All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s Friday, time for the Outkick mailbag to come rushing in and save you from the end of week doldrums.

So off we go.

A ton of you: Jemele Hill is out at SportsCenter, what are your thoughts on this?

I’ve been saying on the air for a couple of weeks that she was being replaced after the Super Bowl because ratings had collapsed. For those of you who would rather watch me talk about it than read about it, here’s the Outkick the Show today discussing the force out.

So I’m not surprised the news officially came out from ESPN this morning.

This way the story gets lost into the weekend and the Super Bowl is up next weekend so most people don’t spend much time talking about it.

Just like with Bomani Jones, who had the least successful national radio show in ESPN history, ESPN claimed that Jemele asked out of her TV job, but come on, that’s not true. She left TV to write for a blog that no one reads on ESPN’s website and do some town halls that no one will watch either?

The truth is this: her show was a ratings disaster and she painted herself into a corner by calling the president a white supremacist on Twitter. Which further killed the ratings and made her radioactive on a sports network for advertisers who didn’t want to be connected to a personality who was guaranteed to alienate at least half of a sports audience.

Make no mistake about it, this was a huge demotion.

Put it this way, if I moved out to Los Angeles with much fan fare and Fox spent millions of dollars promoting me on a new TV show and then a year later I was off TV and back in Nashville writing on Outkick, would you believe that I’d left because I wanted to? Especially if the show I was on was a ratings disaster and I’d been suspended by Fox for what I’d said on Twitter?

Of course not.

The bigger issue here is this — despite ESPN’s insistence otherwise I don’t think there’s an actual market for “woke sports takes.” In fact, left wing sports takes and SJW sports opinions are so overloaded on Twitter and sports media now that the entire mixing of sports and left wing politics is causing sports ratings to collapse.

ESPN’s ratings were down a combined 15% on ESPN and ESPN2 in 2017 and the numbers on their original programming aren’t looking good for 2018 either. The NFL has also collapsed in ratings.

Fans just want to watch the games, they don’t want people making livings comparing Martin Luther King and Colin Kaepernick or saying Michael Sam is the modern day Jackie Robinson. Or, god forbid, that Caitlyn Jenner is a hero.

ESPN finally decided they were ready to end the woke sports subsidy on their network and will now send Jemele off to write on a blog no one reads. (And which loses a ton of money). She can do woke takes there until her contract ends in three years and she finds someone else to pay her.

If Hill wants to talk politics maybe she can even get a gig with MSNBC or CNN and talk politics, but is she particularly good at talking politics? No one really knows. So far her sports and political takes have lacked much depth. If she’s going to make that switch she better be really good at it because I think some execs at ESPN are finally realizing there’s no actual market for left wing sports and politics in this country.

It’s just bad for business.

And if that were such a good business, wouldn’t someone start that business and make millions on it? There’s a reason no independent company has gotten wealthy by starting a website devoted to left wing sports coverage and left wing politics. That’s because it’s a market that’s way overserved via subsidy from ESPN and Fox already.

That’s why I’ve been arguing ESPN’s politicization of sports is a really bad move and I think the network’s decision to reward the most left wing employees they have with more promotions and more influence is the most disastrous decision in the company’s history.

And the market agrees with me.

By the way, the biggest winner here is Jason Martin, because now he gets to avoid doing the Woke Report and we have to come up with a new punishment for him.

Richard writes:

“In regards to the Larry Nassar case, I am in complete agreement that he should have the stool kicked out from under him on the courthouse lawn and hang there.   

However, do you think the judge went overboard in showing her disdain for the man. My thoughts are that she is supposed to be fair and impartial as well as professional, but she ended up coming across more as an advocate for the victims. Between the “I just signed your death warrant” and the comment about wishing what he did to the women would happen to him, which I took as her saying she hopes he gets taped in prison, I feel she went too far. My friends say I’m an idiot and it doesn’t matter, but are there possible legal ramifications as far as appeals go because of her actions.”

Well, Nassar plead guilty to prior child porn charges and had already been sentenced to sixty years in prison, so I think it was unlikely he was ever going to get out of jail again anyway.

Remember, he also plead guilty here so he’d have to argue he received poor legal advice and didn’t understand the consequences of his plea agreement because the judge was biased against him. And that’s just unlikely to be a legally sustainable claim.

Having said that, I do think the judge here became more of a victim advocate than she did an impartial ruler. But you can argue that might have been appropriate here when you consider the context. Remember, guilt or innocence wasn’t at issue. This wasn’t a trial, this was an open forum for victims to confront the man who victimized them. It was more like therapy than a criminal trial and the judge was effectively the head therapist.

