All That and a Bag of Mail

CLEVELAND, OH – JUNE 8: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers goes up for a dunk against the Golden State Warriors against the Golden State Warriors in Game Three of the 2016 NBA Finals on June 8, 2016 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) Jesse D. Garrabrant

It’s Friday and the mailbag is here to rescue you from pretending to do actual work on a Friday in the summer. (Everyone knows that Fridays in the summer are the least productive days of the year. I’m confident there is scientific evidence for this somewhere.)

So here we go:

Matt writes:

“If the four major professional sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) were to have a Game of Thrones style war i.e. sword fighting, arrows, spears, etc.. which league do you think comes out victorious? To make things fair I think you have to stipulate that each army would be the same size since there are far less NBA players than say NFL players, but with that caveat I have a tough time deciding a winner.”

Okay, let me break this down, let’s just go ahead and say that every league gets to select their 450 best warriors. (That’s how many NBA players there are so we’ll allow the entire NBA to fight.)

The NBA players are the best athletes in the world, but they’d also be the biggest targets. That is, they literally have more body to defend than anyone else. The NFL players would be the best combination of size and strength, the NHL guys would have the most practice fighting — but without weapons — and baseball players are clearly the worst athletes, even if you only take the top 450 athlete/warriors.

I think coaching/generaling would be relatively even, although NFL teams execute much more complex game plans than any other leagues. But in a situation where you have 450 fighters and equal weaponry, I think generalship would diminish quickly and you’d end up with a ton of individual fights taking place simultaneously.  

Ultimately I’m going to rank them thusly, with my explanations:

1. The NHL

I think comfort with fighting would matter a great deal when it came to a battle like this. NHL players have practice at physical combat, albeit without weapons. Plus, you’d get to pick the top half of the NHL players that are the best fighters.

My bet in a battle like this: fighting skills matter.  

What’s more, hockey players are tough as nails and they’re spry on their feet and quick. God forbid the battle actually be in cold weather like around Winterfell. (Hockey players would lock up the greatest victory since Cannae if they set a trap for a battle that was actually on a frozen lake. Can you imagine how fast they’d be skating around with their swords and spears?)

2. The NFL

Being physically strong, tough, and fast as hell has to work to an army’s advantage. But I’m honestly not sure how you stock your army. You’ve got 1696 people on active NFL rosters — by far the biggest pro league — so you can select the 450 greatest warriors in the NFL. What position dominates? I’m thinking just about every starting safety is picked — these dudes are already head hunters — every defensive end and linebacker is on the team, maybe some running backs like Adrian Peterson. (Also, Ray Lewis has to be an honorary member of this team since he’s already killed two men with a knife.)

But I don’t think you end up with many offensive linemen because they aren’t as agile, maybe you go with some tackles since they have good footwork and are basically giants. No quarterbacks are selected — no fucking kickers — wide receivers tend to be divas, so you probably wouldn’t take that many of them either. Cornerbacks are quick and agile, but typically small and averse to contact so they’re out. 

So your team is basically safeties, defensive ends, linebackers, and some tackles. (Also, you need Tim Tebow as an honorary member to lead the team prayer and then just fucking wreck people on behalf of Jesus.)

This crew of 1-450 would be the most physically imposing of all the armies which is why I’m tempted to pick them as the winners, but the problem is, how many of the 450 baddest asses in the NFL have actually ever been in a fight as adults? No one steps to these guys. Whereas all the NHL guys fight.

So in an extremely tight battle I’m going NHL over NFL.  

3. Major league baseball

You’d take the top half of major league baseball athletes, so by the end of this group you’d have a bunch of dudes who weren’t very athletic. You have to take all the top pitchers and turn them into a spear army, can you imagine how fast and accurate major league pitchers could throw spears? Just about every catcher, outfielder and short stop has to be in your army.

(Rougned Odor is just going to destroy some people out here).

Baseball players all have dad bods, so you’d have a bunch of big dudes who aren’t in great shape, and ultimately I just don’t have a lot of faith in baseball dudes to be that tough. Half your fighters would end up on the disabled list with back strains after a week sleeping in tents.  

4. The NBA

While they’re the best athletes pound for pound in pro sports NBA guys are fake tough guys who can’t fight.

Think about it, every time NBA dudes fight they’re out here windmilling around, tripping, throwing sideways punches. They would get massacred on a field of battle. I’m not sure we have seen an NBA guy who can throw a punch since Kermit Washington. 

This is the only army that would be pretending to get hit by spears and then looking around for someone to call a foul.

