It’s Tuesday, and the anonymous mailbag is here to solve all the problems in your lives.
I’m a bit late today because I’ve been getting ready to head down to the beach for Thanksgiving, and like many of you, I had a ton of details to take care of before we could leave town.
I’ll be on the radio tomorrow and then off for the rest of the week.
Before we get to your questions, if you’re going to be in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Colorado or West Virginia, you can bet $5 on a Thanksgiving Day NFL winner. If your team wins, you get $125. That’s a phenomenal deal. So go get your bets in and win some money on Thanksgiving.
As always, send your anonymous mailbag questions to email@example.com, anonymity guaranteed.
And I want to thank all of you for allowing me to do what I love for a career.
Okay, here we go:
“I’m a diehard Raiders fan. We had a bunch of players put on the COVID/reserve list and they couldn’t practice the rest of the week leading up to Sunday night’s game vs Kansas City. The Raiders have had a lot of issues with this all season including ineligibility, fines, even losing a MOTHERFUCKING DRAFT PICK.
Because of your background in law, my question to you is this: Could Mark Davis, the Raiders owner, call the good people at Pfizer and legally buy (I’m estimating 200) vaccines to vaccinate everyone in the organization to include players, coaches, staff, and front office personnel? I assume it would have to be after the FDA gives approval for distribution. But if not, why not buy vaccines now and get past all this crap as we (Raider Nation) enter the home stretch of the season?
What would be the NFL’s response? Keep in mind the decades of bias against the Raiders (ask Roberto, Eddie G, or Petros on his Tuesday morning spot on the radio if you call bs on the bias. It’s very real.) that began with the Al Davis vs. Pete Rozelle battles. Would the NFL penalize the Raiders or adopt the strategy and implement it for the rest of the league? Keep up the good work.”
This is an absolutely fascinating question.
Because the question you’re getting at is very real, could teams gain a competitive advantage if they were allowed to get their team vaccinated before another team or before most of the league?
The answer is 100% yes.
I mean, getting your entire team vaccinated would be a tremendous competitive advantage in any sport, especially if the rest of the league wasn’t vaccinated at the same time.
So much so, honestly, that I wonder if the NFL might be compelled to institute a rule here and keep any team from getting vaccinated before another team. In other words, I wonder if the NFL might require all teams to be vaccinated at the same time rather than allow individual teams to make their own decisions based on the timing.
Because think about it. If a team got vaccinated in January, just as the playoffs were about to start, how much more of a “normal” work environment could they have and how much less of a worry would it be to not have to be concerned about constantly testing and social distancing?
You’d be able to just get back to football.
It would be a tremendous competitive advantage.
And, best of all, you’d have no concern that at the last minute you were going to find out several players or position groups were suddenly out for positive tests or contact tracing.
I mean, make no mistake about it. There is a tremendous competitive advantage if a team were able to procure this vaccine soon after its release, especially if they got it way before everyone else did.
Now the question becomes this: is it possible?
That seems unlikely to be me because of the political heat that would ensue. It appears that the vaccines will be sent to the states, and the states will be responsible for determining who gets them. And I can’t imagine that any governor wants to be answering media questions about why a healthy pro football team got the vaccine, but sick senior citizens in nursing homes didn’t.
Regardless of your politics, I think almost all of us can agree that the people who get the vaccines first should be the people who need them the most.
We’ve already seen a pseudo-controversy of this magnitude in the world of sports.
You’ll recall that the NBA was able to procure a ton of early COVID tests for its teams and players when they were in short supply. (The Jazz and the Thunder were some of the first people to be tested for COVID). Those early tests for the rich and well connected players turned into a controversy. So much so that teams and leagues made a big deal of pointing out that the tests they used to return to play weren’t taking away tests from others in their communities.
So the big story here is that, while it would be smart for pro or college teams to procure these vaccines as rapidly as possible, they have to be careful that they aren’t massively criticized for taking resources from those who need them more.
