All That and a Bag of Mail

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Okay, here we go with the Friday mailbag.

Lots of you: “What do you think about Jameis Winston’s three game suspension compared to other NFL disciplinary decisions?”

I wrote a ton about this in last week’s mailbag and spent most of Friday AM’s Outkick talking about it as well, but my general position is there’s no way you can suspend Tom Brady for four games for potentially, we still don’t know if it happened or not, deflating the football and suspend Ezekiel Elliott six games for potentially, we still don’t know if it happened or not, domestic violence and suspend Jameis Winston, who ADMITS HE DID THIS, for three games for sexual assault.

This punishment is just completely nonsensical.

The NFL should have suspended Jameis Winston for six games, which is the maximum punishment under the NFL personal conduct policy when it comes to issues like this.

Sure, Jameis could have sued to challenge that suspension, but do you really think he’d put himself in this situation, where his past sexual history — and current sexual history — is in play in a court proceeding? That would be the dumbest decision possible and might lead to end of his NFL career.

No way that happens.

He takes a six game suspension and doesn’t fight it and the NFL protects itself from the allegation that it was too lenient on Jameis Winston.

There are two other big things about this suspension that aren’t receiving much attention that I think should be discussed in greater detail.

1. Why didn’t the NFL release the full investigative report here?

I still believe the NFL investigating non-game related off-field events is dumb and should be the province of the criminal justice system not the league. (At least you can argue Tom Brady’s football deflation and the resulting investigation and suspension dealt with the game itself, even if it wasn’t fair). But if you’re going to do the investigations shouldn’t you release the report when you render the verdict?

Remember, the league released hundreds of pages of findings in both the Brady and Elliott cases. So why is the league not releasing the investigation results here? Aside from the NFL saying the investigation “concluded that Winston violated the Personal Conduct Policy by touching the driver in an inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent and that disciplinary action was necessary and appropriate” they give us no evidence to support this conclusion.

This is intriguing because I called the Scottsdale, Arizona police department to ask if they had any information on a criminal complaint being filed in their jurisdiction. They said they did not — meaning the woman never contacted them — but that the NFL had contacted them and let it be known they were conducting their investigation. Furthermore, the Scottsdale police department spokesperson told me the NFL had told him they’d procured corroborating evidence of the incident.

What evidence was that? And why did the NFL not release it to the public and give Winston the maximum suspension possible? To me, honestly, this looks like a cover-up plea bargain designed to keep the league and Winston from receiving too much attention for what he did in a modern #metoo era.

Meaning, you guessed it, people in positions of power continue to protect Jameis.

2. How dumb is Jameis Winston to issue a statement that includes both of these lines to begin: “First and foremost, I would like to say I’m sorry to the Uber driver for the position I put you in. It is uncharacteristic of me and I genuinely apologize.”

First of all, based on what we know about Jameis is it really uncharacteristic of him to be accused of sexual assault? Second, so if you apologize for sexual assault that means it’s okay? “Sorry about that murder, it was uncharacteristic of me to kill someone.”

Finally, I want you to think about this for a minute, what would the reaction in the sports media be if Winston were a white guy and not a black guy? This is, after all, the favorite move of the left wing sports media, to flip the races and argue that black people are always being treated unfairly.

So just imagine that a white quarterback had gone to Florida State and been accused of raping a black woman. (We’ll flip the race of the alleged victim here too). Then think about what the reaction would be if the Tallahassee police department had refused to take her seriously, had never conducted an investigation, and if the football team had worked to ensure the quarterback had obtained millions of dollars in free legal representation, never suspended him for a game, and he’d gone on to win the Heisman and the national title.

This woman would have become a left wing hero. And the white football player would have turned into the Stanford swimmer, a protected white athlete who everyone in a position of power rallied to protect thanks to his white privilege. This would be Duke Lacrosse all over again.

Then, after that all went public, what if this white quarterback had stolen crab legs at Publix, done thousands of dollars in damages to an apartment building with a BB gun, and climbed up on a campus table and screamed an Internet meme about fucking a girl in the pussy?

I’m not sure, honestly, if the white quarterback would have even been allowed to play his second year at FSU.

Finally, what if all that happened and the white quarterback still went number one overall in the NFL draft?! The white privilege hot takes would have been flowing like crazy. Jemele Hill, the Reverend Al Sharpton of ESPN, would have talked about this daily for months on end.

Then think about what everyone would say if after all of this the white quarterback got accused of sexual assault on an Uber driver, lied about it to everyone in November, and then when he was caught in a lie he received just a three game suspension, half of his mandatory six games he could have received, from the NFL.

