All That and a Bag of Mail

Tomorrow SEC football returns.

And it’s Friday too, which means all of you should be in joyous moods.

Let’s roll with the Friday mailbag!

Jason writes:

“Do you think the return of college football will have any influence on the election?”

So far as I know there has been only one poll done on the return of Big Ten football. That was done this week by Morning Consults and showed the following result:

What’s striking about this data is that it shows virtually identical positive results for President Trump from both Democrats and Republicans, which almost doesn’t exist anywhere else.

50% of Democrats believe Trump played a role in the return of Big Ten football and just 29% don’t believe that. 50% of Republicans believe Trump played a role in the return of Big Ten football and just 31% don’t believe that. So, remarkably, according to this poll, Democrats are actually giving Trump a tiny bit more credit than Republicans are for the return of Big Ten football.

Big Ten fans are even more likely to give Trump credit: 53% of Big Ten fans give Trump credit vs. 33% who give him no credit.

The point here is that Trump’s roughly +20 on this issue across the board. And, significantly, not giving credit doesn’t mean taking away credit. That is, unlike say, abortion, where if you’re on one side the other side is going to disagree with you, arguably this is almost entirely a situation where Trump only receives credit.

So while he’s +20 on this issue based on the poll, he’s probably more like +50 since the people not giving him credit aren’t taking away anything from him. That is, there’s a relatively small number of people, one suspects, who are actually mad the Big Ten is playing and none of those people were going to vote for Trump anyway.

So this is a hugely positive result for Trump in these polarizing times.

Now the difficult question is this: how do you translate this information into quantifying votes, especially changed or new votes that Trump wouldn’t have already received? I think that’s difficult to do. But given the president won Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin by a grand total of 77,000 votes — which is the equivalent of one Big Ten football stadium — I think it’s likely that Trump gained tens of thousands of voters over the Big Ten coming back and, potentially, it could be several hundred thousand voters.

The return of football is, for many people, an important sign of normalcy.

And normalcy favors the incumbent.

I think there’s a strong argument that of everything Trump has done in late August and early September in the Big Ten states that the return of football will be the most impactful thing in the minds of many voters.

What will the final outcome be?

We probably won’t know until mid-December.

David writes:

“What percentage of protesters/activists are aware that Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend fired first and hit a police officer?”

I think it’s less than half, for sure. Probably way less than half.

One of the challenges of social media is it produces so much disinformation it’s hard for people to know what the true facts of a case are.

Even last night driving home from picking up our kids at sporting events, I was discussing this case with my wife and she didn’t know that Breanna Taylor’s boyfriend had fired at police first and hit an officer before they returned fire at him and killed her.

My wife is super smart, but she’s just, like many of you, busy with kids and life. She doesn’t have time to follow all the facts of every viral controversy out there. So she was aware of the story in a vague way.

When I told her the boyfriend had fired first and hit a police officer, she was pretty stunned that wasn’t the primary lead of every story.

I’ll admit, until a couple of months ago I hadn’t paid any attention to this case at all. And then one of my lawyer buddies in Louisville called and walked me through all the details. I was stunned by the details of the case and I’m absolutely flabbergasted that the media is doing such a poor job discussing this case.

I mean, what did people expect to happen when Taylor’s boyfriend shot a cop? Of course the cops were going to return fire. The most remarkable thing about this, honestly, is that the boyfriend survived.

Props to Charles Barkley for actually saying this last night on Inside the NBA.

Charles Barkley is the only sports figure anywhere I’ve seen actually willing to make this statement on live television.

We can debate whether sports shows should be discussing this case at all — my vote is no — but if you are going to discuss it then you have a tremendous obligation to get the facts right.

That’s why I thought Wednesday was the single most disgraceful day in the history of ESPN’s existence. They spent their entire evening propagandizing and misinforming their audience about what actually went on in this case. A grand jury, which is made up of Louisville area residents, heard all the evidence and declined to indict any of the police officers.

That’s despite the fact that the grand jury’s standard for indictment is much lower than the standard for a conviction.

