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I could have made this entire mailbag praise from Alabama fans for writing about the NCAA’s continuing investigation of Auburn last week when the site launched. Bama fans fell over backward thanking me for being the only truth teller in the South, the only person willing to stand up to Auburn. Meanwhile Tiger fans spewed vitriol in my inbox, they hated me more than any media member on Earth not named Thayer Evans. Then came Friday’s uncovering of the T-Town Menswear shenanigans. Immediately, the emails shifted gears. Suddenly Auburn fans loved me, praised me, said I could do no wrong, thanked me for standing up to the mighty Alabama media bulwark in the state.
Meanwhile, some Alabama fans suddenly wanted me dead.
And that wasn’t all. In the past week Alabama fans have accused me of being a terrorist, a racist, and, you can’t even make this stuff up, started a website accusing me of cheating on my wife with my kickball teammates.
Seriously. All of these things are true.
If the messenger is getting attacked that aggressively, you know that fans actually recognize how legit this story really is. By next week, I’ll probably be the actual Unabomber. Or, as you can see from the above picture, Osama bin Clay. (By the way, that’s the fine photoshop work of @k1ingcrimson on Twitter.)
So I’m going to start this week’s mailbag with a couple of death threats. But know that Alabama fans have already started to fight back Auburn fans. With one of the most salacious rumors ever floated in SEC country. I’ll give y’all a two word hint to the latest story we’re chasing down: pregnant towels.
Longtime readers of the mailbag — and we’ve been doing this mailbag now for five years — know that I always give out the beaver pelt trader of the week award. This week’s award is going to a writer for OKTC. His piece this week personifies the scope of what I want this site to be, fun, fearless, and with absolutely stellar writing. So if you haven’t gotten a chance to read LT’s piece, The Complicated Mistress, go check it out.
He’s our beaver pelt trader of the week. I hope he relishes the award from his military base in the sandy Middle-East.
Now on to the death threats:
“Clay, your back is unwatched and should be coated in Kevlar.”
Not to be outdone, Chuck also left a phone number: 774-265-4521
Seriously, his phone number. One of y’all should call him and ask why he left his phone number with me. Is that death threat courtesy? Did he expect me to call and try to talk him out of the death threat?
How would our call have gone? Here’s my best guess.
Me: Hello, this is Clay Travis, you just threatened to kill me.
Chuck: (beer cans scatter onto floor of double wide trailer, dogs bark, a fourteenth child cries for want of milk) We have 743 national championships. How many do you have?
Me: None, the same number as you.
Chuck: I hate yew.
Me: Do you hate me or Cam Newton more?
Chuck: (In fuliminating rage, has heart attack, dies.)
So maybe I should call Chuck.
Or maybe y’all should.
“let me tell you one thing clay, you sun of a bitch.best thing for you to do is keep your f—– mouth shut….you worthless pile of s—.i know you live in nashville .pray i don`t find you….”
He also left me his email address, as all good death threateners do: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve got a feeling that 90% of Internet death threats come from hotmail addresses. If you’re dumb enough to still use a hotmail address, you’re probably dumb enough to leave your actual email address on a death threat.
Also, “sun of a bitch?” I mean, can you even make that up?
Clay, why do you hate Alabama so much?
I got so many variations of this question that I thought I should respond.
Look, I don’t hate Alabama. I actually love it down there. And, seriously, I like Alabama and Auburn fans. Both of you.
Every single time I’ve been to games in the state I’ve had a spectacular time. Your state is the heartbeat of college football. I went on Jack Arute and Mike Leach’s show and my donation nearly doubled the amount of money they raised at their tornado benefit show. So I actually like y’all. I know it’s easier for y’all to dismiss the story if you think I’m motivated by hate.
But I’m not.
Would I prefer that, say, OKTC broke the Ohio State story instead of the Alabama one? Yes, because I’m an SEC guy. But trust me, we’re going to make a lot of programs squirm before all is said and done on this site. Right now Alabama is the one squirming.
But OTKC is going to have a ton of programs in the crosshairs before all is said and done. We’re not going to discriminate on what we cover, who we cover, or how scandalous those stories may be. We’re completely independent so we can actually chase stories that other entities — cough, ESPN, cough — are too much of pansies to cover.
Why are we doing this?
The answer is simple: the NCAA rulebook is broken and stories that we’ll break will lead to an NCAA rulebook that actually makes more sense. I mean, does it really make logical sense to any one with half a brain that if Julio Jones got three free suits in 2009 Alabama’s national title could be taken away?
