All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s a summer Friday. rejoice!

If you haven’t already please go check out my new long form conversation podcast called “Wins and Losses.” This week’s guest is Paul Finebaum. The first four guests on the show are Jason Whitlock, Shannon Terry, Greg Sankey and Mike Leach. 

Trust me on this, if you like the mailbag or what I do at Outkick you’re probably going to love the new podcast.

So go check it out here.

It’s great to listen to if you’ve got a long drive ahead of you of you’ve got time to kill while sitting by the pool or beach this summer. Plus, it’s not time sensitive, so the interviews should be just as good this fall as they are now.

So, again, please go check it out and let me know what you think.

On to the mailbag:

Scott writes:

“I won’t get into the debate over whether the salary cap should exist, but since it does, how is it remotely fair for Toronto to “give” Kawhi Leonard a $20M condo or LeBron and the Lakers to arrange for Anthony Davis to recoup his trade bonus by casting him in Space Jam 2?
I don’t pretend to know how to enforce all these things (the NCAA clearly doesn’t either), but isn’t this a slippery slope to everyone circumventing the cap? What’s to stop Mark Cuban from hiring Kevin Durant’s mom at $50M a year for “consulting services?” Or any other owner from giving a player equity in one of their billion-dollar corporations? Couldn’t the Knicks just give a player a property to live in in Manhattan, that they could later turn around and sell for millions upon millions?”
Well, first, the distinction is the salary cap only applies to what the team does.
So, in theory, if someone in the city of Toronto wants to give away things to Kawhi then the Raptors aren’t implicated in a salary cap issue if they aren’t involved in the decision or the payment.
The same thing can be true of Space Jam 2. The Lakers aren’t paying Anthony Davis to appear in this movie. So whatever payment he receives to star in the movie is outside the scope of the salary cap.
Having said all this, stories like these are why I’m fundamentally opposed to the idea of salary caps — because the entire salary cap system is set up to be manipulated and because salary caps artificially deflate top player salaries.
If players are clearly worth way more than they are being paid then why would it surprise you that in a highly competitive industry owners, players, and agents would find ways to circumvent the process by getting more money to the players than is allowed under the salary cap?
I man, how aggressively does the NBA police something like this. Are they reviewing player tax returns? I doubt it. And even if they are, how do they know if, for instance, a player got a sweetheart deal in a real estate transaction because it was facilitated by an owner putting a player or his representatives in touch with another rich dude to work out a deal?
How do we know that, for instance, Nike isn’t giving Anthony Davis more money under his shoe deal because he plays for the Lakers now?
Again, if players are paid what they’re worth on the open market this situation doesn’t exist, but as is you are creating a situation that is ripe for manipulation when top players are paid far less than they would be worth on an open market without salary restraints.
I wouldn’t want any kind of salary cap at all if I were a player just like I don’t want any kind of salary cap now for what I do for a living.
I want every person to make as much as the market is willing to pay them.
Chesty on Twitter writes:
“Why do athletes (Megan Rapinoe most recently) continue to refuse to visit the White House? If they really have issues with the Pres, wouldn’t visiting allow them the opportunity to speak to him and speak their concern to him in person?”
This is one of my biggest issues with our current political environment — if you engage with the other side it’s somehow seen as an awful thing to be willing to do.
If Megan Rapinoe truly disagrees with Donald Trump on a bevy of political issues, wouldn’t it make sense for her to request a meeting with him and make the case on the decisions he’s made that she disagrees with? I think so.
Think about this from a historical perspective, the reason Martin Luther King, Jr. marched was to get a seat at the political table with a president so civil rights laws could be changed. Even if, potentially, that president disagreed with his political goals, getting a meeting was a MASSIVE deal, the entire reason for the protest. The goal was to get in the room and by getting in the room to be able to effectuate change.
Nowadays it seems like people want to protest just to bring attention to themselves rather than engage in constructive dialogue and bring about change.
Why is that?
First, because I think most of what is being protested today isn’t actually that impactful — things are pretty dman good in America today even if people want to argue otherwise and second, and I think more substantially — because once you sit down with someone you disagree with you have to acknowledge their common humanity and you might end up liking them, even if you disagree with their politics.
That’s why I defended Joe Biden for pointing out that working with people you disagree with on many issues is a big part of political success. What Biden was illustrating in talking about his work with the segregationist senators was that even though he disagreed with their politics then, he might still be able to make common ground with them elsewhere.
That’s what normal humans do.
We don’t all agree on everything, but we also don’t all disagree on everything either.
