All That and a Bag of Mail: Donald Sterling Edition

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Image: Donald Sterling (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Andrew D. Bernstein NBAE

Welcome to the mailbag. This week, I’m going to open with a long answer to lots of your questions about Donald Sterling, Adam Silver, the NBA, legal issues, and more. So here’s my opinion on the Sterling brouhaha. 

I love social media.

Except when I hate social media. 

And over the last week I’ve hated social media. Why? Because as I’ve written before, social media viral explosions surrounding major issues lack nuance and quickly become one-sided mobs demanding “justice.” The masses find someone exposed in a moment of weakness and descend, like a shark sniffing blood on a wounded animal in the ocean, until everyone has arrived and devoured the bleeding victim. It’s cruel, inhumane, and, worst of all, it’s online bullying masquerading as justice. Do none of these same people who complain about bullying ever look around during an Internet mob attack and realize they’re doing the exact same thing that they complain about? The same people who wanted to turn Richie Incognito into a war criminal, take online bullying of someone they disagree with to an astounding level. Here’s a hint for you in the future, if everyone is on the same side of any issue, that’s not justice, it’s a mob. And mobs never think, they only cry out for blood. 

Mobs are scary because they’re so unintelligent and the Internet empowers modern day mobs like never before. How many people that were demanding Donald Sterling be fired ever listened to the audio? A fraction, right? How many could explain any of this story with more depth than is required to press a Facebook like button? An even tinier fraction. It’s easy to be part of a mob because it feels good, progress is being made, yay for truth, justice and righteousness.


You wake up the next morning and feel empty with the resolution. Time for the next online meal, a new “evil” victim has to be found. Along the way Internet mobs divide every issue into simple black and white categories, create cardboard caricatures out of flesh and blood issues. You’re entirely good or entirely evil, Jesus or the anti-Christ, there’s no room for contemplation, no moment for thought, opposing a mob is like trying to catch a falling knife, mistime your catch and you get cut too, adding your blood to the ocean. Look out, the sharks will come for you as well.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver wasn’t letting the sharks come for him. He came prepared, he decapitated Donald Sterling in Tuesday’s news conference and held up Sterling’s severed head for the public and media to savor.

It was a public execution.

Most in the media and the public cheered. Hooray for justice and the NBA’s “triumph.” Except this wasn’t justice, it was a large corporation putting on a public relations show. It was a large corporation completely tossing away its own bylaws in exchange for public acclamation. 

We turn to Star Wars, which, according to my six and three year olds, holds the truth to all of life’s problems.  

The NBA was fine with Donald Sterling being racist — indeed, with much better public evidence than this tape of his racism — until the same Internet mob who became aware of Joseph Kony became aware of Donald Sterling. As outrage spread like a mighty wave across the Internet, the only thing that could stop it was a Mortal Kombat style finishing move, Donald Sterling became Kony, a 72 hour social media circus that went viral on the Internet.

The only thing scarier than a few bad people is a mob of “good” people. 

You remember Kony, right? It’s eerily similar to the Donald Sterling story. Kony’s a bad man, unlike Donald Sterling he’s actually committed crimes, who does bad things. Over a 72 hour period everyone decided that Kony had to be found, he had to be stopped, this devil in the jungle couldn’t continue to rape and pillage. Internet traffic exploded, the media chased the Kony story based on the Internet traffic, further fueling the explosion. No one knew anything about Kony, they just demanded justice, kept furiously clicking like. Righteousness went viral. 

Then the founder of the Kony campaign had a psychological break down, no one found Kony, and Internet traffic returned to normal.  

Check out this graph of Internet traffic around Joseph Kony.

Remember, nothing had changed about Kony, he just went viral and the mob got angry. People cared about how awful he was and then forgot. Most haven’t realized this fact yet, Internet mobs don’t stay forever, they’re angry and furious and then they lose interest, fade away, move on to the next public cause. Until they move on from that too from that too. Everything on the Internet is simultaneously here forever and completely ephemeral. 

