All That and a Bag of Mail: Sharks vs. Crocodiles

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Okay, it’s mailbag part two today.

You’re all fortunate to have to work less.

I’ve already published the West Virginia hatemail, which you absolutely, positively have to read. 

Now you get to see Steve Spurrier shirtless. 

And read more mailbag. 

See, I really do love all of you. 

Every single Southern person looking at this picture right now is thinking, “I can totally see my dad doing this.”

Justin P. writes:

“In honor of Shark Week, if you had to pick between A) swimming with great whites in the ocean or B) swimming with alligators/crocodiles in the river, which would you choose? You get scuba gear in both situations. No weapons though. I picked great whites because of water clarity.”

First, I think your water clarity decision is an awful one. Do you think you’re going to outswim a crocodile, alligator, or great white if you can see them coming to eat you better? Has anyone other than you ever thought, “Oh, look, there’s a great white shark, I’ll just swim away from him faster than he can swim after me and be fine.”

These animals are forced to kill in the water.

I’m pretty sure water clarity isn’t a big advantage.  

My biggest questions here are three-fold: a. how long do I have to swim? b. do I have to actually move? c. am I facing alligators, which are relatively docile, or crocodiles, which are killing machines. Because my strategy would be to just sink down to the bottom of the ocean or river and not move, thereby hoping to limit the odds that I’d run into a predator and not draw attention to myself by moving. 

Alligators are in much greater proximity to humans than great whites and alligators rarely attack. So I’m going alligators. Between a great white and a saltwater crocodile I have no idea.


BD writes:

“Clay, for the past 3 years I have had the privilege of being a stay at home dad.  My wife is blessed to have an incredible job that, except for a daunting travel schedule, has afforded us the opportunity to live a comfortable lifestyle. We made the decision that I would stay with the kids because of the tremendous amount of time that she would be away from the kids (aged 6 and 3).

Her company recently streamlined their operations and pulled all of their upper management back to Lexington, KY, (go Big Blue!) effectively eliminating her overnight travel.  I have been testing the waters for a possible return to the workforce and have be offered the opportunity to work with an exporting company that would require extensive travel.  As a father that spends large amounts of time at home with his children, would you give that up for a lucrative position if you were in my shoes?  You have the greatest job in the world so try not to compare it to yours. The kids are my life….baseball, coaching, wrestling breaks between chores. Your opinion would be greatly appreciated.”

The big question here is — how badly do you need the extra money? Because I’m a big proponent of don’t mess with your happiness. If you love your life now — and it sounds like you do — why change?

But let’s dive in to your question. 

You say your wife has a great job and you live in Lexington, Kentucky. Let’s say she makes around $100k a year — that could be high or low, but we’ll take it as a reasonably good salary for a family’s top breadwinner when you live in a Southern state. (If she makes substantially more than this, say two or three hundred thousand a year or more then the rationale for you to go back to work makes even less sense. Once you’re at that level of income each additional 100k makes less of a lifestyle difference. If she makes substantially less, say $60k then you going back to work might make more sense.)

Now let’s say that you take a job that pays you $85k to start. Again, that could be high or low, but let’s just roll with it. That seems like a really good starting salary for someone who is presently not working. If your job is going to require extensive travel it probably involves sales of some sort, which is an uncertain income, that is, your salary is somewhat speculative. Everyone always pitches sales jobs with the best case scenario as opposed to the worst.   

In theory you’re nearly doubling your family income from $100k to $185k, but what about the child care for the three year old? That’s expensive as hell, probably $8-$10k a year. (I was paying more in child care for my kids when they were three and one than I would have been paying for them to be attending the University of Tennessee. Screw college costs, what about child care costs? No one ever talks about this. I wish the lottery money went to pay for child care instead of college because just about everyone is impacted by this. But, alas, no one cares what I think.) 

Since you’re both working you’ll probably need some form of post-school child care for your six year old. That’s probably going to cost you a few thousand dollars a year as well. 

So we immediately slice off $13-$14k from your salary. 

Figure that you’re going to be paying around a 33% tax rate and that knocks out another $28k. 

So now your new job is adding around $43k a year to your family’s income. Breaking it down further, that’s a little over $3500 extra a month in your family’s pocket.

Is that going to make your family’s life substantially better? Will you be happier? Will your kids be happier? That’s a call for you to make. 

But if you’re happy now I’d wait until the three year old is in school and then reconsider my status.

But that’s just me. 

Good luck.

And congrats on being a good dad.  