Which means I think it will be hard for teams to get these vaccines in the winter.
Now what about the spring? That’s intriguing. I’d think that could be possible, and I also think some teams might have access to the vaccines, again based on state shipping, before other teams do.
I’ll give you a couple of examples of issues that could arise in the spring. How much easier would Major League Baseball’s season be if every player was vaccinated before the season started in 2021?
Heck, I’ll give you an even better hypothetical, what about the NCAA Tournament? The NCAA is absolutely desperate to play the NCAA Tournament this year since last year’s tournament was canceled. So desperate, in fact, that they are talking about potentially creating a bubble for all 68 teams in Indianapolis.
Well, how much easier would things be for the NCAA if they could just vaccinate all 68 NCAA Tourney teams before the tournament officially started? Then there would be no COVID scheduling issues, in theory, right? Every team would be 100% safe from positive tests.
Take it another step, what if some conferences got access to vaccination before others? How unfair would that seem in the context of the NCAA Tournament?
This is why, interestingly, Rick Pitino is saying college basketball should push their season back to play the tournament in May this year instead of March. Because his thought is that by May, the players could all be vaccinated and that might not be the case in March.
And I think there’s probably some merit to this argument, honestly.
One advantage that colleges may have with their athletes is college campuses may actually end up fairly high on the list of places where vaccination occurs early. (In theory it would be relatively easy to vaccinate kids on a college campus since they are centrally located in one place). So if a state decides to vaccinate an entire college campus, then you could theoretically end up with some college teams that have advantages over others because their states got all the college kids done, including athletes, earlier in the process than some others might.
Regardless, the larger issue you are asking here is a good one. How will this vaccine be distributed, and will there be some healthy groups that end up with access to the vaccine earlier than others?
The answer almost certainly is yes.
Could that impact sports? I think the answer would be yes, as well.
“I’m in my early 20s and am starting to consider the fact that I need to get serious and start looking for a long term relationship with the end goal being marriage. I may be wrong here, but my theory is that you need to marry somewhat early that way you aren’t left marrying in your late 30s to a girl with kids and a bunch of emotional baggage.
My question is two-fold. First, should I wait until I’m out of my early 20s to even consider marriage? I realize being this young makes me pretty dumb due to my lack of life experience. I have buddies have gotten married early who have loved it and some who have also regretted it. I definitely don’t want to be that guy who marries early then immediately regrets it. Second, how would you go about finding a girl in 2020? With all the coronabro restrictions, college events are extremely limit where I live. This makes it hard to meet girls, but is there a way you know of to get around this? How would you go about dating in 2020? I’d appreciate the advice King Solomon of the internet.”
No man in his early twenties should be thinking about marriage.
I’m not saying you can’t meet a girl you think you might want to marry at that age, but most men would benefit immensely from not getting married before they are thirty years old.
I really believe this.
In fact, if you told me all three of my boys wouldn’t get married until they were thirty or older, I’d be ecstatic about that choice.
Why do I think this?
Two primary reasons.
1. Most men aren’t very mature in their early twenties.
Women, in general, are far more likely to have their lives in order in their early twenties than men are. As a general rule, your average guy would be better off marrying a girl several years younger and waiting to get married than getting married.
Are their exceptions?
Your boy here got married at 25 years old. And I’m still married sixteen years later at the ripe old age of 41.
But I’m clearly an extreme outlier when it comes to male maturity. (If she bothered to read this, my wife would be rolling her eyes.)
The larger point, however, is that most men aren’t ready for marriage in their early twenties.
Which leads into my second major point.
2. Without a wife or kid(s) you can focus on your career, setting yourself up for tremendous success later in life.
Take it from any parent, kids are an enormous time investment. I mean, just absolute time vacuums. I have three young kids, a wife, and like eighteen jobs. Almost every spare moment I have, and they are few and far between in general, go to my kids or their events.
The same is true for my wife.
And the same is true for almost any parent out there.
