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All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s Friday and I hope everyone out there is having a fantastic (early) start to your weekends.

I want to say thank you for all the support you guys have shown Outkick as we’ve launched the new site and really taken a number of huge steps towards being a major media company. I couldn’t be more excited about how Jason Whitlock has already hit the ground running and joined our talented cadre of writers and behind the scenes people here.

Buckle up, the next several months — and years — are going to be a lot of fun for this site. (Especially once we get a handle on how to manage all the traffic we’ve seen in the past two weeks).

And if you really want to support Outkick, go sign up for our VIP membership. We are building out a new and improved VIP only message board, you are only allowed to comment on the site if you’re a VIP, you get a direct radio call in number, and, most importantly, you get access to our events, which are going to be outstanding. Plus, you get my gambling picks for college football.

As you head into the weekend, also please go subscribe for our Outkick podcasts. Here’s the radio show podcast, which is going to have its best month ever in June.

And here’s the Outkick the Show podcast, which is going to be the first part of the coming Outkick podcast network.

Give us a five star review and if Danny G. reads it, you’ll get an autographed copy of my book.

Okay, here we go:

Victor writes:

“You must have some thoughts on the blog world attacking Bill Simmons. Feel like it’s a lot of pent up envy about who was asked to go to the Ringer and the Grantland blow up.”

I don’t know Simmons personally at all — I’ve never met him or talked with him in my life — but to me the big lesson is you can’t try and pacify woke culture. They’re never satisfied no matter what you do.

Simmons hired a ton of writers and The Ringer embraced an unabashed woke aesthetic. But none of that mattered for Simmons. His staff — and the woke sports media — still came for him with a vengeance. That’s why my argument is you can’t beat the woke world by appeasement. You have to stand your ground, not give an inch, and combat these people in the marketplace of ideas with everything you’ve got.

Because they aren’t ever satisfied.

Left wingers made fun of Trump when he said the woke universe wouldn’t be satisfied with Confederate statues coming down, eventually they would move on to George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson and others. And what’s happened? Exactly what he said would happen, they’ve started to tear down statues of any white male — even people like Ulysses S. Grant who commanded the northern armies during the Civil War.

This woke virus can’t be appeased because the people embracing it hate America’s past. All of it. They want to wipe out our history, they’re America’s version of the Taliban, running around and destroying anything they deem impure from the past.

I keep waiting for Democratic leaders to repudiate these woketivists, but so far it hasn’t happened because I think the Democratic leaders, especially the white ones, are worried about being targets of the mob too. Instead of repudiating this absurdity you’ve got people like Nancy Pelosi embracing the idea of erasing the past by removing anything people complain about from the Capitol.

And it’s not just politicians making these choices either, it’s all the companies out there, which have gone Uber woke and are alienating their audiences in the process. I mean, look at ESPN’s WokeCenter programming slate from Wednesday night — it was the lowest rated primetime slate in 25 years.

There’s so much fear in America right now that even people in positions of power are afraid of the woke mobs. That’s incredible cowardice because if you’re afraid of what people might say about you, why are you in office in the first place?

Maybe I’d be the worst politician ever, but I genuinely don’t care what people say about my opinions. I’m not tiptoeing up to them, I’m going to tell you exactly what I believe.

We all know how this woketivism ends — at least if you look at history, we do — it ends with the woke population turning on each other over how purely woke they are. But I don’t know how long it will take for that implosion to occur. And I think the implosion would be aided a great deal by people being willing to combat these woke idiots in the marketplace of ideas. The problem is too many people are afraid of becoming targets themselves so they stay on the sidelines.

Suffice it to say this, I’ve never been more happy to own a media company than right now.

Not only do I believe Outkick is going to be wildly successful as a business, but — and as a huge capitalist I can’t believe I’m saying this — if we didn’t exist there’s no one else out there to hold the line and fight the battles we’re fighting. It’s kind of scary, honestly, how quickly most of sports media has laid down their arms and stopped even arguing with the woke idiots out there.

The shaming of Drew Brees terrified many people out there. You can’t even say you believe in standing for the anthem now without becoming a target yourself.

But back to Simmons, I think much of the animus he’s attracting right now is about The Ringer selling for $200+ million. There are an awful lot of guys sitting around making $50k a year in sports media who want to take shots at a guy like Simmons who made a ton of money in an industry they can barely keep a job in.

To me he’s just perfect evidence for the fact that even if you try to appease the woke mob it doesn’t work.

Which is why for a ton of you reading this right now I feel like Outkick is an oasis in the middle of a woke desert.

And while the rest of the country may be losing its mind, we aren’t going anywhere, we are going to be here for a long time to come. (Assuming we can get our servers to handle the traffic).