(By the way, the rationale here can be easily flipped to apply for moms as well. I just think it’s interesting that many dads are now facing the same dilemma that lots of working women have already faced.)

Captain Scott writes:


So long story short I’m deployed to Afghanistan. I’ve been in a fantasy football league for years with my fraternity brothers and they decided this year to have a live draft. I can’t decide what to do because dialing in isn’t an option. Should I hire a lawyer to represent my interest?

(Between us I’m not mad or anything but I wanted to stir them up since I can’t be there to trash talk. Figured a response from you would do the trick. Big fan of your work and I religiously read OKTC here whenever I get free time.)”

So you’re out defending our country’s freedoms in a god-forsaken land and your no good frat brothers, luxuriating in the freedoms you ensure we have, scheduled a live fantasy draft you can’t participate in?

Assuming they don’t read the mailbag, I would send them an email that read something like this:

“Guys, my CO got word of me not being able to participate in a live fantasy draft and emailed Fox News about it. (I don’t know why, but he’s crazy and always takes up for his subordinates.) Now Fox News wants to do a big story on our fantasy football league and focus on the impact of soldiers not being able to fantasy draft. They want to talk to all of you about why you scheduled a fantasy live draft while I’m fighting overseas. I want to keep you guys out of trouble but my CO is really fired up about it and he’s already forwarded all our recent emails to Fox News. So they know your names and where you work. Crap, what should I do?”

Then just wait for the email reaction. 

My primary question here is whether you live draft on a computer or in person with a draft board. We usually do a live draft, but everyone brings their laptops. 

As for what to do if it’s on a computer, you can’t prerank, that’s a disaster. You’ll end up taking a kicker in the third round. So you either let the computer draft for you — not a horrible plan since the computer bases its picks on the consensus across the country’s drafts — or you deputize someone you really trust to pick the team for you. 

Good luck and stay safe so you can come back overseas and kick your buddy’s asses. 

Stephen S. writes:

“How long before the NCAA attempts to distract attention from their profiteering and/or exploitation of college athletes by formally coming out against the autograph brokers who are the “root cause” at least in the JFF case?

In the long run, isn’t it a better outcome for the NCAA, from both a profitability (Johnny playing) and public relations standpoint (going after grown men who prey on student athletes) to pillory the scumbags and not the student?”

The smartest decision the NCAA could make would be to announce amnesty on the autograph issue while the impact of the rule is studied in light of the present marketplace. 

This would be the smart decision here. 

How often do you think the NCAA makes the smart decision?

So I’m not banking on it. 

Steve J. writes:

“Time for a good old conspiracy theory, Here is it is.
Is it possible that after winning the Heisman Trophy as a freshmen, breaking records, and pretty much sending his personal stock to the highest of all high that he is afraid of the fall? What happens if he is just “above average” this year and not “Heisman Good”? His stock begins to fall and the “experts” now begin to pick him apart. So by breaking the rules and getting suspended he no longer has the expectations and can work with trainers all season to prepare for the draft. His parents have money to finance all this training and with him not on the field his stock can not fall because of lack luster performance but can only fall from inactivity which should be discounted since he is still working on perfecting his craft…..What do you think….it is no JFK second shooter conspiracy but it is close.”

I’ve gotten this from a bunch of you and I just don’t buy it. 

I think the one thing Manziel loves is playing football. So why trump up a reason not to play football just when it gets to be football season? Plus, if this was his goal all he’d have to do is admit to taking money for signing autographs and he’d be done with college football. Clearly, he’s fighting this allegation.

Speaking of which, we’ll have Manziel’s attorney on NBC Sports Radio tomorrow morning. 

I’m looking forward to talking with him. 

Daniel L. writes:

I may be misunderstanding the Cam Newton rule but the way I understand the rule it hardly seems enforceable. It reads: 

” … an agent is any individual who, directly or indirectly, represents or attempts to represent an individual for the purpose of marketing his or her athletics ability or reputation for financial gain …”

