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All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s Friday and sports are back, rejoice.

Even if, you know, sports are now more political than they’ve ever been in your life.

Right off the top here, let me just say this: Sports are making a very bad decision to embrace politics as a part of their games. I believe the vast majority of American sports fans, especially in this year of all years, look to sports as an escape from the serious things in their lives. They just want to watch the game. They don’t want their sports analysts during games discussing political protests or the coronavirus or the presidential election. They want to kick back, have a beer, and just enjoy the games. Given how crazy 2020 has been, this is more true now than ever before.

Last night’s Major League Baseball telecasts featured at least 15 minutes of pre-game on-field political statements before the first pitch.

That’s not going to be good for baseball or football or basketball or any other sport out there trying to appeal to a broad audience.

What’s happened is yet again sports has fallen victim to believing that social media is real life. On social media a vocal minority of activists disguising themselves as sports fans clamor for teams and players to take political stands and then praise them when they do so. But that’s not a representative group of actual sports fans. (You can even make a persuasive argument that many of these accounts aren’t even real, they’re bot farms designed to create division in our country). Twitter is a carnival funhouse mirror that artificially distorts reality. Just 2% of the American public regularly Tweets and that group leans far more left wing than the general public as a whole.

Yet American companies are using Twitter as a arbiter for what the public actually believes and they’re making poor decisions as a result.

But you don’t have to believe me on this, you can just look at the actual data. There’s clear evidence from the Colin Kaepernick protest in the NFL that fans don’t want political statements to overshadow the games. Ratings dropped 19% over two years after Kaepernick’s protests began. That was the biggest NFL ratings drop in two generations. Then the protest story went away, the NFL got back to just playing games, and ratings came back.

People like football, it’s what they want to see. People don’t like politics mixed with football.

I feel like this is where we are as a country on so many levels — the data tells us clearly something is a bad idea and it’s happening anyway. For instance, anyone with a brain should know that defunding the police is going to lead to a massive increase in crime. The fewer police there are on the streets enforcing the law the higher the crime rate goes. I mean, come on, this is not complicated.

And guess what’s already happening in New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, pretty much every major American city that’s seeing a strong defund the police protest movement? They’re all seeing a massive surge in shootings and murders. (This is where the real exponential growth is, coronabros). And guess who the people being killed are in these cities? Mostly black people.

The idea that black lives matter and the police are on opposite sides of the political spectrum is just mind blowing to me. No one in the country protects more black lives than the police. Yes, a tiny minority of police behave in a criminal fashion, but we need to prosecute those police to the fullest extent of the law, not argue that all police are like those police.

In order for black lives to truly matter, the police have to matter too.

I blame the media and stupid people for spreading the narrative that police are the problem. What’s more, it’s just so transparently a lie. Think about the way the protests are covered. The media goes out of its way to argue that the rioters are a small part of the otherwise “peaceful protesters.” Yet the media simultaneously takes a tiny minority of misbehaving police officers and argues they are representative of the entire police force. The media’s arguing the exact opposite perspective during the same broadcast, painting with a broad brush with police and with a narrow one when it comes to protesters. They’re excusing bad protester behavior and artificially magnifying bad police behavior to make it look larger than it is.

Furthermore, and Jason Whitlock has written very smartly about this, black lives only seem to matter when white people are involved in taking their lives. That leaves roughly 98% of all black murders behind in this country. That is, white people are responsible for a tiny fraction of the murder rate involving black people in this country. Even if the black lives matter movement were successful in completely eradicating all white murders of black people, 98% of black murders would still be occurring. (93% of all black murders are committed by black people).

So is black lives matter about the victim or the perpetrator here?

Look, I wish the murder rate in this country would go down to zero. I’m not sure how to make that happen. But I am 100% convinced the way to make it happen isn’t by putting LESS POLICE ON THE STREETS.

Anyone who is arguing this is an imbecile. Already we’ve seen the data, look at June of 2020 compared to June of 2019. Shootings were up 166% in New York City, 76% in Chicago, 124% in Atlanta, and 33% in Los Angeles. (That’s according to MSNBC, of all places, by the way.)

Finally, some people inevitably say, “BUT YOU MIX SPORTS AND POLITICS!” as if this invalidates my argument. First, I’m not a sports league. If I were a league commissioner or I owned a team or I owned television rights to a league, I’d argue that the sport itself has to be the primary focus. Because my goal would be to appeal to every single person who likes sports, regardless of their politics.