John writes:

“My kids attend a good private school. About 200 students, grades K-12. My kids are in 2nd and 6th. My wife is absolutely against them returning to school. I’ve followed you for a while. I’ve tried to use facts, but she insists they’ll die if they return. How do I handle this?”

You mean how do you convince an irrational person to be rational? Let me know if you figure it out because I’d like to be able to convince the country to return to normalcy too.

I think all you can do for your wife is put together all the facts on childhood death rates and present them to her. The most succinct, I think, is that your kids are far more likely to die of the flu or pneumonia than they are the coronavirus.

Yet she’s never even considered keeping the kids home from school when they are healthy.

What I think is going to end up happening, honestly, is a substantial majority of parents — somewhere around 70% of them — are going to want their kids going back to school. (I am part of this group. I love my kids more than anything, but my 12, 9, and 5 year old’s definitely need to be back in school this fall. And the truth is, it’s much less integral that my kids are back in school because they are comparatively advantaged. The kids who need to be back in school the most are the ones who come from impoverished households because they are falling behind more at home when it comes to education and health. I mean, just think about how many kids rely on school for breakfast or lunch to feed them. Schools being closed are the most devastating to these kids.)

But I think around 30% of parents will stay panicked and not want their kids to return to school.

Which is why what I think will end up happening as a result is schools will have to provide in person and home learning options. Which is going to be a huge strain on families and students. Primarily because you can’t really teach young kids via computer. That is, my kindergarten student can’t sit in front of a computer all day and learn like my seventh grader can.

Plus, there are major technical difficulties when it comes to functional and reliable internet for people all over this country. (Which is why you can make an argument that Internet access should be like electricity and water, cheap affordable, and everywhere).

I think in person school this fall is an absolute necessity, but I don’t think everyone is going to embrace it.

Given that the transmission rate from children to adults has been found to be negligible, risk shouldn’t be the reason why schools stay closed.

If some teachers or administrators are too old or immune-suppressed to feel comfortable at work, I think you find ways for them to work from home, but we can’t keep our schools shut down until a vaccine exists because we may never have a reliable vaccine.

Sweet writes:

“Will we ever see a moderate third party emerge as a legit threat to the republicans and democrats?”

It’s hard to foresee that happening right now.

Primarily because it’s virtually impossible to actually win the presidency as a third party candidate. Why is that? Because independent candidates don’t end up pulling evenly from both parties — they pull from one side more than the other which means a third party typically strengthens either the Democrat or the Republican.

In recent history Ross Perot pulled more from Republicans than he did Democrats, helping Bill Clinton win election to the presidency.

Even Michael Bloomberg, who has more money than anyone who has ever run for president to throw into a campaign, didn’t believe there was a pathway to the presidency as an independent. (His polling suggested he would pull most of his support from the Democrats, thereby handing the election to Donald Trump).

And if you win a Senate seat as an independent, for instance, you have to caucus with one party or the other based on the rules of the Senate, so you end up having to pick a side eventually anyway.

So as much as I believe it’s needed, I don’t think it’s likely any time soon because both parties have a stranglehold on the pathway to the presidency.

MJ writes:

“What ever happened to herd immunity? At first, there was talk that’s what needed to happen for things to get back to normal. Now it’s just wait for a vaccine.”

Herd immunity requires difficulty and danger, two things that modern American society won’t countenance. We want ease and safety, even if that leads to a more difficult path.

I’ve been arguing for months that the best pathway towards a return to normalcy was having all people fifty and under — 65 and under if they are really healthy — going back to work and asking the elderly, and especially those in nursing homes, to continue to self-quarantine. (Over half of all deaths in most states are from nursing homes.)

That way, at least in theory, the people who got infected would be young and healthy. Given the data we have now we know this virus has minimal impact on the vast majority of young people. That’s a weakness that allows us to attack the virus. This virus would be much more dangerous if it provided an even level of danger to all ages. Or, and I shudder to even think about this, if instead of primarily impacting the elderly it impacted children the most.

We could, in theory, infect everyone under the age of forty in this country, attain herd immunity as a result, have a minimal amount of deaths, and eliminate the necessity of waiting for a vaccine. Now that’s easier said than done — and it comes with risk because some people would die as a result — but the point is young people getting this virus isn’t a bad thing. Arguably, it’s a good thing because it puts us on a pathway to beat the virus without relying on a vaccine.

The virus isn’t going away and while I hope we end up with a highly effective vaccine I think it’s incredibly optimistic to think the vaccine is going to work perfectly and eradicate this thing forever and do it in under a year.

I mean, I’d love for that to the case, but I don’t think our national policy can be based on that fact.

I just think our national discussion — and debate — surrounding the virus has been remarkably unintelligent and not rooted in very many facts at all. As a result we’ve chosen fear over facts.