If a grand jury won’t even give you an indictment, there’s virtually zero chance any jury would vote to convict these officers. That means the grand jury decided what most people on a regular jury would decide: you’re not going to get any convictions against police when they are lawfully executing a search warrant involving drug allegations and the boyfriend shoots one of them. Then they return fire and hit the shooter’s girlfriend?

The police were entirely within their rights here.

Let’s be clear: it’s unfortunate any time someone young dies in violent circumstances in this country. And it’s certainly a tragedy for that person’s family. But if you’re dating a known drug dealer, police have a legal warrant for your apartment, and when they show up you shoot one of them, what do you expect them to do next?

Of course they’re going to fire back.

The fact that Taylor is some sort of martyr here is mind-boggling to me.

Which is why the amount of disinformation ESPN spent the day spreading is insane. I really think way less than half of people protesting and rioting know any of the facts of this case at all. Even worse, I think way less than half of ESPN talent, the people speaking out the loudest on television, know the facts of this case as well.

The same is true of athletes.

LeBron James is trending this morning for demanding justice in this case. Well, what does justice look like? Has LeBron ever been involved in the criminal justice system? Does he understand that a grand jury heard all the evidence and didn’t elect to bring murder charges? That is, that a jury of Taylor’s peers in the city of Louisville heard hours and hours of testimony and did not believe murder charges were warranted in this case? Is he aware that a grand jury is made up of Louisville residents and that it was their decision not to vote for charges? Is he aware that if the police officers are charged with murder and then acquitted within hours that it would spark racial unrest as well because people like him are spreading misinformation?

Athletes and entertainers shouldn’t be able to just spout off soundbites, they should be probed on what they actually know about cases and should have to reveal a depth of knowledge to be trusted on an issue like this.

ESPN spent all day on the Taylor case and didn’t have, that I saw, one lawyer or legal expert explaining the facts of the case and discussing it in an intelligent fashion. What ESPN is doing is treating celebrity opinions as if they are informed opinions and they are not, most often, very informed opinions at all.

Their network is spreading far left wing propaganda and disinformation and in the process they are making life more dangerous for both police and the citizens they interact with.

It’s shameful and disgraceful.

If you’re an executive at ESPN right now, I don’t know how you put your head down on the pillow and sleep after the night of television they produced.

It was pathetic.

Dylan writes:

“With the Pac-12 and Mountain West returning in October and November, will each conference lose any credibility?”

All the conferences that shut down in August have lost tremendous credibility.

They made unintelligent decisions not supported by factual data and now they are returning in pretty much the same circumstances under which they shut down.

So, yes, I think they should lose credibility.

But rather than worry about that, I’m just happy we won the battle to play college football this fall.

And I love that the coronabros in the media have just been dunked on repetitively for the past six weeks. They did their best to carry the water of those wanting to shut down the season and they managed to lose this game despite having a 35-3 lead.

JRod writes:

“NCAA question- now that all are playing I see a mess when it comes to the playoffs with some teams at 10 games, 6 games etc. Do you foresee issues with the selection committee, fairness, etc. IE. a 7-0 PAC 12 team vs a 10-1 SEC team type of thing.”

If the season goes well enough that we’re arguing about the merits of which four teams deserve to be in the playoff come December, I will consider it such a tremendous success that I’ll just sit back and enjoy the debate.

Yes, there will be unique challenges for the college football playoff committee this fall, but I think the most likely outcome will be SEC champ, Clemson, who I predict will be the ACC champ, then the Big 12 champ and Big Ten champ vs a second SEC team for the final two spots in the playoff.

What would the committee do, if for instance, we had a 10-1 SEC team that only lost in the title game and there was a 7-0 Big Ten champ? I don’t know. It will be a great debate.

And I hope we get to have that debate.

Because it will mean the season went pretty damn well.

Bear writes:

“If Mark Jones was a white employee with the same political opinions publicized do you think ESPN would handle it differently? How much of their unwillingness to check him is due to his race as opposed to his politics?”

Just put it this way, if Mark Jones were white and had called Barack Obama a terrorist, if he’d liked information about a prominent black athlete who had suffered a knee injury no longer being able to kneel for the anthem, and if he’d said he didn’t want to call a game in an inner city neighborhood because he was worried he might get killed because he was white, would that person still be employed at ESPN?

