All That and a Bag of Mail

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It’s Friday, and I hope all of you are geared up for fantastic weekends.

I’m headed up to Michigan to visit my wife’s family and just hoping Gretchen Whitmer doesn’t arrest me at the Detroit airport for calling her one of the worst governors in our nation’s history.

If you haven’t subscribed to them already, go sign up to the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton show podcast. And go subscribe to the OutKick the Show podcast as well.

Okay, here we go with your mailbag questions.

Pat writes:

“Will we ever reach a point when we can stop postponing sporting events for asymptomatic positive COVID tests?

Alex writes:

“Why in heavens name is baseball still cancelling games for positive COVID tests? The Yankee situation is ridiculous.” 

Baseball Nerd writes:

“Clay, sporting events and games are still being shut down with positive COVID tests- even if the positive players have gotten the vax. By these standards, if every person in the world is vaccinated they’re still going to shut events down with positive tests. What’s the endgame?”

You’re all correct, we’re way past the point of absurdity when it comes to COVID testing at sporting events.

For those of you who aren’t aware, last night the Yankees-Red Sox game was postponed because six players, all of whom have reportedly had their COVID vaccines, tested positive for COVID. Postponing or canceling games at this point is insanely stupid.

The data is clear and transparent for anyone who bothers to look at up: we no longer need to test athletes of any age for COVID. If you’re healthy enough to be playing a competitive sport, you’re not going to be impacted in a serious way by COVID. That’s what the data tells us from little leaguers all the way up to pro athletes.

We know this. It isn’t remotely uncertain.

What’s more, a huge percentage of athletes, probably fed up with the masking and social distance restrictions and eager to no longer have to comply with them, have made the decision to get vaccinated. Yet vaccinated players, like the six Yankees right now, are still testing positive.

Which brings me to this question, why in the world are we still testing healthy athletes for COVID at all? It’s completely nonsensical to still be testing healthy people to see if they have a virus which poses no risk to them. Especially when we’re allowing full stadiums of fans to attend games. There’s no logic or rationality at all to these decisions.

Look, I’ve said a thousand times now, the data is clear: if you’re over 65 or have health issues you should get the vaccine because COVID is potentially dangerous to you. That’s the advice I gave my own parents, and it’s the advice I’d give anyone over 65 years old reading this right now.

But healthy young people have no issues with COVID. I’m not that young, but I had COVID last year. And it had zero impact on me, like the data suggested would be the case. There are likely nearly one hundred million people like me, people under fifty who had COVID and still have the antibodies to COVID. Getting the vaccine while I still have antibodies makes no sense. Especially since the data right now suggests the best possible immunity you can have is natural immunity.

If you are young and healthy yet still terrified of COVID, get the vaccine. That’s your right and your choice. In the meantime, the fears of people at virtually no risk from COVID have restricted all of our freedoms for over a year now. It’s well past time for a 100% complete return to normalcy.

And sports can and should help drive that return to normalcy.

So let me scream this from the mailbag rooftops here as we head into the weekend:



The date tells us the truth here: it’s absolute insanity to still be doing both.

UFC 2025 writes:

“LA just put a mask mandate back in place. If you lived there, what would be your response today? How do normal middle class people fight back?”

I’m flying to LA on Wednesday to tape the final couple of episodes of Fox Bet Live season three.

So the timing here for me is perfect. I’m traveling from a completely free place in Tennessee where you’d never know COVID had ever existed at this point and descending back into COVID mask madness as soon as I land in LA.

Unfortunately, I don’t think people have very good options when it comes to the new LA mask mandate. You’re almost required to enact the absurd cosmetic theater rituals yet again. You can opt not to wear a mask, which I will do as often as I can in LA, but what response do you really have if an employee at a business asks you to put a mask on? The employees may or may not agree with the mask policy, but their job requires them to tell you to put a mask on. At that point, you have three options: comply, choose to go elsewhere, or escalate the situation to the point where security has to be called. That means most reasonable adults are left with two options: comply or choose to go elsewhere.

I’m not optimistic that national health officials will speak out and ridicule LA over this decision — which is counter to both state of California and CDC guidelines — which is why my fear is that LA is going to lead much of the country back into a mask mandate this fall and winter when viruses of all types typically become more prevalent.

I’m afraid that rather than be an outlier, LA is an arbiter of what’s coming in the next couple of months.

Honestly, if I lived in LA and could move, I would have moved already.

That’s what we’ve seen all over my neighborhood here in Tennessee. People from California who are fed up with the left wing politics and the COVID madness have moved to places like where I live. Last I checked, there wasn’t a single house for sale in my entire neighborhood. And the people moving in and buying up the homes are doing so, sometimes, just based on walk throughs on FaceTime.

It’s wild to see.

And I also get the sense that even left leaning LA people are finally starting to lose their minds over these restrictions that make no sense at all.

The data is clear. After nearly a year and a half of stringent lockdowns, California had almost no difference in overall COVID rates of infection than Florida or Texas, two states that have been mostly open for over a year.

Lockdowns don’t work, and masks are mostly useless. The fact that everyone won’t just look at the data and realize this is maddening to me.

Hokies writes:

“Do you think Fauci will eventually say newborns should be masked?”

Sadly, yes.

Fauci has taken every position on every issue over the past two years of COVID madness.

Anyone with a functional brain stopped listening to him over a year ago.

JRod writes:

“Explain the double standard in sports media when Stephen A Smith can call out a player needing a translator but not be canceled.”

First, I don’t believe in cancel culture.