There are a ton of guys and girls reading this right now who are in their twenties. You guys all think you are busy. Trust me on this: YOU ARE NOT BUSY.
No matter how much you work at your jobs, when you aren’t working, you aren’t responsible for anyone but yourself. There are no lives relying on you. You can work 12 hour days six or seven days a week, which seems like a lot, but when you are done at work you have absolutely no responsibilities elsewhere. You can go to the gym, you can go out to a long dinner, you can just decide to come home, pop on Netflix and chill out for hours and hours with no real obligations otherwise.
No matter what your job is, without kids, you aren’t busy.
The longer you can go in your career without kids, I really believe the more successful you will be in your career. This is something I think a ton of people miss when they are young.
When you are young, you are probably very underpaid, but you have a wealth of time. You can invest in your careers in a way that married people with kids can’t.
How do you invest in your careers at this age?
With your time!
We don’t spend enough time in this country talking about the value of time. Young people’s most valuable resource is their time.
Time is an invaluable resource, the most valuable resource, arguably, that exists in today’s society. It’s the only thing you can’t buy more of. Yet many of us don’t value time at all. (I’m not even talking about the direct and clear connection between the compounding value of money over time. That is, the money you invest at a young age compounds to an insane degree as you age. The younger you can start saving and investing money the better off you will be. You should all be aware of this. But more importantly you should be aware that working to develop life skills and a career is similar. Spend your time wisely.)
So if you’re reading this right now and you want advice from me, don’t worry about finding a life partner in your twenties. Take advantage of the time you have now and pour yourself into a job while you have the opportunity to do so.
Your thirties and forties are probably going to be an absolute zoo. You will have very limited free time then.
But right now, while you’re single in your twenties, that isn’t the case.
You are awash in abundant amounts of time.
So dive into your profession in a big way. Invest more now in your career instead of less.
And, by the way, take your risks in your twenties. You have plenty of time to recover from them. If you really love the idea of a dream job, go for it at that age. Before you have a wife and kids — or a husband and kids — you really don’t have substantial hindrances when it comes to your life choices.
Rather than worry about marriage or relationships, focus on your job. Success is a great aphrodisiac. If you are successful, partners will seek you out, and you’ll have lots of options. Probably too many, which creates its own issues, but that’s for the future.
In the meantime, good luck. And just realize, one day if you invest your time incredibly wisely you too may be answering questions for strangers on the internet a couple of days before Thanksgiving.
“Hey Clay. I live in Alabama and a few of my friends and I have been making the trip across the state line to Tennessee to make sports wagers. We carpool about an hour each week and eat at a restaurant and make wagers, it’s been pretty neat. We are relatively new to this whole process. Can you explain in short how taxes would come in to play for us? Is it something we have to keep up with and turn in on our taxes? Does FanDuel send us something at the end of the year? Any information would be appreciated.”
First, there is a ton of this going on: people crossing state lines to place wagers. And it isn’t particularly new either, remember that this is how lotteries spread around the country so rapidly. Politicians in states without lotteries pointed out how many people were driving across state lines to buy tickets in neighboring states and aiding the tax coffers there.
I remember seeing this as a kid happening down along the Tennessee and Georgia border because my grandparents lived in Chattanooga, and Georgia was one of the first Southern states to have a big lottery. There were traffic jams to get lottery tickets when the money got huge in those early lottery days.
Now the same thing is happening with sports gambling, but phones make it even easier than buying lottery tickets back in the day. Whereas you used to have to go to a gas station to buy lottery tickets, all you have to do is cross a state line and use your phone to place a sports bet.
Which is why when New Jersey legalized sports gambling. People in New York City started hopping on the subway to get to New Jersey to place their bets. (This is also why so many subway cars were plastered with gambling ads encouraging people to place their bets.)
Because, remember, you can get paid out on your winnings from a state that has online gambling — currently Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and West Virginia all having online gambling — but you don’t have to be present in the state to get your winnings, just to make your bets.