For instance, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are very dissimilar on many issues, but they agree that America needs an aggressive response on China. Just because Bernie disagreed with Trump on taxes, does that mean he shouldn’t try and work with Trump on Chinese trade if that were possible?
It’s also possible that by interacting with someone you might help them to change their minds. Look at Robert Byrd, the former Democratic senator from West Virginia. He was a KKK member in his early political career, but by the end of his career he was a voice for civil rights. People are complicated and sometimes we’re wrong about issues or our opinions evolve. How does that happen? Frequently by interacting with people we choose to spend time with.
You don’t get people to agree with you by calling them awful, vile names, you do it by the power of persuasion.
I don’t consider it a badge of honor to attempt to silence someone I disagree with. Now, I want to win the debate with someone I disagree with on issues that matter to me, but I’m not a guy who runs and hides from people with different political persuasions. For instance, I’d welcome Jemele Hill on my new Wins and Losses podcast and let her argue for what she believes in without feeling like that somehow devalues what I believe in.
I think Trump would probably meet with Megan Rapinoe and other members of the US women’s soccer team and listen to their concerns. Would his opinions change? Maybe, maybe not. There is certainly evidence with Kim Kardashian that Trump has been open to famous people convincing him to undertake an action he otherwise might not have undertaken. But no matter what the result would be, I suspect Rapinoe and her teammates would have to acknowledge Trump isn’t Hitler once they met him in person.
And that’s ultimately why they don’t want to meet him.
Because they’d rather believe in Donald Trump as a Nazi boogeyman because it confirms their world view is all correct and his is all wrong.
That’s what this current cancel culture is all about — if you want to cancel someone’s opinions or someone’s audience what you’re really arguing is they don’t deserve to be heard by anyone. Which is, you know, what totalitarian dictators do.
The truth of the matter, whether people believe it or not, is that most complicated issues in this country are complicated because there aren’t easy answers. If there were easy answers there wouldn’t be good arguments on multiple sides and we’d have fixed those issues long ago.
Mark on Twitter writes:
“Whatever happened to LeBron’s hate crime case? You know, the one with no evidence and the one where there was evidence it was sprayed over before the police got there? Do you think it went the same direction of the Las Vegas PD case of Michael Bennett?”
The LeBron hate crime story just disappeared.
Like, honestly, many hate crime stories do.
It has now been two years since that story emerged and nothing has happened. That leads me to believe the Los Angeles police have essentially determined no crime occurred.
As if that weren’t enough, since that time LeBron moved his entire family to Los Angeles and now lives in the house. If LeBron really thought he was at danger from a racist at large in the city who knew where he lived, would it make any sense to move his family there?
Of course not.
Yet no one else in the media reported doubts about this story at all — probably because they were afraid that asking questions about whether it occurred would get them branded racist — but it is fascinating how stories like these vanish.
Whether it was the Michael Bennett racial profiling allegation that vanished when all the casino footage was released and proved it didn’t happen or this LeBron case or countless other alleged “hate” crimes.
Most of the media in this country wants to perpetuate the idea that America is a horrible, racist place. So when allegations are made, the story is top news, and then the same story just vanishes when it isn’t supported by evidence.
It’s uncanny.
Cole on Twitter writes:
“If you were offered a Bill Murray-like role in Space Jam 2, would you take it?”
Of course.
Dude, I played myself in Blue Mountain State. You think I’m turning down a chance to be in a major Hollywood movie?
GOAT on Twitter writes:
“Thoughts on the recent Google and Reddit suppression on conservative channels & commentators (see: Project Veritas)? It seems as though they’re actively dictating public opinion to benefit themselves. Ie, avoiding a “2016 situation.”
I find it very troubling that tech companies are engaged in content suppression of conservative voices because this directly impacts the marketplace of ideas and the robustness of our public debate.
I’ll be out in Los Angeles next week and I’m doing Dave Rubin’s show and I just did Ben Shapiro’s radio show again as well. I hope to get both of these guys on my new podcast. Now I don’t agree with everything these two guys say, but it’s absolute insanity to me that they are considered alt-right Nazis by these tech companies.
I mean, absolute insanity.
This is the way the cancel culture I mentioned above works, someone’s opinions are deemed unacceptable — generally this occurs without anyone actually reviewing those opinions — and then it’s almost impossible to find them on social media channels any longer.
The same thing happens to me.
Go read any “mainstream” article about me and look how quickly I’m labeled controversial by the writer.
But only my opinions that aren’t liberal are considered controversial.