There would be mass protests outside of NFL headquarters. The comparison to Colin Kaepernick would be running so hot you wouldn’t be able to pick up your phone or turn on your television. There would be so many white privilege hot takes on these Internet streets you wouldn’t be able to escape them.

Yet it happens to Winston and there are crickets, mostly, about the privilege he’s received and the NFL’s actions.

Isn’t that #blackprivilege? There’s no way a white quarterback could have ever gotten away with doing what he’s done. (Ben Roethlisberger is a bad analogy. First, Big Ben got a six game suspension from the NFL for his alleged sexual assault — and the police investigated it and found the claim without merit and second, there’s never been any indication the justice system conspired to favor Big Ben while he was in college. He’s still never been charged with any crime.)

Winston’s story doesn’t fit the victim dynamic the far left wing wants to enforce. The truth of the matter is this, Winston has #athleteprivilege and #richprivilege. Both of these privileges are far more powerful than any made up racial privilege obsessions in the left wing sports media.

In fact, there’s a strong argument that Winston has benefited from his race since I don’t believe if everything Winston had done happened to a white quarterback the response would have been as lenient because the media would have been much more on a rampage here.

If I ran the Tampa Bay Buccaneers I would have never drafted Winston to begin with, but I’d certainly cut him at the end of this season. But I would do that regardless of his race.

One of the things that drives my critics crazy is I do my absolute best to treat everyone the same, male, female, gay, straight, white, black, Asian or Hispanic. Most in the media don’t do that and Jameis Winston’s case is a perfect example of that fact.

If anything, the most amazing thing about Jameis Winston is how much his treatment shows the country has changed in the past fifty or sixty years. Can you imagine what would have happened to Jameis is he’d been accused of raping a white girl in north Florida in the 1950’s or 1960’s? He might well be dead, the victim of a white lynch mob.

Fifty years later who were the most ardent defenders of Jameis? White guys in north Florida who rooted for FSU football.

It’s an incredible story if you have any kind of historical perspective at all.

“What are your thoughts on the Supreme Court opening? Should Republicans push through a justice before the election?”

If I were Mitch McConnell, who has been an absolute genius when it comes to how to handle his Senate majority surrounding the Supreme Court — his gamble to wait on filling this seat for the 2016 election changed the course of American history — I would 100% push through a new supreme court justice before the new term begins in October. That’s because you only have a 51-49 Senate advantage right now and that could change after the election, leading to a year or more of gridlock before a new justice was confirmed.

While I tend to believe the Republicans are likely to pick up Senate seats in November — the Democrats have to defend ten seats in states Trump won — why risk that? Especially when you can put pressure on these senators running for reelection to support Trump’s supreme court pick. These democrats are in an awful position, not supporting Trump’s pick is going to kill them either way, either by emboldening Republican support on the opposition or killing Democrat support on the liberal side.

As risky as the precedent McConnell set last year was — not putting a new justice in place in a presidential election year — that precedent doesn’t apply in an off year election cycle when the president isn’t going to change. I do, however, fully expect for a seat to open in 2020 and for McConnell to have to wait on the election result because that always appears to be what happens when you bend precedent to favor your party — eventually it works against you as much as it works for you. That’s why precedents are important and you shouldn’t erase them unless you’re confident you are replacing them with a better option. (Remember, it was the Democrats who opened the door to a simple majority on judges by eliminating the filibuster option for federal judges.)

I do think, however, that Republicans are in a potential mess over abortion now if they push through a far right judge. Suddenly, they are like the dog who caught the car. While the dog is running alongside the car barking they can draw attention to themselves and look tough, but what if the dog actually catches the car? He has two options. Bite the bumper and hang on, meaning that eventually he would be seriously injured or die being dragged down the street or bite the bumper, break your jaw and lose your teeth.

It reminds me of a greyhound race I once went to as a kid, one of the greyhounds actually caught the bunny. And then broke his leg and came in last place.

The American public considers Roe v. Wade to be settled law. Changing it would be an electoral disaster for Republicans.

That’s why part of me wonders if John Roberts might vote to maintain Roe as the law of the land citing stare decisis, respect for the precedents of the court.

I don’t think most Americans believe that a 14 or 15 year old girl who gets pregnant should be forced to have a baby. If that becomes the law of the land in many states then I think it’s the worst thing that could happen to the Republican party.

I understand that many of you disagree with Roe and with abortion being legal — and you’re certainly entitled to your opinion — but I don’t personally think this country needs to return to back alley abortions and secret trips across state lines under the cover of night so young girls — or older women — can get clandestine abortions.