Of course not.

Any one of these statements would have been enough to get him fired immediately.

Mark Jones has black privilege to say racist and absurd things on social media and keep his job.

Primarily because Jones’s ESPN bosses are worried they’ll be called racist if they fire him for what he said. That’s why Jones still has a job, because racism is working in his favor here. He can say racist things and get away with it because he’s black.

Remember, ESPN fired Curt Schilling for saying on his Facebook page that people should use the bathrooms on their birth certificates.

And they’re letting Mark Jones call an Army game this weekend despite saying he’d no longer accept a police escort because he’s afraid the police officer might shoot him, liking Tweets about Nick Bosa deserving to tear his ACL because he supports Trump, and sayiig the president of the United States is a white supremacist terrorist.

It’s complete insanity.

Chris writes:

“What happened to ESPN firing John Skipper & moving away from woke political statements on its shows/games? it seems to be more woke than during the Skipper days.”

Sean writes:

“Since ESPN changed leadership they had done pretty well for awhile about keeping politics off of their network. Why do you think they have reverted back to their old ways and their employees appear to have free reign to discuss anything? Sage Steele appears to be the only exception.”

This ties in with my answer above.

ESPN has a ton of white male executives and those white male executives are so terrified of being fired or accused of being racist that they can no longer run the business effectively.

I think the same thing is true with Adam Silver and Roger Goodell, by the way.

Old white guys are terrified of losing their jobs so they won’t say anything to their minority employees who are destroying their businesses. They’re making the decision that’s best for preserving their own jobs, even if it’s worse for the overall business.

I mean think about this for a minute — the NBA has lost 40% of its audience this year. That’s a disaster for any business. The NBA is posting the lowest viewership in forty years for its product. How many businesses out there, regardless of the product, wouldn’t have an all hands on deck meeting if suddenly 40% of their business vanished in a year?

Yet that’s what is going on with the NBA and they are continuing down the woke disaster path instead of adjusting their course.

Surely Adam Silver and the NBA owners aren’t idiots, they can see the numbers just as well as I can. So why don’t they correct course? Because they are terrified if they bring up these concerns they will lose their jobs and/or be branded racist.

Think about it, if an NBA owner came out and said, “I don’t think it’s good for our business to kneel for the national anthem, put social justice warrior slogans on our uniforms, and write Black Lives Matter on the court,” he’d probably be forced to sell his team.

That’s where we are right now, the far left wing in this country won’t even allow public dissent to be spoken. They are enforcing speech codes and insisting on artificial platitudes even if it destroys the business.

The NBA honestly needs a black commissioner who is in charge of the league and can cut through the racism BS and just say, “Look, y’all are destroying this business with your wokeness. The end result is going to be all of us are going to end up with a ton less money. We’re entertainers, not politicians. If you want to be a politician one day, good for you. I may even write you a check to support your campaign. But no one goes to the movies because they care what Iron Man has to say about his beliefs on criminal justice reform. They don’t start a movie with a three minute clip from an actor talking about his view of the world. They go to see Iron Man kick ass and take names. The same is true of you and our business. We are entertainers. The more people we entertain, the more money we make. The less people we entertain, the less money we make. And right now we are entertaining fewer people than we have in two generations. That means we’re doing something wrong.”

I say the NBA needs a black commissioner because if a white guy says the exact same thing he’ll immediately get branded as a racist.

It’s crazy, but that’s where we are.

The great thing about business is the market is the ultimate judge. It lets you know what is and is not true. And the market isn’t just telling the NBA that their embrace of woke politics is a disaster, the market is screaming this.

And the NBA leaders and players just refuse to recognize it.

I think by next year that might change.

Because players and owners share revenue and suddenly players are going to look down at their paycheck and be like, hold up, I was supposed to make 25% more than this. What happened?

And the answer will be you, you guys got woke and the public didn’t like it.

Right now LeBron is destroying the legacy left to him by Magic and Larry and Michael. It’s incredible to see. The league spent forty years building up what LeBron is tearing down in a couple of years.