Dave writes:

“Are you dominating ESPN in the 6-9 am EST radio time slot?”

Yes.

But if you doubt that, let’s put it this way, in the four years I’ve been on the air in the morning ESPN radio is now making their third change to go head-to-head against me. I’d equate that to thinking in terms of coaching hires. How many teams that are doing well against their rivals have had three coaching changes in four years?

None.

So, yes, Outkick is rolling in that morning time slot.

And right now I don’t see any changes they are going to make that will impact our growth very substantially.

Radio talent is rare and I just don’t think ESPN has much of a bench of radio talent right now.

In fact, with Will Cain leaving you can argue the overall talent on ESPN radio has never been lower.

Brian writes:

“Will Tennessee be Gator Bait again in 2020?

Bonus: How would an absence of fans impact results of college football (which is heavily impacted by home field advantage)?”

I pick Tennessee to beat Florida every year and am pretty much always disappointed. So, yes, Tennessee will beat Florida in 2020.

As for the lack of home field advantage, I saw a Tennessee message board thread a couple of weeks ago that debated whether Jarrett Guarantano would be a much better quarterback without fans present. The theory was that the crowd makes his panic in big game situations worse.

Which is just perfect. (And I kind of agree with this theory because Guarantano does seem like a very streaky passer).

I love that SEC fans are trying to analyze how no fans might impact games this fall when it comes down to the psychology of individual players.

To me, the biggest impact is likely to be in officiating. Without a rabid home crowd, I think you’d have less favorable calls go for the home team. (Officials argue they aren’t impacted by crowds, but the data suggests otherwise).

I also wonder whether scoring runs will be less common. That is, my thesis would be crowds impact emotional swings in momentum. College football is notorious for wild swings in momentum. Without crowds there to amplify the momentum swings, I wonder if college players will be less likely to swing up or down as much.

Finally, I’d think communication would be way easier without loud crowds. That is, you’d have less line up and formation errors because coaches might be able to scream out instructions from the sideline to players and be heard more frequently. Not to mention players would be better able to communicate with each other on the field.

So I would think road teams would obviously benefit the most from crowds not being present, but I’d also tend to think the better teams would benefit as well, since their level of execution would be at a higher level. It takes wacky results, typically, for an inferior team to pull off an upset, and my theory would be that’s less likely without crowds.

Teams with larger venues who are mediocre, the Tennessee’s of the world, would probably be hurt the most. Since I think those teams could harness the power of their crowd more so than teams with smaller venues and smaller crowds, the Vanderbilt’s of the world, for instance, who would have the least impact from their crowds.

As for Tennessee vs. Florida, this will be a show me game for Jeremy Pruitt.

So far the Vols have arguably had their worst SEC performances against Florida in the first two years of his reign. I think it will be a dogfight come September. And Tennessee has a brutal schedule right now. Oklahoma and Georgia on the road, Florida and Alabama at home. I’m not sure any team in the country has four tougher games than those four. If you gave me 1-3 in those four right now, I’d take it.

And I’d rank the wins I’d most like to get in this order: 1. Alabama 2. Florida 3. Georgia 4. Oklahoma

I think Tennessee’s probably an 8-4 team in 2020 and then next season will be poised to take the proverbial next step and contend for the SEC East again.

Thanks for reading Outkick — you guys have been flooding the site so much, we’ve had major issues handling the traffic — but we do really appreciate your loyalty.

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is an author, radio show host, lawyer, TV analyst, and the founder and lead writer of Outkick (formerly known as Outkick the Coverage).
Read More about Clay

2 Comments

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  1. Democrat leaders are deliberately letting their own cities burn. Even here in Saint Petersburg. I can’t even go downtown and I likely won’t pay to see the Rays or Rowdies (soccer). In st pete lefties of all ages have been protesting since the fake impeachment back in December.

    Why would I wanna walk through a gauntlet of wickedness to see anything. I used to brag about living here, but why would anyone live in one of these burning cities that do not respect my liberty or our American Icons, which include historical political figures, monuments, museums and sports.

    I think our only hope in America is for people to defy government orders to lock down or wear masks. In fact, I think it’s critical that Americans Reassert That we Govern Ourselves, but not as a mob.

    Keep up the great work Clay.

    At this rate OKTC will be Too Big To Fail!!!

  2. Sing Along:
    We can’t go out to the ball game,
    It costs too much to get in.
    Twenty more bucks for a beer and a snack,
    They don’t seem to care if we ever come back.
    Now it’s cheat, cheat, cheat for the vic’try,
    Whoever wins, it’s a shame.
    And it’s one… two… lockouts and strikes
    In this new ball game.

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