I believe in a woman’s right to choose and I think that right should be maintained.

Mike writes:

“So I know you’ve kind of hinted at this, but is there any way you’re not voting for Trump in 2020? I mean Bernie is a socialist, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren will run a “white men are the problem” type of campaign. The only somewhat moderate one is Joe Biden. Unless the DNC rigs the primary again though I can’t see him winning it. 
I feel like the Trump effect has been to drive a wedge down the middle of the Democrat party. The hard leftists and coastal elites just lost their minds and went radical. While the softer leftists and what’s left of the Rust Belt Dems, having no one left championing them, came to Trump’s side. And with the left celebrating another socialist for knocking off Nancy Pelosi’s would be successor and calling their own leaders racist for disagreeing with Maxine Waters I just can’t see any moderate candidate rising within their ranks.”
My hope is that the Democrats will nominate someone like Joe Biden or, potentially, Michael Bloomberg, if he runs because I’d be open to voting for either, particularly Bloomberg, who I think did a great job as mayor of New York City. But I think it’s far more likely the Democrats will nominate the anti-Trump — a black woman like Kamala Harris. If that happens then we will spend over a year entirely focused on identity politics and everything a Democrat disagrees with will be labeled racist and sexist.
I’ve said this a few times, but the reason I have become so open to the Republican party is because, notwithstanding Trump, the Republican party is more welcoming of the first amendment. Republicans, at least right now, to don’t respond to an opinion they disagree with by arguing that your opinion is unacceptable and you should be fired for having it. For the most part they will argue with you about the substance of the issue you disagree on.
I find the idea of acceptable or unacceptable opinions or the idea of acceptable or unacceptable words to be, frankly, terrifying.
If the Democrats counter Trump with an identity politics driven candidate then that will just be exhausting for the country and lead to an awful campaign where whoever wins is despised by the other side because he or she isn’t a part of their tribe.
That’s why I think Trump running against another old white guy would be much better. Because at least then you end up combating each other less on identity politics and more on the ideas themselves.
But I don’t think the Democrats are capable of this, which is why I think we’ll get the exact opposite of Trump, a black woman nominee.
Ryan writes:
“I understand players cannot gamble on games a la Pete Rose. But can a player partake in other bets related to his sport? For instance, could Lebron place a bet on which team he ends up signing with? Obviously this seems to be morally “cheating” but is there any legislation/ruling that prohibits this?”
Great question, I’m not sure whether this would violate league rules.
But as a practical matter the biggest reason why it wouldn’t make sense are the limits on these wagers. Most of the offshore books won’t let you put down more than $100 on these bets. So even if you were, say, Baker Mayfield and you found out you were going to be the number one overall pick and you paid out 30-1, the most you could make would be a few thousand dollars.
Even if you told everyone you know to put down this bet, you could never make more than $25k or so because the line would shift in a hurry.
Given the millions at stake here, there’s just no way to make enough money doing this for it to make sense.
Now, do I think some family members or friends might do it? Sure. But even they can’t make that much money in the grand scheme of things.
So I don’t think it’s a viable way to make much money.
Brian writes:

“Tom Brady, the NFL quarterback, is only rivaled in accomplishments and fame w/ LeBron James, the NBA star. We know that LeBron has become an outspoken political activist, especially against president Trump, including openly campaigning for Clinton in 2016. Although we don’t if Brady supports Republicans as fervently LeBron does for Democrats, he has been at least willing to acknowledge a friendship w/ Trump that would be tough to do for anyone else publicly in the NFL.

My question is what do you think the public response would be if Brady came out and supported Trump as much as LeBron has done in criticizing the president. I’m not saying the two players would get in a public spat, but Brady wouldn’t hesitate to back Trump when the president does things Brady considers good ideas or good policy, sports related or not. Would the NFL as a league back him like the NBA backs the political views of its stars including coaches? Would sports writers come to Brady’s defense for sharing his views as much as they seem to enjoy whenever LeBron or Warriors’ coach Kerr speak out about Trump?”
The sports media would crush any white athlete who shared prominent conservative political views.
I mean, absolutely destroy them.
Remember how much Brady got crushed for just having a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker? It would be a media deluge of disdain.
That’s why most white athletes, aside from a few liberals, have stayed silent when it comes to mixing politics and sports, because they recognize that mixing sports and politics would be a disaster for them. That’s because the sports media is full of crap when it comes to how it covers sports and politics, it favors the politics it agrees with, left leaning, and savages anyone with different politics, all under the guise of supporting the first amendment.
Seriously, go buy the book, I think it’s going to land at the perfect time and significantly impact the way we talk about sports.
Lee writes:

“Clay,

In the wake of yet another heartbreaking ending, I want to make the argument for something that I feel does not get enough respect or national attention: Arkansas fans are the most loyal fan base in the SEC.