I am not a tax expert, but in general you are responsible for paying taxes on gambling winnings because that’s considered personal income. My understanding is you only get a statement from the casino if you earn a specific amount, I think it’s over $10k, in one sitting.
So most people who aren’t gambling massive sums of money won’t get tax statements from sports gambling companies, but you would be responsible for honestly reporting your income, including whatever you won from sports gambling.
Good luck on the bets and congrats on finding a fun way to hang with your buddies.
And thanks to the state of Alabama for helping to grow our tax revenues here in Tennessee.
“I’m a seventh grade teacher in Massachusetts. I’m tired of my coworker coronabros freaking out about work. My school announced we are bringing our students back full time in January, (we are currently in a hybrid model), and teachers are having a fit. Our union president instructed us to bombard our Superintendent with emails about how unsafe school already is. Those who chose not to email (myself a few other sane teachers), were called out by the union president for not standing with them. How will I survive with these lunatics?”
First, congrats to you for not being a sheep. If you don’t agree with something your union does, you shouldn’t support it, even if you’re being pressured to do so.
Second, the next step you could take, if you are willing, is to not just refuse to support the union’s position, you could tell them you disagree with it.
Based on the emails I get, there are a ton of teachers who think the remote learning plans are a disaster, and they are 100% opposed to them.
That is, contrary to the way the media covers this issue — with the idea being that every teacher is opposed to the idea of in person schooling — there are substantial percentages of teachers who are in favor of a return to school because they know remote learning is a disaster. What percentage would that be? I would guess it’s the minority position for teachers, but I’d think it represents 35-40% of the teachers out there and it could be even higher than that.
My point with all of this? If you speak out against the union position, I think many of your colleagues would privately reach out and say they agree with you and thank you for going public.
One of the big problems we have in American society today is people are afraid to voice their true opinions for fear of censure.
I came out and said I was voting for Donald Trump for president a few weeks ago, and I was blown away by the number of people in my industry who reached out and said they were doing the same and thanking me for going public. I mean, it was an absolute ton of people. Now most of those people didn’t go public, but the reason they didn’t go public was because they were terrified of what the reaction might be if they did so. But it was still gratifying to hear from all the people who agreed with me.
Some people would prefer to be quiet, but based on your email, it doesn’t necessarily sound like you are one of those people.
I think you’d be really impressed by the number of people who would reach out to say they agree with you if you’re willing to go public in favor of in-person education.
“I had a debate with a buddy about ‘insider’ COVID vaccinations. My take was that it’s logical for the folks from Pflizer/Moderna/etc who are involved with the vaccine production to set aside a relatively small number of doses to be vaccinated themselves. Reason for that is it’s in everyone’s interests to prevent any downtime for any of them during the upcoming months of vaccine production. Friend’s point is that it would be unethical. If the public caught wind of it, negative PR would ensue for those companies. What’s your take?”
Now that we know the vaccine is safe, I think it makes sense for anyone who is involved in the distribution of the vaccine to be vaccinated to ensure that we are producing as many vaccines as possible.
That doesn’t mean I think, for instance, that the CEO’s entire family should get access to the vaccine, but I definitely think the people leading the drive for vaccination in the country should be protected from infection.
Look, we want this vaccine distribution to be as successful as possible. Imagine if, for instance, the twenty people most responsible for the vaccine’s distribution suddenly had to quarantine because they tested positive. And if that quarantine ended up costing a month’s worth of vaccinations, thereby resulting in additional deaths that might have otherwise been avoided?
What sense does that make?
Now that we know the vaccine is safe, this just feels like a no brainer to me.
I think the people at the companies working the hardest to ensure the mass distribution of this vaccine should definitely be vaccinated.
Thanks for reading the anonymous mailbag.
As always, send your anonymous mailbag questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, anonymity guaranteed.
And I hope all of you have a fantastic Thanksgiving.