So the NBA’s commissioner gave the mob their severed head, set a horrible precedent, and was massively praised for his leadership. Now people are starting to reconsider. That’s because the mob has moved on and more intelligent people are willing to poke their heads up, look around, and think, “Holy hell, did a league really ban a guy for life from going to sporting events because of an opinion of his that was secretly recorded in his home? And did they really take his team from him despite any authority in the league’s bylaws to do so?”

Yes, both of those things happened. The scariest part is that Adam Silver, the NBA’s commissioner, knew better. He had a chance to stand up to a mob and enforce his league’s rules while still punishing Sterling. Instead, he did what most weak men or women do when faced with a large enough mob, he gave them what they wanted, even if he knew it was wrong. Many in the media lauded Adam Silver for his strength, but these people got it completely wrong. 

This is not a strong man, this is a very weak man, deserving of our pity.

The Internet exposed Donald Sterling and the NBA’s history of protecting a racist owner, but it also exposed Adam Silver. 


And now that I’ve given the longest serious opening to the mailbag ever, let’s make dick jokes! (Seriously, though, i was inundated with Silver questions, and rather than respond to all of them, I thought I’d give you my position.) 

Please don’t use my name writes:

“Clay, my wife loves Trader Joe’s. As far as I’m concerned it’s pretty awesome too. Now, we live in a part of town that has no real solid grocery options. However, a development, which is near us, is looking for an anchor grocery store. Over dinner last night my wife said “If you get a Trader Joe’s there, you can do me in the butt.” Should I accept this as hyperbole or as a mission to petition the developer to consider Trader Joe’s? We are a rather Puritan couple, but hardly prudish. However this joke or gauntlet befuddles me. I’m just curious as how I should play this. Thoughts?”

First of all, this is a really funny line by your wife. But there are also probably quite a few women right now thinking, “Well, if I could walk to Trader Joe’s from the house, I’d get screwed in the ass for that too.” 

My guess is it’s hyperbole. But I would also try to get a Trader Joe’s put in nearby because, what if you pulled it off? Good for you, you’ve got bargaining power. Now, the bigger question here is, do you really want to screw your wife in the ass? If you’re unsure, I would suggest executing an NFL-draft style trade here, maybe trade down and give up the ass sex in exchange for guaranteed sex three times a week for a month and four blow jobs to be named later.   

Adam writes:

“I set up a Tinder account to prove to my fiance that I “still got it.” I matched with lots of girls and catfished the hell out of em. One of the girls caught me almost immediately (she’s quite good with computers. She found it intriguing that my fiance would allow me have a Tinder account.) We have struck up a friendship now, traded cell phone numbers and talk everyday. Am I crossing the line by making a new best friend from an online dating site? Does my girl have a right to be mad about this? Thanks”

Have you been engaged for twenty years or put on a hundred pounds? If so, I can see an argument about whether or not you “still got it.” If not, what’s changed so much in the past couple of years that you can’t pick up girls now? 

Here’s a lesson for you, no man has ever met a “new best friend,” on an Internet dating site. You met a girl you’d like to have sex with if your fiance leaves you. That’s fine, but let’s not pretend otherwise. I can’t believe I have to write this, but, yes, your girl has a right to be mad about your new friend that you met on a site for sex.   

Also, you set up a Tinder account because Tinder is awesome and because every man in a serious relationship is jealous that Tinder didn’t exist when he was single. One of my friends recently said, “I would have never gotten married if Tinder existed.”

In saying so, he spoke for millions of other men. 