I will say that LeBron with a sword — if he actually fought — would be a death-defying spectacle. His reach would be incredible and he’s 280 pounds with 0% body fat. Who is killing LeBron one on one? The problem is you know General LeBron would hang back and “try to set up his army” and then when they started getting their asses kicked he’d switch teams.

Steph Curry would have to be money with a bow and arrow, right? I feel like his aim would translate. After every arrow shot, Steph would turn, make the count it sign, and then not even watch his shot and then some dude three hundred yards away just takes one right through the throat and dies.

I wrote all this and then put this poll up on Twitter to see whether y’all agreed with me.

Proving that I’m the best hypothetical question answerer of all time, Outkick voters agreed 100% with my rankings.  

Mony writes:

“I’M AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, FIRST OF ALL. Second, there’s been a lot of ink and Twitter hand-wringing about Mississippi State’s decision to accept Jeffery Simmons, with a lot of people saying that Miss State is making its campus unsafe for women, sets a bad example, etc.

My question is: would there be any outcry if a lower level school like Jackson State or a JUCO accepted him instead? Seems like there are some women or students that writers and Twitter police don’t care about as much-but a situation like that doesn’t fit the narrative of the big bad world of college sports. Thoughts?”

No, there would be no outcry, which points out how dumb the way we respond to situations like these are. Basically our theory seems to be not that a violent football player doesn’t deserve to receive a scholarship or get to play football in college, we just think less people should watch him play football. 

That’s his punishment for violence. 

How dumb is that?

Your punishment is that you play at a crappier football division than your talent would otherwise deserve. 

But you’ve hit on a question that I’ve thought about too — if you believe that a football player on scholarship is a threat to students at big schools, why is it okay for them to transfer to small schools and be threats to students there? #smallschoollivesmatter

It’s honestly absurd. If a football player is too dangerous for a big school, he’s too dangerous for a small school too. What our response proves is that really it’s window dressing, once the media and fans stop paying attention we don’t care about campus safety.  

Also, I HATE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MORE THAN ALL OF YOU. 

“Dear gayest of Muslims,

When I was born my parents decided that I shouldn’t be circumcised. This was fine with me and I had no problems until a year ago when i started to frequently get UTIs. Apparently my foreskin is too big so my urologist recommended that I get snipped and I had it done 2 days ago. So now I have to go 6 weeks without having sex or even masturbating. First, what can I do to keep my mind off sex for almost 2 months? I’d like to think I could master some kind of skill or become instantly brilliant like George in that Seinfeld episode. Second, if I hook up with a girl who I slept with before the procedure what do I say to her? She’s obviously going to notice the change so should I tell her the reason I got circumcised?”

Even if you keep your waking mind off sex, you can’t keep your sleeping mind off sex. You’re going to have wet dreams and wake up in horrible pain, right? I’d be terrified of this.

As for what to tell women, just tell them the truth. Women get urinary tract infections like men get hangnails. I think every woman has a stock of ready-made antibiotics in her medicine cabinet for their inevitable UTIs. It’s not like you got your foreskin removed because you’d had such a bad herpes outbreak that your foreskin had to be amputated. 

Most of these women have also seen your penis erect, which is when the foreskin is least visible, so they may not even notice the difference. Plus, even if they notice, women aren’t that interested in foreskin. Foreskin makes testicles seem interesting.

Also, you should ask your parents why they hated you and didn’t just get your foreskin removed at birth.  

Randy writes:

“An extremely important topic in today’s society needs your attention oh wise, gay one.

Being a business traveler for many years, we deal with a number of issues on planes that most of the population does not think about. Lots of ridiculous people taking their shoes off, banging seats in front of them, crying babies, etc. I’m sure you can sympathize with all of your journeys the past few years.

Over the past 6 months or so, there has become a new “hot topic” complaint that people are using on planes. It is now popular to get mad at the person in front of you if they choose to recline their seat? ARE YOU KIDDING?!?!?! Isn’t that what the seat is made for? To be clear what we are talking about, most airline seats recline back a whopping 15-25 degrees, which is less than 1 o’clock. If you are in first class then it obviously goes further, up to 40 degrees or so. Regardless, when on the road, you get very few times to actually relax and take a deep breath. Closing your eyes and dozing off or thinking about what has happened that day is always nice. But to be told that it is inconsiderate of people behind you, seems out of control. I have even been yelled out for reclining back TOO FAST, as if I have some magical control of a reclining spring mechanism that was likely installed in my seat 20-30 years ago

Is this a product of larger people simply not having enough space? Is it something else trivial to just complain about? Another extension of the PC Bromani?”

I hate people who recline their seats on airplanes. 

I mean, legitimately hate them. I’ll even pick a seat on Southwest based on whether I think the person is likely to recline their seat in front of me. I feel like I’m pretty good at spotting recliners.