Is that an appropriate role for most judges? No. But could it arguably have been appropriate here? Yes.

My biggest issue with the Nassar case — outside, clearly, of Nassar himself — is the Michigan State president being forced to resign.

If your argument is that people in positions of prominence have to resign when things like this happen because it’s like a captain going down with the ship then I understand that argument, but I disagree with it. Michigan State has over 50,000 students and over 12,000 employees, I don’t believe that one employees criminal acts should bring down the boss in charge of 12,000 employees.

The only thing the president knew about this case at all was that there was a Title IX investigation and that the local police were also conducting their own investigation into a doctor. (She didn’t know which doctor.) Remarkably both the Title IX investigation and the local police investigation cleared Nassar.

So what was the school president supposed to do here? There were probably thousands of Title IX investigations taking place during her tenure as president. She’s not conducting that investigation herself. How does she know the local police and her Title IX investigator got it wrong? (By the way, this is just more evidence of how worthless Title IX investigations are. They couldn’t even catch a man who victimized hundreds of women using a lower more likely than not standard of guilt? Wow.)

Why should she have to resign because Nassar is a monster?

Now, if it’s proven that she knew more and is any way culpable for a cover up then I agree she should go, but there’s zero evidence of that so far.

It seems to me that people just got really mad about her being the president of the school and demanded she be fired because they were so angry about Nassar. So far there isn’t even a single allegation that she behaved improperly at all. I’m not saying I’d hire her to be the president of my university — I wouldn’t merely because of her connection to this incident — but I also wouldn’t make her resign as a scapegoat here.

Nassar is to blame for what Nassar did, not the school president.

Mike writes:

“Reports out there that Cavs players blasted Kevin Love for leaving Saturday’s game with an illness and subsequently missing practice on Sunday
Considering he’s the only white player on a Cavs team that has been putrid for weeks for a plethora of reasons that have nothing to do with Love, isn’t this a tremendous opportunity to play the race card? It’s a group of black guys singling out Love as the scapegoat for a team’s problems. 
Imagine if this were reversed and the lone black guy on a team was chastised by his white teammates for faking an illness?”
If this happened on a baseball team, say the Red Sox, and there was a team meeting where the white players ganged up and blamed the lone black player for the team’s struggles, it would be the number one story in sports and the SJW crowd would be screaming about racism in sports and how unfairly treated black people were in baseball.
But the same thing happens in basketball, where white people are about as common as black people are in baseball, and it’s total crickets.
Also, how about the fact that there are 22 NBA All Stars and Kevin Love is the only white American born player? (Porzingis is the only other white guy on the team). So the NBA All Star game is 91% black and 9% white.
That’s despite the fact that black people make up only 12% of the United States population.
So why does no one point out the lack of diversity in the NBA All Star Game like they did the Oscars? If we had #oscarssowhite shouldn’t we also have #nbasoblack?
Of course I think that’s absurd and the general reason the NBA receives no criticism is because there’s a presumption the best players in the world just happen to be black. That is, race isn’t factoring in here at all with these decisions. So there’s no grand conspiracy at play here, but, significantly, there’s also no suggestion that white, Asian or Hispanic players should be included to be inclusive and diverse and make sure the NBA reflects America.
The best players just happen to be black and that’s okay. It isn’t a sign of any fundamental failure of American business and it doesn’t demand any redress of the current job situation. It isn’t systemic basketball racism.
So why do we assume the NBA rewards the best players and race isn’t involved here at all even though black people are wildly over represented relative to their race — black people are far more likely to play in the NBA All Star game relative to their population than white people are, for instance, to serve in the Senate — but simultaneously assume other companies, which are in much more competitive businesses, aren’t doing the same thing too and hiring and promoting the best employees regardless of race?
Remember, even an awful NBA team with a poor management structure makes money every year — at least if you factor in rising franchise values — so the NBA isn’t that competitive from a business perspective.
That isn’t true of hardly any other American companies. If you hire the wrong people you go bankrupt in most of American business. So why not assume the meritocracy is working just as well in American business as it is in American sports?
Matthew writes:
“As a radical moderate like yourself, I like to think I am a rational human being that recognizes the absurdity that social media can be. When Frank Isola tweets about Julie Ertz playing in a friendly and not attending the NFC title game to watch her husband, Zach.

He is immediately deluged with tweets about how sexist he is to not realize that Julie is simply doing her job and that the football game isn’t more important than the exhibition vs. Denmark, which is entirely true, by the way, the football game is WAY more important. 