So, lets just say for argument’s sake that Uncle Nate has been doing all this autograph selling without Manziel’s knowledge (highly unlikely, I know). Then by the interpretation of the rule above, Uncle Nate is acting as an agent for Manziel and Manziel would be in violation. Let’s use a different example. Say Player X’s dad tells Coach X that he will convince his kid to go to play for Coach X if Coach X pays him $180,000. Under the Newton rule, even though Player X had no idea his dad cut a deal, he (and the university, of course) would feel the full force of NCAA sanctions. How could that ever hold up in court if someone decided to fight it? What precedent is there to punish a son for the sins of his father?
I might be missing something, but the way I understand it, this Newton Rule seems ludicrous.”
I suspect this is why there was no Cam Newton rule to begin with, that it’s incredibly difficult and complicated to enforce a rule like this. 
What does represent mean in this context? What if you’re being represented by someone who truly doesn’t actually have the ability to represent you? Absent a formal representation agreement — and how often are college athletes going to sign these — never — this rule is a total mess.
It’s riddled with holes.  
You’re also hitting at the biggest difficulty here, the knowledge of someone else’s actions that should be required here. Knowledge is difficult to prove without the full power of a criminal investigative body. Hell, even with the full power of a criminal investigative body it can still be hard to prove knowledge. What did you know and when did you know it is the central element of tons of cases. 
Here you’re imputing knowledge of the representation based on relationship status. But you haven’t defined the knowledge or the relationship or explained what represents means.
See why Texas A&M has a law firm and Johnny Manziel has a law firm now? The NCAA rulebook is a complete mess.   

Kirk R. writes:

“What do you think of the way Les Miles handled Jeremy Hill’s situation? Do you think that should be allowed?”

A buddy texted me this yesterday, “Don’t you think it’s crazy that an Alabama fan got two years in prison for teabagging an LSU fan, but LSU’s starting running back — who is already on probation — just gets more probation for punching a guy at a bar?”

When you put it in that context it’s awfully hard to defend LSU here. 

I don’t think you can let your team vote on a punishment like this either.

That might be fine for minor violations, but when it’s of a more substantial nature that’s a decision coaches are paid to make.

I agree with Gary Patterson’s take on this matter. You can’t have flexible suspensions and suspend players for games that don’t matter. You can’t have a floating punishment. LSU opens with TCU, I think Hill should probably have to sit at least one game and I’d start with the opener.   

Kurt Z. writes:

“With all the autograph talk, my question is this. What’s the age limit for an autograph? I’m 28, have a good job at a major corporation but love to get autographs in my spare time. I ALWAYS get mine personalized and have never sold an autograph, but with the current talk of autograph seekers, I feel like I would be grouped in with the ones who bring mass items to be signed so they can sell them.”

I don’t do autographs. In fact, and this is pretty humiliating, but the last autograph I ever got was when I was 19 years old and I met Natalie Imbruglia just as “Torn” was taking off. I have no idea where that autograph is now, but it’s the last one I ever got. 

Which is humiliating in its own right. 

I do, however, make exceptions when it comes to getting books signed by favorite authors. I’m also happy to sign my books and meet people at book signings.

So I admit I’m inconsistent here, I don’t have any issue with book autographs. 

If I was a player I might adopt a policy where I only signed for kids. Primarily because the adults often keep the kids from getting autographs. 

I remember being a kid, back when getting an autograph was about the greatest thing that could ever happen to you. Remember that awesome feeling when you had your baseball held out and the player grabbed your baseball and started to sign? You were always so nervous he was going to walk away or stop signing. 

Then, bang, it was like winning the kid lottery. 

Even back then there were grown men elbowing us and taking up the good spots on the railing.

I found adults elbowing me out of the way weird when I was a kid.

Now that I’m an adult it’s much weirder.

Having said all of this, I don’t believe there’s anyone alive who is younger than me, regardless of profession, that I’d ask for their autograph. That seems like a pretty good policy to me. (There are clear exceptions here for getting autographs on behalf of kids). 

Derek M. writes:

“What’s the creepiest thing a grown man can do? Ask for an autograph of a college athlete? Or wear their jersey? My thoughts, ask for their autograph while wearing their jersey as they constantly say “thank you, you’re awesome I love you.”

You nailed it.

My jersey rule is similar, I think you can only wear the jersey of a player that’s older than you. After that it just gets weird. 

Bill L. writes:

“I love your idea about all the players in the whole country selling their autographs the day before the season. Let’s step into fantasy world for a minute and ponder what would happen if the NCAA actually did suspend every single player in the country for the whole season. Forget the internet breaking, would America as a nation collapse? Would liberals blame George W. Bush and conservatives blame Obama? Seriously, would America collapse?”

Better question, would the entire state of Alabama riot and burn down?

I think it might.

Have great weekends and be sure and read the West Virginia hate email. It’s real and spectacular.

But I leave y’all with the brand new Homeland trailer for season 3. 


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.