is worth half what it used to be worth then you’d be paid half of your salary.
That would be interesting to do here as well.
I suspect the response would eventually be the same, if you told teachers they’d be paid half their salaries most would be in favor of opening back up schools.
The point, and I think it’s a good one, is many governmental employees are insulated from any significant financial impact from the coronavirus, unlike the vast majority of private sector employees.
I took pay cuts on my radio and television contracts during the coronavirus mess. I did that in an effort to try and help my companies have to lay off fewer employees.
For those of us working in the private sector, if our companies make less money or our work product is less efficient, we all make less money. That’s why many people in the private sector favor opening back up the economies and letting people get back to work.
Because we see the impact of shutting down more than public sector employees do.
Indeed, I haven’t heard of any teachers — or other government funded workers — being fired or taking significant pay cuts at their jobs.
This is why governmental employment isn’t ideal because it’s not actually a market based economy. The incentives are all wrong.
Taxpayers, meaning you and me, continue to pay full taxes even while we’re not getting the full services for which our taxes are paid.
That’s a broken system.
So I can see why many taxpayers are advocating for a refund of their property taxes if schools aren’t open.
Thanks for reading and supporting Outkick.