Isola even follows up his tweet by suggesting that if Julie was in a World Cup game, Zach would be compelled to skip a preseason game to go watch.
This whole episode is just another example of how people on social media are constantly looking for something to be outraged about. What happens if Julie decided to skip the soccer game and attend the NFC title game? A friendly soccer match is the dictionary definition of a meaningless game. Would anyone have batted an eye? I don’t think so. 
I don’t particularly care for Donald Trump or his politics (I lean left on a lot of social issues), but it becomes easier and easier to see why he was elected. The left wing in this country trips all over their dicks to yell and scream anytime something related to race or sex is even mentioned. When will it stop? How can we take real issues of sexism or racism seriously every time someone cries wolf like this?”
Sigh, like most allegations of racism and sexism on Twitter, this isn’t remotely sexist.
The NFC championship game is WAY MORE IMPORTANT than a friendly soccer match.
Honestly, if my wife had a friendly soccer match and I was in the Super Bowl, I’d want her to come watch. And if my wife was in the World Cup title game and I had a preseason football game on the same day — and knew I was going to make the roster — I’d try and skip the preseason football game to watch her play in person too.
That’s just what most married couples do, they support each other in big moments.
Now I’m not sure I’d skip a game for the NFC or AFC title game, but I might.
And I certainly don’t think what he said is very controversial at all. (I also don’t think it’s a particularly interesting Tweet, however. In fact, I think Isola thought he was being PC by even acknowledging women’s soccer and then tripped all over his dick with this Tweet instead.)
But the reaction does speak to a bigger issue that I do think is fascinating, why is there a presumption that you should spend your day scrolling through Twitter waiting to take offense with what someone you don’t know says on there? Over the past several months I’ve tried to spend less time commenting on other people’s opinions on Twitter and spending more time just sharing what I think or what I like.
That’s because my goal in 2018 is to make Twitter more like real life.
I’ve been struck by the question Jamie Horowitz asked me at the last Super Bowl, why do you care what people say in response to your opinion on Twitter? He pointed out I’d never walk up to people on the street, tell them my opinion and then ask what they think about it.
And if I did, he pointed out, it would totally pathetic.
Hell, I don’t even read comments to my own articles and haven’t for years. I know what I wrote so why do I care what other people say about what I wrote?
So why read my Twitter mentions at all?
I think Twitter mentions are seductive because they arrive all day and they’re so immediate. I don’t have notifications set up on my phone so it’s not like I’m checking them all day — in fact, I put my phone out of my view while I write — but every time I open Twitter I can see hundreds of things people have sent to me. And it’s hard not to check out some of those mentions, no matter how busy I am.
Now what I like about Twitter is people sending me smart, original, funny or authentic things that make me better at my job, but that’s not the majority of my mentions. The majority of my mentions are people agreeing or disagreeing with my opinion.
That’s fine, but why do I care what y’all think? I wouldn’t have said what I said if I hadn’t believed it. And I’ve probably already thought of all the counterarguments before I shared my opinion.
And at least those are opinions directed at me.
Think about the concept of reacting to other people’s opinions that weren’t directed to you and  that you don’t know and apply it to another part of life as well.
For instance, if you overheard someone having a conversation about sports or politics at a table next to yours in a restaurant and you disagreed with the opinion of the diner, would you suddenly stop your own conversation and jump into theirs?
Of course not.
And if you did, how strange would the reaction be from the other table? They’d clearly tell you to mind your own business and might even request a new table.
Yet this is Twitter all day long every day.
Which brings me to my lesson that I think everyone should take to heart: TWITTER ISN’T REAL LIFE. IT’S A FUNHOUSE MIRROR.
Thomas writes: 

“Hey Clay,

What’s your thoughts on dudes backing into spots in parking lots who aren’t at a tailgate?

When I’m parking at the boat every AM, I come across at least 1 guy who takes 3 minutes to back into his spot and it drives me f’n nuts. I always pull in, get out of my truck and keep it moving…takes maybe 15 seconds.

Need the guru’s opinion on this matter.”

Indefensible.

This guy is a parking monster.

You don’t actually save any time at all in a normal parking lot by backing into a space.

Now I’m a proponent of the pull through — i.e. if you see the spot is open in front of you and pull straight through to be facing out that’s fine — but the time you spend backing into a spot is totally wasted. In fact, I think you spend more time backing in than you spend just pulling in and then backing out when it’s time to go. That’s because it’s easier to back out than it is to back in.

Feel free to tell him that your Internet friend, Clay Travis, who is the King Solomon of the Internet and never gets anything wrong, disagrees with his parking behavior.

Happy weekend to all of you.

Send your questions, as always, to claytravis@gmail.com

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