Brandon writes:

“What are you more excited for. Football this weekend, or the debate on Tuesday (if it happens)?”

I’m more excited for the return of SEC football because I worked so hard to make it happen.

But the debate will be far more impactful.

I can’t wait to watch.

As soon as it ends I will do an immediate reaction show live on Periscope and Facebook.

Thank you guys for reading and supporting Outkick and I hope you enjoy the games this weekend. We worked hard here at Outkick to make them a reality.

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.


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  1. Hey Clay…given the look on Shaq Diesel’s face, I’m wondering if he knew that the boyfriend shot first and wounded a cop!!! Or that she wasn’t sleeping in bed.

    Clay: “Right now LeBron is destroying the legacy left to him by Magic and Larry and Michael. It’s incredible to see. The league spent forty years building up what LeBron is tearing down in a couple of years.” *************** SO TRUE, Clay…and Adam Silver keeps handing him the molotov cocktails.

  2. The Breonna Taylor incident is a tragedy. I am an attorney and I of course have looked at all the facts. I was also shocked by the number of people who thought charges would be brought given the fact a warrant was issued and her boyfriend fired first..

    However, your Statement that “a drug dealer shoots one of them.” is completely false. Kenneth Walker, her boyfriend, fired the shot with a gun he legally owned. He was NOT implicated in any criminal investigations and the charges against him for shooting the offer were dismissed because the investigation revealed that he reasonable believed his home was being invaded. He has NO criminal history and absolutely no-one has implicated Walker in the drug dealing. You should correct that statement, as person who, “sticks to the facts”.

    The ex-Boyfriend, Glover, who did not live there, was the key subject of the drug investigation. To imply that walker was a drug deal is simply not true and needs to be corrected.

    The media has also done a bad job reporting that there has been real change that has come from this tragedy. No-Knock warrants are no longer allowed in Louisville.

    Indeed, Taylor herself was a minor player in the drug investigation, and certainly in the future maybe just go in the house when they aren’t home, or announce yourself clearly so another tragedy like this can be avoided.

    • Well wouldn’t you know ole Clay updated the post and removed his comment “a drug dealer shot one”… guess his lawyer skills haven’t totally eroded. Obviously didn’t want any libel potential…

      The culture war is so bad it seems everyone picks a side. Why Clay wouldn’t reference the fact the boyfriend who shot the police had his charges dropped is strange. It seems like the “my home is my castle” and strong second amendment people would be outraged at how often no knock warrants are issued. Now there is disputed facts on whether there was a Knock here, but no one heard the police announce, and certainly not the homeowner who fired. They were issued a no knock warrant by a judge which doesn’t seem at all warranted.

      This should be a time for cooler heads to prevail and scrutinize no knock warrants, realize that situations like this can be avoided, and oh wait that has happened!

      But clay doesn’t bring that up because he has to counter the other side. All facts matter. Not just those that fit your narrative of the event.

      Use your microphone to tell all the facts, acknowledge this was a tragedy that should have been avoided. Point out this invasion on the 4th amendment Yielded no drugs or money ( none we’re found in the apartment).

    • The NBA should tell ESPN Jones can’t work its games anymore. The network might be fine with him turning every game telecast into a BLM protest, but the league can’t afford to have him as one of its top voices. Lot of hate coming out of him.

  3. Adam Silver was a lawyer long before he was a commissioner, so he must know how a grand jury works. That means he is derelict in duty in not making sure every last one of the NBA players understands the facts of the Taylor case and how the grand jury reached its decision. Instead, he continues to let them vent and lash out, dragging down a lot of fans’ view of the NBA. Because now the players and coaches aren’t just complaining about a limited number of allegedly racist cops in a handful of incidents (still light on facts), they’re ripping and disrespecting the judicial system and rule of law in this country. Bunch of know-nothings to whom no one ever says, “Hold up, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

  4. Lebron James runs the league now. Silver is only a figure head. I wonder how many people in the NBA realm don’t agree with him but are scared to say anything because they don’t want to deal with the backlash. Remember Drew Breese.

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