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Anonymous Mailbag

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for me to solve all the life problems of everyone in the OutKick universe in the anonymous mailbag.

For those who don’t know, we are officially underway with the new Clay Travis and Buck Sexton radio show, which airs from 12-3 pm eastern time, 9 am-12 pm pacific time, in all fifty states on over 400 radio stations. So if you haven’t already checked it out, I’d encourage you to listen, subscribe and rate the new show podcast, which you can find here.

As always, you can send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

Okay, here we go:

“So I’m a junior in high school and my girlfriend is a senior. We’re in a long distance relationship. I live in Philadelphia and she lives an hour away in New Jersey. We usually hang out on weekends, I’ll sleep over at her place or vice versa. I met her last summer and we have been dating ever since, I truly am in love with this girl and could see myself marrying her (I know I’m young but wouldn’t want to lose this woman). This leads to my question, she’s a great athlete and has offers from all the Ivies (I think the road to hell is paved with Ivy League degrees but that’s a different matter) and her dream school is Princeton. But in the last couple months I’ve been convincing her to go to UPenn which is a 10 minute walk from my house. So am I a jackass and in the wrong for trying to convince her to go to school closer to me since it’s just a high school relationship even though we are both in love and have planned our future together?”

She should go to her top college choice and not consider you at all in making that college choice. This may sound harsh, but I’m just playing the odds here. Her college choice is likely to matter far more in her life than her high school boyfriend. Her dream school is Princeton. Presumably she has a reason for that being her dream school. UPenn is also a fantastic school, but if she picks it based on you, what happens if you go away to college after a year? Then she picked her college based on you, and you aren’t even in the same city any more.

Sure, you might be thinking to yourself — “But if she came to school here, I wouldn’t leave and go elsewhere for college!”

And you might even believe that. Hell, you might even follow through on your promise and end up staying in Philadelphia just because she came to UPenn. The problem with this is you might also be selling your future opportunities short by not taking the best college opportunity available to you because of your high school relationship.

That’s especially the case because, even if you both end up in Philadelphia, the odds of you both finishing college and still being together are incredibly low. Meaning you both might end up picking lesser college choices and not even last very much longer than your enrollment window.

Let me be clear about this: in general, you shouldn’t pick your college based on a high school relationship. Ever. Sure, you may have truly met the love of your life in high school. But that isn’t true for most people. And even if you are deeply in love in high school, you are both likely to change and evolve a great deal during college and your early twenties. If you’re truly meant to be together, you’ll withstand long distance and, significantly, you should both be encouraging each other to make the best choice for each other, not to make the best choice for a high school relationship.

I hope you care enough for her to encourage her to make the best school choice, not the best high school relationship choice.

“Big fan of the show, been listening to you for over 2 years now and excited to see where your new show with Buck Sexton goes. I am a football coach at a state institution FBS school. We have a very good program, but I am amazed at how we are still concerned about COVID even with virtually every state reopening now and the amount of data that shows that none of our players are in any danger at all. I know the school administration must take COVID seriously for CYA purposes, but when will common sense prevail?

There has been a big push to get all of our players and coaches vaccinated. The majority of our players are not vaccinated, and they do not want to get the vaccine because they do not trust it (especially the African American players). Overall, our school has been much more laid back when it comes to COVID rules than a lot of other places, but there is talk that for those who don’t get vaccinated, the rules will become stricter for unvaccinated individuals this upcoming season than they were last year at the height of all this. It sounds like we are going to try and make being unvaccinated as miserable as possible to try and convince people to get the vaccine. All COVID testing is going to happen early in the morning until you decide to get the shot. There is talk of having different locker rooms for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Our head coach has even made the statement he is thinking about mandating all walk-ons must be vaccinated or they will be kicked off the team. The biggest point of trying to get everyone vaccinated is because it will eliminate contact tracing and will prevent any games from getting cancelled.

From a legal perspective, at what point does this become discriminatory behavior? How can you mandate that walk-ons get an EXPERIMENTAL vaccine and scholarship players do not? How can you put guys in different locker rooms or not allow certain people in meeting rooms just because they are unvaccinated or force one group to wake up early for testing while others sleep in? Several of our coaches have had COVID and at least 50 players (probably more) had COVID at some point last year. There is no reason for these kids to get vaccinated when they’ve already had the virus. You would think that getting an antibody test for these kids would eliminate contact tracing and testing, but if you are not vaccinated you are going to have to get tested 3 times a week during the season regardless. I don’t even know why we will be testing this season. Our stadium will be at 100% capacity, none of our kids are at any health risk from being exposed to the virus, and the pandemic is over. Every time we test, we might as well light our money on fire because it isn’t doing anybody any good. The more I have to hear about all these dumb ideas and the more people on the left try to hold this country back form reopening, the more and more I am convinced that liberal wokeism is truly a mental disease. If all of these threats go through, is there a lawsuit for unvaccinated individuals, especially if they can prove that they already have antibodies?”