In my opinion, the chairs should not recline, period.

I’m 6 foot 180 pounds — so a decent sized guy, but hardly a big guy at all — and if you recline your seat into my space in coach seating, I can’t do anything for the entire flight. I can’t use my tray and work on my laptop, I can barely even open a newspaper. My only recourse is to then recline my own seat, which pisses off the person behind me and makes them think I’m a total asshole. That may be true, but at least in this situation I’m just an asshole by proxy. (This is similar to how it only takes one asshole to stand up at a sporting event for an entire section to end up standing up.)

The only time I recline is if there is no one sitting behind me.

Otherwise I sit straight up.

So should you.

And everyone else on planes.  

Thomas writes:

“With Ali dying this past weekend it has made me think about if he was in his prime now how popular would he be? Boxing is really down, I think the most people can’t even name the current heavyweight champion. But also because Ali was a Muslim, I think a decent percentage of Americans automatically associate Muslims with terrorism now. Although, if you are educated you know that isn’t true. Please don’t go Travis Clay on the terrorism comment. Do you think that if he was boxing right now he wouldn’t be a big deal because boxing isn’t as popular and/or because of his religion?”

Ali would be a huge deal because — regardless of his religion — he’d be a heavyweight champion born and raised in America. One of the reasons boxing is so down in this country is because we really haven’t had a great heavyweight boxer in this country since, honestly, Evander Holyfield. And even Holyfield paled in comparison to Mike Tyson. 

If Mike Tyson was 20 years old right now, he’d be insanely popular, maybe even more so. Can you imagine how popular his knockouts would be on YouTube?

We like wunderkind prodigies and sports sensations in this country — it’s why I’ve been arguing we need a real goal scorer in American soccer to try tip the sport entirely into the mainstream. If Messi was American, soccer ratings would double overnight. We’ve seen it with Tiger Woods and LeBron and countless other prodigies, guys that come into a sport and take it over. Hell, look at Conor McGregor — who isn’t even American — in the UFC or Ronda Rousey. We crave dominance, especially if it’s native born dominance.

So Ali would still be huge today.

But I don’t think he’d be very political so I don’t think he’d be controversial at all. Instead, he’d be a billionaire and everyone would love him. That’s primarily because much to the chagrin of PC Bromanis out there, America is about as free and egalitarian as it’s possible for a country to be. That is, the country’s laws don’t discriminate based on race or gender or religion or sexual preference. What can you really get worked up about these days?

Ali was opposed to the draft and racial discrimination. Good for him, so is everyone. Would you go to war in Vietnam if there was a draft? You want me to walk around in a jungle with a gun and get shot at by random Asian dudes in a country I can’t even pinpoint on a map today? Fuck that. There is no way in hell I would do that. I’d move to Canada in a heartbeat with my family. Vancouver’s really nice. The wifi works there. I’d be fine.

What is Ali going to take a huge stand on today? 

Transgender bathrooms? I mean, come on, can PC Bromanis try harder? It’s total satire at this point. I’ve asked this question before and no one can even give me a decent answer, what’s next for social justice warriors? What desire out there that’s presently disfavored by society will become the next rallying cry for equal rights? Is it plural marriage? That’s honestly the only thing I can even think of. 

My point is pretty simple — we’re about as free and fair as any country can get. 

Basically, what do we do now that our grandchildren will think is hopelessly backward and racist, sexist, whatever -ist you want to add to the back of a word? I can’t even think of one.  

Jon H. writes:

“Clay,

This year’s weird presidential campaign season makes me think there has to be a better way to elect a president. Instead of each person getting one vote how about each tax payer getting a vote that’s proportional to the percentage of their income they pay in federal taxes each year? Notice I said the percentage of their income, not the amount paid.

Think about it – if you’re someone on the dole who pays no taxes why should you have a say in how the Feds spend other peoples’ money? If you’re paying a high percentage of your income they why shouldn’t your vote count more than someone paying zero? Sort of like raising kids with the old standard – parents who pay the bills make the decisions.

Before all the idiots who have never studied the failures of socialism go ballistic, I’d be willing to have no vote if I was no longer paying taxes. But right now the wife and I are maxed out at the highest Federal marginal rate so why shouldn’t our vote count more than someone who isn’t paying anything?

Might this notion bring favor to the concept of a flat tax, where everyone pays the same percentage of their income?

Gay muslims probably don’t pay taxes so go ahead and flame away.”

As someone who pays OVER 40% of his income in taxes — thanks to California taking 13.3% of my TV income — I’m sympathetic to your idea; I also think I should get something for my California state taxes. I sleep in a hotel room and walk to the Fox studios and I’m paying more in California taxes than the vast majority of people who actually live in the state. I use virtually no state services. What am I actually getting for my California tax dollars?