Of course not.
Any system with punishments such as these is laughable. But right now that’s the system we have. And I think the NCAA’s rules on amateurism are a lot like the mortgage crisis that suddenly blew up in our country –both relied on a foundation of untruths and a cabal of complicit individiduals making a ton of money who knew the real truth but were just too incentivized to acknowledge that truth. Just as a stripper in Las Vegas shouldn’t have been able to buy five $500k houses, there’s no way in hell that men’s football players and basketball players are amateurs. Applying an amateur standard to them is a fundamentally flawed system of jurisprudence.
We’re going to blow up the NCAA before all is said and done. Stories like the Alabama one prove what a crap system currently exists. Shining the light on them exposes the fraudulent foundation of modern college athletics.
Ryan P. writes:
Think about this scenario:
Hundreds of pictures are cirulating all over the interwebz of Cam Newton, Nick Fairley, Michael Dyer, and other Auburn players signing hundreds of autographs on hundreds of different types of memorabilia in a suit store owned by an Auburn booster. Auburn became aware that the owner was selling these items and HAND DELIVERED a generic cease and desist letter to the owner without addressing it to him or the business. THEN, after he apparently didn’t cooperate with the cease and desist, then hand delivered him a disassociation letter three months later. Then…THEN….Gene Chizik goes on national radio three days ago (four months after the disassociation was supposedly delivered) and says…and I quote “we sent him a cease and desist a long time ago so that was taken care of. I’m not aware of any wrong doing so until someone proves to me that rules were broken, and they haven’t yet, I’m not going to ban our players from going there. It wouldn’t be fair to our players.”
The national media would absolutely rip Chizik apart, and Finebaum would literally be laughing, scoffing, and calling for him to be fired. Chizik and Auburn would be the laughing stock of college football. But if the all powerful Nick Saban says it, everyone nods their head in agreement and doesn’t question a thing. This is not a joke..Nick Saban said it. First of all, God forbid the dictator that is THE NICK SABAN, who is in control of EVERY SINGLE ASPECT of HIS football program, from top to bottom ask his players to stop hanging out in a men’s clothing store. I mean, that wouldn’t be fair. And what would his poor players do in their spare time? Secondly, if their utter failure of a compliance department saw enough shady crap going on that they not only sent the booster a cease and desist letter, but later completely disassociated themselves from him, then aren’t those possibly…maybe good enough reasons for Lord Nick to go out on an “unfair” limb with his players and ask them to…I don’t know…maybe stop going to the store? No…of course not. I mean, no one had PROVEN TO HIM THAT RULES HAD BEEN BROKEN. Wouldn’t want to be unfair to those poor players that like to hang out in men’s clothing stores. Hey little nicky, if your compliance department disassociates from a booster, and 4 months later you still haven’t told your players to stop hanging out in his store, signing hundreds of autographs, and posing for pictures, you might want to go ahead and do that. This is not a joke. This actually happened. Nick Saban actually said what I quoted above. And NOT ANYONE has questioned the utter stupidity of that statement and the obvious questions it raises. You can’t make this stuff up.
When we break stories like this about a program that you love, the first thing I’m going to ask you to do is this: pretend your most hated rival had done it and think what your response would be.
If Auburn players were featured in all of these pictures, I’d be the second most popular person in Alabama behind Bear Bryant.
Because it’s Alabama players, some Bama fans want me dead, I’m a terrorist, I’m a racist, I’m cheating on my wife. Hell, I feel a bit like Barack Obama. Pretty soon Alabama fans are going to be demanding my long-form birth certificate.
Incidentally, the mailbag is now brought to you by Counsel on Call, which is one of the best legal companies in the country.
I’ll tell you why. Because when I was writing Dixieland Delight I needed a way to make a living as a lawyer while still taking the risk of going on the road to write a book that hadn’t been sold to any publisher. That’s a terrifying decision to make because most lawyers don’t have any schedule flexibility and most of us don’t have the financial wherewithal to quit the law cold turkey.
So how could I write the book and still have money to live on? Counsel on Call was the answer.
I had to write this book. So I took the risk and Counsel on Call provided me the safety net. I knew if the book idea bombed, or my CBS column tanked, I could always practice law with them while continuing to pursue my harebrained writing career. And while I was writing the book I was still practicing law.
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