But I’m not in the sports business, I’m in the opinion business. I give you my opinions on everything, that’s my job. I’m not just in the sports opinion business, I’m in the opinion business. Now sports is the hub of everything we do and everything we will always do at Outkick, but since the site was founded in 2011 we’ve written about a ton of things with nothing to do with sports: television, politics, humorous Internet stories, advice columns, all of it is founded on smart opinion.

I don’t tell people what to think, I tell them what I think.

That’s literally my business.

What I believe is happening is we’re witnessing the revolutionary charge of the woke brigade all over America, sports and otherwise. And if you follow military history at all, you know what happens when charges get too far out in front of their support, they ultimately get crushed by a counter attack.

Defunding the police is WAY out in front of the American public. There is no factual data to support it as being a smart idea.

I’m not sure if Donald Trump is disciplined enough to wage a smart counterattack, but the far left wing in this country is playing right into his hands. They’re way out in front of the public and susceptible right now to a devastating counter attack.

We’ll see if that happens.

In the meantime, on to your questions.

Mike writes:

“Do you think the pandemic fear ends after the election or will this push into 2021?”

Here’s what I’m most concerned about in terms of the 2020 election pushing into 2021: I think we’re headed for a potential repeat of 2000, when no one knows for sure who won the election. Except back in 2020 there was only one state, Florida, at the center of the election. Now we’ve got a dozen states that could have tremendous issues counting their mail-in or absentee ballots to determine a presidential election winner.

What’s more, if Trump ends up losing he’s still in office for all of November, December, and most of January. We could be in the middle of trying to roll out a vaccine for the nation then or we could still be in the middle of the coronavirus.

Either way I think we’re talking about a month or more of bitter election paralysis.

(One coronavirus story I haven’t seen anyone talk about that would be interesting. Is it possible Trump is angling for an October surprise and able to announce a vaccine in late October just before the election?)

The other thing I fear, by the way, is Ruth Bader Ginsburg dying between now and inauguration day. If you want to see pure chaos, that would be it. Because I think the Senate Republicans would move to replace her before the election and it would be a mess the likes of which we haven’t seen before in our lives.

Regardless of your politics, I think you should be praying for her health holding up until after the election.

In fact, if Joe Biden wins I’m rooting for the Republicans to hold onto the Senate because I’d like to have a counterweight to keep the country from behaving irrationally.

But do I think the coverage of the coronavirus will change markedly if Joe Biden wins the election? Yes, I do. I think the media will go much easier on him than they have on Trump.

Marty writes:

“After Dr. Fauci came out and said New York handled the virus well, does he lose all credibility?”

It’s inconceivable to me that he could argue the state with a worse death rate — other than New Jersey — in the entire world did a good job handling this virus.

I just don’t see how anyone could look at the data and believe that to be true at all.

And I don’t see facts as political. California, Texas, and Florida are all going to end up with more confirmed coronavirus cases than New York and all of them are going to have a fraction of the deaths as New York.

Heck, Sweden did nothing to combat the virus and has one-third of the deaths of New York.

Again, this is all public data, I’m incredibly frustrated by how few people in the media will look at it and just report the facts.

Hell, the reason my audience has exploded in growth over the past several months isn’t because I’ve been saying crazy things, it’s because I’m one of the only people in media who has been looking at the data and making reasonable arguments based on a factual basis.

Ryan writes:

“When are you going to interview President Trump?”

The White House called me back in April and said President Trump wanted to do the radio show. (I hadn’t even requested an interview because I figure the president gets so many requests for interviews he just picks and chooses whichever shows he’d like to do. Obviously I’m always going to let the president come on my show, regardless of the political party involved.)

So I would expect we’ll get him live on the radio at some point later this summer or fall.

That would obviously be a big deal for the radio show and I’m looking forward to it happening.

Chris writes:

“Since kids have the lowest chance of contracting the virus, lowest chance of transmission, etc. wouldn’t teaching be one of the professions with the LEAST risk? Say compared to a waiter who is inside around adults all day?”

YES!

There is not one confirmed case in the world of a teacher catching the coronavirus from a student and dying.

Not one!

The CDC just laid out all the facts on

The CDC just released a long article explaining why all kids need to be back in school this fall. Go read it: https://t.co/C7dxxqASDE

— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) July 24, 2020

” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>why schools should be reopening in a long post they put up on their website yesterday. I’d encourage all of you to go read it.

The easiest way to sum it is up is this, teachers are far more likely to catch the flu from children and kids are far more likely to die from the flu than they are the coronavirus.

Indeed, the yearly flu kills far more children every year than this virus.

While schools might occasionally shut down for the flu, it’s never for more than a couple of days. Yet we are headed towards two semesters of remote learning. And if you start off teaching remotely, what’s going to change that’s suddenly going to allow schools to open back up?