When it comes to my tax situation California has totally friend zoned me here. I’m like the dude who pays for his hot chick friend to do everything hoping for sex and never getting anything in return.

The thing you have to keep in mind with your proposal is that only about half of the people in this country vote now. And some PC Bromanis are always complaining about that and wanting to increase turnout, but my thing is — the dumber you are the less likely you are to vote. So do we really want even more dumb people voting? Our political campaigns are already run for idiots, can you imagine what they’d look like if everyone in the country actually voted?

I mean, think about how dumb a person is if they’re of the most average possible intelligence.

That’s pretty fucking dumb, right?

Half of the people are dumber than this person.

If we were going to adjust votes, I think smart people should get more votes than dumb people. So we should have a sliding scale based on intelligence, one smart person vote is worth like 20 Alabama fan votes. That would encourage the nomination of intelligent people and would lead to a smarter discussion of issues.

But mostly I just wish California hadn’t friend zoned me.   

Ben writes:

“In your 6/3 mailbag, you analyzed the risk/reward for Mississippi State to accept Jeffrey Simmons. You offered two possible explanations for MSU’s (and other universities’ similar) decisions:

1. Coaches and administrators are consistently overvaluing the importance of individual players
2. Coaches and administrators genuinely believe they can save players and are willing to take risks to lead to the players having better lives.
I would argue a third option (that is arguably similar to option #2 above): Coaches significantly underestimate the risk of offering a recruit who has been arrested for a violent crime.

First of all, historically speaking, coaches and administrators have not often been held responsible for their player’s actions. Outside of Baylor and Penn State, I can’t think of another program that has fired a successful head coach/AD or has suffered NCAA sanctions over players with character issues/criminal tendencies.

Second of all, I think successful head coaches are confident/arrogant enough to believe that they can keep a troubled young adult away from crime for 4 years. I don’t think they go in with the mind set of “I can transform this boy from a troubled youth to a successful adult member of society!” – I think it’s more “We just need to make sure that this kid doesn’t fuck up to much in the next 3-5 years, that’s easy, right?”

I think that coaches who have found a way to win their entire careers (Saban, Meyer, Briles, Harbaugh, etc) have developed the confidence that they can jump any hurdle in front of them – whether that hurdle is molding an athlete into a person they can work with, game planning for the next game, or keeping a kid out of trouble for 3-5 years, it’s just one more challenge between them and a win, and they can beat that challenge – they’ve been doing this their entire career.”

This is a good argument too. 

The way I’d also tie it in is that coaches don’t believe the odds apply to them since, much like pro athletes, they’ve been beating the odds their entire coaching careers.

Most people don’t become multi-millionaires through coaching. So if they’ve already beaten the odds in this way, that must mean they’re special, right? This line of thinking isn’t unique to coaches either. Most highly successful people believe they’re better equipped to succeed than others are. I make a living off dick jokes and I certainly believe that I’m smarter and better equipped for success than the vast majority of Americans.

Regardless of what you do for a living the more success you have in life the more you come to believe in your own exceptionalism. 

Once you have some success what you have to guard against is letting your internal risk/reward calculator backfire. 

And I happen to believe that’s what coaches are doing here. Even if you’re exceptional at your job, it’s still important to take smart risks as opposed to dumb risks. (That’s why I started selling pants and bought Twitter stock.

Speaking of which, go buy some pants and shirts. They’re exceptional just like me and all of you.) 

Have great weekends. 

We’ll be live on Outkick at 3 eastern today to help you pass another hour of fake work. 

I’M AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, FIRST OF ALL. There’s been a lot of ink and Twitter hand-wringing about Mississippi State’s decision to accept Jeffery Simmons, with a lot of people saying that Miss State is making its campus unsafe for women, sets a bad example, etc. My question is: would there be any outcry if a lower level school like Jackson State or a JUCO accepted him instead?  Seems like there are some women or students that writers and Twitter police don’t care about as much-but a situation like that doesn’t fit the narrative of the big bad world of college sports. Thoughts?
I’M AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, FIRST OF ALL. There’s been a lot of ink and Twitter hand-wringing about Mississippi State’s decision to accept Jeffery Simmons, with a lot of people saying that Miss State is making its campus unsafe for women, sets a bad example, etc. My question is: would there be any outcry if a lower level school like Jackson State or a JUCO accepted him instead?  Seems like there are some women or students that writers and Twitter police don’t care about as much-but a situation like that doesn’t fit the narrative of the big bad world of college sports. Thoughts?
Comments