I understand that’s true for most of you as well. So if you don’t believe in cancel culture, you’re left with two options: 1. rigorously apply the same cancel culture precedents to left wingers as they apply to right wingers 2. point out the hypocrisy, but don’t insist on cancellation.

I understand the perspectives of people who make either choice here and I think it’s important to note they come from the same motivation, but my general position is to pick option two.

As for what Stephen A. Smith said, it’s a fraction as racist as what Jalen Rose said about Kevin Love. And nothing happened to Rose at all for what he said.

What both men have in common, of course, is they are highly paid black guys who work at a company with mostly white leadership. And the white leadership is so terrified of being called racist that they make awful decisions.

I mean, just look at the Rachel Nichols situation. What Nichols said was off air and, probably, illegally recorded. Yet she has lost two jobs because of those comments, and nothing has happened to Smith or Rose, who both made their comments on air.

Why is the white woman who made comments off air being treated more harshly than the black guys who made comments on air?

Because ESPN’s white bosses are so terrified of being called racist that they have different standards of speech for white and black employees. Black employees can get away with saying things white employees can’t. Being harsher on white employees for less controversial comments allows the white bosses to “prove” they aren’t racist.

I think we have a word for what treating people different based on their race is — ah, yes, racism.

ESPN is being racist in favor of black employees in an effort to prove that they aren’t racist. This isn’t unique to ESPN, by the way. This is the default white liberal position in all of America right now.

It’s pretty crazy, but these white liberals then say I’m the racist because I’m insisting on treating everyone equally, regardless of their racial background.

Heck most high profile white people, honestly, fear being called racist more than they fear committing actual crimes. ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro would be far more likely to keep his job if he got a DUI than if he were recorded saying one reason Maria Taylor got her NBA job was because she was black.

Does anyone even doubt this? How wild is our modern media environment that it’s better to commit actual crimes than offend the thought police with words?

By the way, flip side, if Maria Taylor had been illegally recorded in her hotel room saying the only reason Rachel Nichols had her job was because she was white, what would the reaction have been in the media? No one would have cared about her racial comments, and the story would have been about how Maria Taylor, a black woman, is always in danger of being illegally recorded, judged, and attacked for her efforts to combat racism in a majority white industry. Maria Taylor would have been the victim if she’d said what Nichols did!

This is what the pyramid of victimization demands. We don’t judge individuals any more. We ascribe them standing based on their race and gender and determine how much they have been victimized. That then determines most corporate response.

It’s all madness.

Allen writes:

“Where do you see sports media as a business model in the next 3-5 years? Is ESPN still a thing?”

ESPN will still be a thing because they have TV rights. (That’s assuming, by the way, that Amazon, Apple or Facebook don’t just decide to swoop in and buy up all those rights. All three of these companies have far more money to pay for sports rights than the ESPN, Fox, CBS or NBCs of the world do.) But I think ESPN’s shoulder programming, that is the non-games, will matter less and less in the years ahead, and those jobs will have less and less value.

What I think will happen is we’ll see even more of a superstar-based economy in sports media than exists today. That is, you’re either a superstar in sports media, at which point you will make obscene amounts of money, or you’re starting out and trying to develop your brand at a relatively low rate of pay. I think we’ll see even more of a hollowing out of the middle class, both for sports media and for athletes in general.

I also think people will go independent more and more, and big media companies will try to buy the top independent talent and bring it back within the fold. I was way ahead of the curve with starting OutKick a decade ago. We developed such a substantial and loyal following that Fox (and others) wanted to buy OutKick and bring us into their fold.

You’ve seen this happen quite a bit in sports media. The three content guys who have made the most money in sports media didn’t do it working for big companies. We all did it starting our own companies: Bill Simmons with The Ringer, Dave Portnoy with Barstool and me with OutKick. All three of us built something that bigger companies wanted, which is how we made big money.

So if I were giving advice to younger guys and girls in sports media who want to really cut through the noise, it would be to build your own platforms. I think most top talent will come from that avenue more likely than by working their way up inside of big companies. In other words, I think the next Stephen As, Cowherds and Baylesses of the world are coming from external rather than internal destinations.

Why is that?

Because I think being external to a big company gives you more freedom to develop a unique and compelling voice. When you’re inside of a big company, your brand is always subservient to the larger brand. When you create your own company, you are the brand.

If you’re young and trying to make it, I think you have to realize that the name on the back of the jersey is more important than the name on the front of the jersey.

David writes:

“I see the Vols going 7-5/8-4 w/ one surprise win over EITHER UF, UGA or ALA. How do you feel the season ends up on Good Ole Rocky Top?”

Three of the four out of conference games should be comfortable wins — Bowling Green, Tennessee Tech and South Alabama. Then you’ve got South Carolina and Vanderbilt, who should be pretty awful, and the Vols should win those games at home. That gets you to five wins.

I’m taking Georgia, at Alabama and at Florida off the table and making them definite losses, so that leaves you at 5-3 with four effective toss up games left on the schedule: Pittsburgh, Ole Miss, at Mizzou, at Kentucky.

I’d put the over/under in these four games at 2. Win two and you finish 7-5, win three and you go 8-4. Only win one, which I think is the worst case scenario, and you get to 6-6.

So I’d take Tennessee finishing 7-5 this year.

As always, thanks for your support of OutKick.

Now I’m heading over to do the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show.

And then I’m heading up to Gretchen Whitmer land, pray for me.

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.

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  1. Spot on with your takes on the sports media and racism issue in general: Insane madness. Anyone that thinks you are wrong is either deaf, blind or an idiot because it just aint true. Keep leading the way.

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