The simple truth is we panicked when it comes to this virus.

We thought it was far more deadly than it actually is and we thought it impacted people of all ages far more than it actually does.

What we need to do is protect the elderly and let everyone under 65 who is in reasonably good health get back to work.

Because ultimately what we’re really doing is shifting the risk, which is minimal, from teachers, who will be receiving their full pay not to work, to lower paid day care workers — at least for the parents who can afford to employ people to take care of their kids while they work.

Day care workers come into even closer contact with children than teachers do and, guess what, there’s been hardly any infections among day care workers who have been taking care of children since the pandemic shutdown all began.

The idea that kids shouldn’t be in schools is not supported by any factual data at all. It’s all based on fear porn and emotion.

Which is why pediatricians came out in support of schools reopening as well. In fact, the more highly educated you are when it comes to the medical field, the less likely you are to support schools closing. Doctors, by a huge majority, want their kids back in school.

It’s just insanely frustrating what the media has managed to do in this country.

Ben writes:

“Will we ever hold politicians and media figures accountable for their gross politicization of a largely non-lethal virus that resulted in thousands of families losing their livelihoods & an entire generation of students to miss crucial early education?”

Sadly, it’s probably worse than that. Not only are we not going to hold them accountable right now the politicians and media who are being rewarded by the media and the public who watches that media are the ones who are doing the most to spread falsehoods and fear porn and the least to spread facts.

In other words, the incentive structure is completely broken right now.

I think there’s a very strong argument this is the worst public policy decision in this country since Vietnam. And i don’t have any doubt at all it’s the worst public policy response in this country in my life.

And the reason it’s happened is because our major institutions in this country have given up facts for fear porn.

Tim writes:

“Who has a better arm? Fauci or 50 cent?”

Neither man looked like he’d ever thrown a baseball before.

But I’m going with Fauci here because at least he’s almost eighty years old. (Although 50 cent might be able to argue he’d been shot nine times before and that somehow impaired his throwing ability).

The bigger question is this, if you know you can’t throw a baseball, why would you accept an offer to throw out a first pitch?

I’ve thrown out first pitches twice. The first time was at Nashville’s Triple A stadium. I threw a solid pitch that was just on the outside of the plate. The other time was last year in Nashville at a Vanderbilt baseball game. I tried to put too much juice on that pitch and it went all the way to the backstop. (It wasn’t actually that high of a pitch, the catcher didn’t do me any favors there).

But as a first pitch veteran it’s far better to send a pitch that goes too far than it is to short arm the opening pitch like Fauci did.

Thanks for reading the Outkick Friday mailbag and supporting Outkick overall.

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is an author, radio show host, lawyer, TV analyst, and the founder and lead writer of Outkick (formerly known as Outkick the Coverage).
Read More about Clay >>

4 Comments

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  1. I thought the MLB guys did a fair job for ESPN. I will admit that is took some will power to watch ESPN. There is no getting away from politics mixed with sports. The NBA broadcasts will be unbearable. Going to pass.

  2. Biden is out there talking about if you don’t vote for him that you ain’t black. A couple days ago, he said that Trump was our country’s first elected racist president. Like, what the hell?

    These protesters / Marxists are in for a rude awakening. It’s easy to label the media as ultra left. Yet, look at how they treat Bernie during the ’16 and ’20 DNC. The media is, first and foremost, for the establishment. Biden is left-centrist at most. His history and comments make it clear that he won’t do anything to solve social injustice issues.

  3. I did not have a problem with the pre-anthem kneeling by players, even though ESPN made it a big point of emphasis. I did however have an issue with the telecasters going to Gabe Kapler in the middle of the dodger/giant game to basically promote BLM and refer to systemic racism openly as a matter of fact. At that point I had to turn off the television because it had completely disengaged me from the baseball game to focus on listening to ridiculous, uninformed, regurgitated SJW stances being chanted as some sort of cultish mantra to be repeated by its followers. I can overlook a lot as long as you leave the anthem alone, but when you interrupt the game to push an agenda that is offensive I just can’t take it anymore. I have a feeling I’m not alone by a long shot.

  4. Hear, hear! I could not agree more and frankly, I’m just stunned at the lack of logical thinking amongst the major sports leagues. I thought the first round of the Colin kneeling episodes would wake them up to not messing with the cash cow, but apparently not. One has to assume, that they feel those younger than gen X (sadly, a good part of my gen X too) will forever be seduced by our superficial pop culture, never believe in something greater than humankind, and will gladly forego truth for vanity. I know it’s a struggle in my own family, sadly. God bless what you guys have going here, I’m glad I found it.

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