Loyal. I’m not arguing that we’re the biggest or even the best. It’s hard to argue those because there’s so many factors that go into them. I’m arguing that no other fan base has such deep rooted support for their state’s team. Loyal is defined as “giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution.” Arkansas fans will always remain loyal because we have nowhere else to turn to. We can’t jump ship and swim someplace else. There’s no other team to cheer for. The Hogs are all you have if you’re from here. And that’s exactly the way we like it.

Look at the other SEC states:

Alabama- 2 power five schools

Florida- 9 pro teams, 3 power five schools

Georgia- 3 pro teams, 2 power five schools

Kentucky- 2 power five schools

Louisiana- 2 pro teams, 1 power five school

Mississippi- 2 power five schools

Missouri- 4 pro teams, 1 power five school

South Carolina- 2 power five schools

Tennessee- 3 pro teams, 2 power five schools

Texas- 8 pro teams, 5 power five teams

If you’re from one of those places, there are different teams for people to devote their fanhoods and loyalties to. Your neighbors might be South Carolina fans while you can be a Clemson fan.  You can be a casual Atlanta Falcons fan while being a diehard Georgia Bulldogs fan. Your boss may be a huge Memphis Grizzlies fan while you spend most of your time keeping up with the Titans.  But not if you’re from the Natural State.

It’s all we have in Arkansas. There’s no other big Power 5 school to cheer for. There’s no pro sports teams. All you have are the Hogs. All of your teachers when you’re growing up are Hog fans. Your parents are Hog fans. All of your friends and neighbors. All of your pastors and politicians.  I’ve lived here my whole life. I’ve been to every corner of the state and all you will see is Razorback red, nothing else.

We’ve been given plenty of reasons to jump ship and devote our loyalty to someplace else: the Stoernover, Petrino, Reggie Fish, and the recent dropped pop fly. But we won’t. There’s nothing else to turn to. The entire state will continue to call those Hogs no matter how many times they break our hearts.

We’ve only had 2 major sports titles, the last being the 1994 basketball team. As of right now, there’s not a bright outlook for Arkansas sports.  We just got out of the Bielema experiment in football, basketball will be questionable, and the best baseball team in program history just blew a chance to win the school’s first College World Series title. But, you can still count on those Hog fans to deliriously crawl back to the team that has hurt them so many times and convince ourselves that there will always be a chance.  I was at game 2 on Wednesday and had my heart ripped out like many. But I’ll be back just like everyone else in the state calling the Hogs like it had never even happened.  We’re not the biggest fan base, but there’s no other group that remains so loyal to their team.

This is obviously my biased opinion, but I just feel that our fan base is not given its due diligence outside of the state. Thanks for reading, keep up the good work on Outkick. Woo Pig Sooie.”

This is well said.

I’ve long said and written that the reason the average Kentucky basketball and Alabama football fan is so dumb and insane is because there’s not much to dilute the crazy in those fan bases. That is, sure, you could root for Louisville or Auburn, but those fan bases are much less popular — and the fans tend to have actual connections to the school — as opposed to the typical redneck who sides with the team that wins the most. The more teams there are to root for the more the crazy gets diluted and the less crazy or delusional you have to be to stand out.

Think of it this way, in order to be a big Star Wars fan, what do you have to do to stand out in most of the country? Go to the new movies, maybe dress up as a Star Wars character at Halloween, it’s not that hard to do and stand out. But what do you have to do to stand out as a Star Wars fan at a Star Wars convention? You have to go full on crazy.

But you’re correct here on Arkansas standing alone in your state. (Although I’m sure there are some angry Arkansas State fans right now reading this who will argue that they are a big time program, but you’re right.)

Let me also point out that Fayetteville is an awesome, outstanding college town and I love going there for a game because Razorback fans have decided I don’t like them, which just isn’t true. I tend to make fun of and praise most teams pretty evenly, but the more parochial your media is the less you can take a little bit of mockery.

That missed foul ball was brutal for Razorback fans, even worse, according to the poll I put up last night, than the Clint Stoerner fumble back in 1998.

So a Woo Pig Sooie from me to y’all.

,,,

Hope everyone has a great weekend and hope many of you guys are getting a few extra days off for July 4th as well. I’m headed down to the beach for a week tomorrow.

Thanks for supporting Outkick.

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