Anyone can file a lawsuit, but the question is, what kind of success would that person have or be likely to have? Before I answer this question any further, let me be perfectly clear: I’m a lawyer, but I am not an expert in this area of the law. So if you truly want to pursue filing a lawsuit, you should speak to someone in your city or state who specializes in cases such as these.

With that in mind, let me analyze your question as best I can. First, this situation is complicated because the case law, given how new COVID is, is still relatively sparse on issues such as these. But the key is there needs to be some sort of injury that can be redressed by a lawsuit and some remedy that appropriately addresses that injury.

So what’s the injury here? I suppose you’d argue it’s the different treatment for the vaccinated vs. the unvaccinated. (Remember, your players and coaches aren’t receiving a mandate. They can choose not to be vaccinated.) Now a player or coach who is unvaccinated would be suing saying he’s being unfairly treated based on his medical choices and that the unfair treatment acts as a default mandate. That is, the school isn’t officially requiring it, but they are making everyone who doesn’t get the virus so miserable that it’s effectively a requirement. This argument would be complicated because most universities already require students to be vaccinated against other diseases in order to attend the school. So one of the big hurdles your players would face, in addition to the established legal precedent allowing vaccination requirements for students, is what COVID requirements exist for regular students? If the school is mandating COVID vaccines for all students or treating the vaccinated and the unvaccinated differently, then you’re probably out of luck when it comes to the football team.

Even if all students aren’t being required to receive COVID vaccines, the school could argue that football is a privilege and that further additional requirements for athletes aren’t an undue burden. Among the considerations here might be, what is, for instance, happening with other extracurricular activities like the marching band? All of these rules and regulations would factor into whether the vaccine requirement — and difference of treatment — are reasonable.

The best case scenario for any athlete who wanted to sue would be there are no vaccine requirements for regular students and these vaccine requirements for other extracurricular athletes are more stringent than elsewhere. If, for instance, the football team had more stringent requirements than the band, that would help your argument. (I’m presuming all sports teams are treated the same in a university setting, but if that’s not true, then you could argue for the most lenient team treatment being applied to all athletes.)

Okay, let’s leave behind the legal arguments for a moment and consider this: the larger issue is that these restrictions are nonsensical, particularly for those who have already had the virus. The purpose of a vaccine is to give your body antibodies to the virus. Well, that’s exactly what the vaccine creates. In other words, the vaccine seeks to mimic the results of an actual infection. So when you say people who had the vaccine are being treated differently than people who had the virus, you’re creating an absurd distinction between the two situations given the end result of an infection and a vaccination is the same — in both cases you are left with antibodies to protect you from the virus. In fact, there’s actually medical evidence that natural infection antibodies are more long lasting than vaccine infection antibodies.

If you truly want to follow the science and obsessively test for antibodies, then you could do monthly antibody testing of all players and anyone with antibodies should be treated the same. That is, have no restrictions whatsoever, whether players or coaches have antibodies from natural infection or vaccination. Again, treat like situations in a like manner.

But back to the primary point: young and healthy players are, statistically, under zero risk from COVID. In fact, playing football is far more dangerous to their health than COVID is. At this point, there is no health reason whatsoever for any team to have any restrictions predicated on COVID at all.

I’m not sure if head coaches will be willing to come out publicly and advocate for this, but they should. Because the seasonal flu is far more dangerous to your average college athlete than COVID is, and no school that I’m aware of has ever mandated seasonal flu shots.

There should be no COVID requirements at all for any sports teams.

The problem is that just about everyone in sports is terrified of being crushed by social media for saying this.

Which might be the best part of a lawsuit, honestly, because it would provide a forum to advance the argument that COVID isn’t a threat and that COVID restrictions are nonsensical.

My hope is that by the fall, COVID infections are going to be so minimal that the fear porn finally loses the overall battle. But we’ll have to see if that’s true or not.