Preston writes:

“I work in a retail scenario where I sell phones, computers, tablets, etc. and oftentimes people come in with amazingly stupid problems that can be fixed by simply typing the devices name into google, however today I ran into something a bit unique and wanted your opinion. A parent brought me their nine year old daughter’s tablet and wanted to see how she was running up so much data on it so quickly (nearly 10 gigs in two days). So, I did the standard look through and found the problem quite quickly. She was looking up porn. Not just regular porn, mind you, strange fetish filled porn that 35 year old male virgins wouldn’t look up. Naturally, I put a block on so it couldn’t be looked for again, not easily at least, and informed the parents. Their reaction was mixed, they seemed to both know already that their child was doing this and at the same time didn’t see it as a huge problem, but thanked me for putting the block on it. My question is, did I do the right thing? If you catch a kid looking up porn do you tell on them? If it’s your 14 year old nephew and you catch him , do you give him better tips so he doesn’t get caught? Is there some subset of age/situation where you do/don’t tell on them? I figured seeing as you are a gay muslim that porn tattling would be an easy question. I feel like there’s a whole different set of rules if its a 15 year old family member compared to a 9 year old girl in a business setting.”

My first thought on this is that the dad is using the kid’s tablet to look at porn and the wife found out about it through the data charges. Faced with the choice of admitting his secret porn viewing or blaming his nine year old daughter, the dad blamed the daughter. Your “discovery,” was the first the woman knew of it, and that explains their awkward response. 

Is this too far-fetched? 

Because I really can’t imagine any parents of a nine-year old daughter being okay with that kind of porn viewing.

I’m not sure what the age is where I wouldn’t tell on a kid, but my guess is around 12 or 13. 

This is a tough question though. I’m 35, which means that from the time I was around eleven or twelve years old, every guy I knew was pulling out all the stops to see naked girls. Whether it was in the holy grail of a Playboy magazine or on scrambled satellites or in somebody’s dad’s hidden porn collection, I mean every man who grew up in a pre-Internet age was like the A-Team of porn back in the day. 

But now it’s so damn easy to find porn online that I feel like I’m going to have to sit down my boys and tell my own version of having to walk twenty miles to school, both ways uphill, in the snow.

Basically, I’m not sure what the appropriate age to see porn is. And I”m also not sure sure how to square our young, relatively fleeting consumption of porn — look, look, it’s a blue boob on the scrambled Playboy channel! — with the hard core stuff that’s readily available out there now.

I’m open to your ideas. 

I feel like we need to write a parenting porn Constitution that we can all agree on. (At least a version that those of us who don’t believe the earth is 20,000 years old can agree on).    

B. writes:

“Okay Clay, I have kept it to myself but it is time to raise my biggest concern about your site. When you click on an article it shows up as following in the internet history cache…

Now this isn’t a big deal except when you are trying to read an article at work about Steeplechase girls fighting in their panties, Johnny Footballs latest trysts, or trying to read a mailbag…

I have been flagged twice at work because my internet history has certain “key words.” Is there anyway you can make it so it does a generic number or some other url that doesn’t raise flags based on what I am reading? Yes, I am a degenerate (meaning faithful) OKTC reader but that doesn’t mean everyone else needs to know!

If Outkick doesn’t change I won’t be able to read at work…if I can’t read at work, I might to actually have to work…If I actually have to work, they will see I am not very good at what I do….If they see I am not good at what I do, I will get fired…If I get fired, I will end up homeless shagging prostitutes….If I shag prostitutes, I probably get gonorrhea. I don’t want gonorrhea Clay!

If you post this on your site, please keep me anonymous.”

I’m hoping the new Fox Sports URL will protect some of your abilities to access the site at work. But I’m also cognizant of the fact that some of you will probably get blocked now because sports sites are blocked at your work and we’re no longer far enough under the radar.

I’m not smart enough to fix many technological issues, but I’ll try to think of this on the headlines. 

Brandon writes:

“So my wife and I are expecting for the first time and we got a surprise that it’s twins. We’re going to wait to find out the sexes. I figure a boy and girl is best because we’d probably be done, then both boys and last would be both girls. I would think most guys would agree with that order, right? Any advice for me?”

Two things:

1. Sleep now. 

2. Pray you don’t have smoking hot twin daughters. 

“Ned” writes:

“My friends and I have had an ongoing debate for a while about who would you draft based solely on the women the player will bring to your city. We got the first pick narrowed down to McCarron and Manziel.