No one ever says the fact that I’m pro-choice or anti the death penalty is controversial. But my opinion that Colin Kaepernick shouldn’t kneel during the national anthem is controversial? How many times have you ever heard someone’s opinion that Kaepernick should be able to kneel during the national anthem labeled controversial? Probably never.
I don’t think I’m remotely controversial. I think I just seem controversial because I actually say what I think and it’s not politically correct.
But, and this is key, the vast, vast majority of the American public isn’t politically correct.
Which is why my audience keeps growing at such a rapid rate.
Shawn on Twitter writes:
“Why do the biggest criminal justice reformers want the most severe social justice penalties?”
Phenomenal question.
I mean, just stellar.
If your entire premise is we shouldn’t judge criminals severely for the mistakes they actually made, that is their criminal ACTIONS, why in the world would you want to judge people severely for what they Tweet or what they say, that is, their WORDS?
I’ve been hammering home this question for years now, the way social media levies bigger penalties for words than actions.
Think about it, if you’re a parent today you’re probably better off if your 16 year old white kid gets arrested for shoplifting than if he gets caught on social media rapping along to a popular song. How wild is that? The arrest for shoplifting gets expunged when your kid turns 18, the singing of the rap lyrics might get him kicked out of school if it shows up when he’s 18.
The answer is, sadly, people like this are lenient to those that they believe support them and draconian to those they believe don’t support them. It’s just a part of this awful tribal-laden identity politics era that we’re currently embroiled in and I’m afraid things will get worse if we end up with Donald Trump running for president against Kamala Harris, who is now favored to win the Democratic nomination after last night’s debates.
The entire Trump-Harris campaign will just be one big allegation of racism and sexism levied over and over and over again.
It will be awful.
Clayton writes:
“As a fellow successful individual I wanted to solicit your advice on a beach house. My family has rented a beach house each of the past five years. We started near Destin, and have moved further east every year. This years house was in Santa Rosa, FL and we loved it. Beach was empty, kids loved the small town feel, food was great and prices seemed reasonable.   
I am a financial planner and investment manager, and fail to see how buying a beach house in that area could be a bad investment. Since you did so over the past couple of years, could you offer any insight on the matter?”
Really what this boils down to is — when does it make sense to buy a second home?
So I’ll run you through my rationale.
First, I know everyone has different goals in life, but I’m of the opinion that interest rates are so low right now that I don’t want to pay off any properties I own. That is, I’d rather owe money on my house (or houses) and investment property than buy them with cash. (Now if I was worth $50 million or more, maybe I’d think differently, but I just think it’s crazy to pay off a home when you can get a 3.5% interest rate with mortgage interest rate tax deductions that effectively make that property’s interest rate around the inflation rate while I can simultaneously make 9% a year on average just by buying index funds. So why would I put my money into my house when I can make much more while having an appreciating asset — my home — and also have my additional money appreciating at a higher rate elsewhere?)
With that in mind we bought the place down at the beach for three reasons: 1. we love 30A and will enjoy immensely the ability to make family trips down there on a regular basis. 2. buying in a popular beachside environment has been a good investment historically since rich people’s incomes tend to increase faster than poor people’s incomes and rich people are the ones buying beach homes. 3. we aren’t going to overbuy and have to panic and sell because we need the money when the market takes an inevitable downturn.
As long as all three of these criteria work for you then I think it makes total sense to buy a second home.
Where people end up losing in a big way is if, for instance, you buy a second home and then in the next several years have a major financial change and have to sell while the market is tanking. Eventually, and no one knows when it will be, our economy will hit a recession and one of the first things that will happen is people start selling off their non-core assets, often at fire sale prices, because they lack sufficient liquidity to ride out the downturn.
That means the value of your second home is less stable, probably, than the value of your first home. So you have to prepare for the potential roller coaster ride and not worry about home prices in the short term.
If you are stable enough financially that you can afford to ride out any economic downturn then I fail to see how you’re going to lose substantial money on a second home in a desirable area. At worst, you might sell in five or ten years or so for about what you paid, but you’ll have created a ton of family memories in the process.
Final thought: I’m not trying to discourage anyone out there from paying off their home, but at these interest rates I just don’t personally see the point if you have somewhere else you think the money can make sense.
Thanks for reading the mailbag.
Hope you guys have fantastic weekends.
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