“You’re wrong about waiting until 30 to get married, let me tell you why. I got married two months after my 22nd birthday, 6 months removed from graduating college. My wife was 20 and still in college on our wedding day. Two years later, after she graduated, we had kid #1, and 17 months after that we had kid #2. I got all of the sleepless nights out of the way at a time when I didn’t have much responsibility at work, and was free to devote the incredible amount of time required to raise a kid without balancing a ridiculous work schedule because I was still low on the totem pole. I had kids before 90% of my co-workers, and as I progressed up the ladder I could offer parenting advice from a ‘been there, done that’ perspective. Not to mention being seen as more mature because I already had a wife and kids. This created a dynamic where co-workers sought me out first for parenting advice, then it led into asking for work advice also, allowing me to showcase my skills and build a good reputation. Fast forward, my kids are 10 and 9, I’m a financial executive who doesn’t show up to the executive management meeting bleary eyed because Jr. didn’t sleep last night. I’m through the most demanding parenting years allowing me to focus more on work without sacrificing parenting time during the most crucial development years. I’m young enough to wear my kids out at theme parks and have the financial means to travel anywhere, unburdened by small kids and nap time.”

First, happy belated Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Second, I stand by the fact that most men aren’t ready to be good dads in their early twenties, much less be married in their early twenties.

That doesn’t mean this is true for everyone, but I think it’s true for most dads.

I’m a way better dad today at 42 than I was at 32. And I had kids fairly young too — I had my first kid at 28 and got married at 25 years old.

I was a much younger dad than most of the guys I went to school with. Now I’m 42 with a 13, 10 and six-year-old. I’ll have a kid in college at 47-years-old. That’s wild even for me to think about. Once your kids are all at school age levels, you’re through the most challenging years of parenting and you can kind of sit back and assess things in a logical manner.

And when I look back now what I regret the most — aside from my wife and I being a bit overwhelmed with a couple of young kids while we both worked full time — is I’d like to go back in time now and provide more financial support to my younger self. A little over decade ago, I was making $45k a year with two kids when I lost my writing job at FanHouse.

Let me tell you, that was a pretty stressful time for my family.

It sounds like you were never financially insecure at all with your young kids. I think that’s a rarity, honestly. I think most people who have kids at a young age deal with a great deal of financial insecurity, and I believe that stress and lack of time can impact your parenting.

Most people I know in their early twenties were in a difficult spot financially. And for most parents, I think the most stressful thing about parenting is managing the finances of taking care of your kids. If you have money or a financial nest egg, you can lessen the stress of parenting either with nannies or great supportive child care. (Having free support from family, which many people rely on, can also be a big help.)

But the less money and financial security you have, the more challenging being a parent is.

Just ask any parent struggling to afford to get their kids into the best public school district in their area, especially in the current housing market. Struggling to find the most affordable living arrangement in the best school district — or battling to get your kid in a better day care or private school — can put a ton of pressure on parents.

So for most people, I think the best option, especially for men, is to wait until thirty years old or older to get married and prepare to start a family. You’re just more settled in your life, both financially and emotionally, at that point.

I acknowledge women have much more of a biological issue here than men do. If you’re a woman and you want to have multiple kids, then you probably want to get started, at the latest, by your early thirties. Otherwise, the math on having two or three kids gets complicated. I think one reason we’re seeing average family sizes decrease substantially isn’t because parents only want one kid. It’s that sometimes the late start for women due to the financial pressures inherent in parenting make that the only viable option.

Having said all of this, I certainly understand that everyone’s perspective on these issues is different. Parenting isn’t a one-size-fits-all universe. Some of you will do better getting married early and having kids early, but what I’m telling my own kids is to focus on their education, get married once they’re financially stable and only then plan on having kids.

For most men, I think doing all of this after the age of thirty is the best option.

Okay, I’m off to the radio studio for day two of the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show.

As always, thank all of you for support of OutKick and keep your anonymous mailbag questions coming to claytravis@gmail.com.

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.

3 Comments

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  1. MARRY YOUNG!! Have kids young. Get them out of the house while you are still young enough to have some SERIOUS fun with your bride!

    I married my wife almost 30 years ago – right before we started college. I had a built-in roommate, a date every Friday and a “study-buddy” when we needed each other. Both of us graduated “Cum Laude” – even while working full-time jobs, since our parents pulled all financial support after we wed. We had our first child as Seniors in college – and got LOTS of free credits from our professors for it!!!

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