McCarron would bring Webb to your city (Katherine Webb living in Nashville, just think about that for a second). Plus Alabama girls can be really hot, especially in the 15%. Well, potentially only in the 15%.

With Manziel it seems like the guy is pulling a new girlfriend or lady friend every week. Heck, he is even stealing models away from national championship teams. So not only will he bring Texas girls to town, he will bring them all from all over the country. (Can you imagine what Halloween will be like? You can bet I’ll be dressing up as Scooby Doo.) How many women you think would be willing to move to your city just to get a chance at him? Hundreds? Thousands?

I think Manziel is the obvious choice but I have heard some good arguments for McCarron. So Snow Czar, can a gay Muslim help us out?

Also, can you use the name Ned. That’s my drunk alter ego and all my friends will know that without letting anyone else know who I am.”

It’s Manziel.

There is zero doubt it’s Manziel. He just makes the vibe of your city cooler than it otherwise would be and you know he’s going to be out on the town getting photographed partying surrounded by hot girls, which makes it more likely that people want to come party like Manziel is partying and so people would be more likely to move to the city. 

I’d also argue that Blake Bortles is probably number two on this list because his girlfriend, Lindsey Duke, is hot as hell and she’d bring in a hundred hot girls from Central Florida just by herself. 

You also have to consider the geography of the city, is it a place that people want to go already? For instance, if Manziel ends up in Cleveland are tons of hot Texas girls going to be like, “Perfect, now we have an excuse to move to Cleveland!”

Of course not. 

Whereas, if Manziel got drafted by the Tennessee Titans?

Look out. 

Honestly, the Nashville chamber of commerce should be lobbying for this to happen. The city would explode even more than it already is.   

Will writes:

“Because the NFL has decided to torture us with delaying the NFL Draft till May and forcing us to listen to how Teddy Bridgewater’s stock is falling (despite that we know that it’s very rare that QBs fall out of the top half of the 1st round), we have had to endure every possible breakdown in the draft. So we might as well get the last one. What is the best possible outcome for Outkick in the draft (meaning Johnny)? I would love for him to make it to the Titans at 11 if for nothing else then Demonbreun St. would become unbelievable with Johnny in town.”

I’m just going to be selfish here. 

Johnny Manziel being drafted by the Titans would be worth millions of dollars to me. 

There is zero hyperbole in this statement. 

If the Titans drafted Johnny Manziel next Thursday night, you’d get one Tweet from me, it would be 140 exclamation points and then I would immediately go out on an all-night bender. In fact, follow me on Twitter, because my next Tweet would be which bar I’m going to and I’d invite you all to join me and I’d be buying drinks all night. 

It’s not going to happen, but if it did, it would be the best possible thing that could happen for the city and for me.  

Please keep me anonymous

“Long time reader- I hate the new site.

I respect your desire to further your audience by expanding into the MSN/Fox universe, but how easily will it be for someone up the corporate ladder to pull your plug? Are you still working for Clay Travis CEO of OKTC or for Big Brother Fox/MSN? Can they fire you if you use the wrong words or a derogatory/inflammatory comment somewhere?

The draw to your articles was the uncensored manner in which you attacked or defended issues. Will we lose that with new censors watching? Is it worth the compromise just to get your name on a Super Bowl Party List?”

I got several of these, so I’m responding here. 

The big takeaway is three words:

Nothing. Will. Change.

I still own Outkick and so, as much as some dumb emailers hate it, I’m not fireable from here. In the licensing agreement we signed, I have editorial control and Fox can’t change what we write here. If the Internet mob comes for me someday — as doubtless will happen at some point — I’ll shrug my shoulders and keep being me. The reason Outkick thrives is because we don’t pull punches on here. We’ll level anyone, generally while being funny about it.  

The only thing changing is that the commenters are getting dumber. So we need to find out a solution there. Otherwise, Outkick’s not changing. 

If you doubted that, read the mailbag today.

But I respect the concern. So I wanted to address it again here. 

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.