All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s Friday and I’m sitting in the Houston airport with my nine year old. The two of us left our vacation in Mexico a day early so we could make his end of the season eight team basketball tournament in Nashville.

Welcome to #dadlife.

So this week’s Friday mailbag may be a bit shorter and filled with even more errors than normal.

With that in mind, here we go:

Darren writes:

“If you could use your lawyery skills to wade into the NFL CBA negotiations, which side would you represent and what would be your biggest “item” to push for?”

I’d represent whoever was willing to pay me the most. That’s what lawyers do.

But rather than represent one side or the other I’d rather advocate for the issues that I think make the most sense to strengthen the NFL for both players and owners.

I’d argue for only two preseason games — preseason NFL football is godawful and stretches on for far too long. I’d expand the regular season to 17 weeks, add an extra bye week, and extend the Super Bowl to the Sunday before President’s Day so most people got the day after the Super Bowl off from work. I like the idea of expanding the playoffs to 14 teams and think that’s the right decision.

I’d expand rosters to sixty players and allow 53 players to dress on gamedays to allow teams to play more players, thereby limiting the total number of snaps each player is required to play.

I’d eliminate all drug testing for non-performance enhancing drugs. (If you want to smoke weed or use recreational drugs, that’s your fault. Your career will likely be much shorter as a result). I’d also provide lifetime medical care for all players — just the players, not their families — who make it four years or more in the league.

Philly John:

“Will you be voting for Trump?”

If it’s Donald Trump vs. Bernie Sanders, as it appears it very likely will be, then the answer is yes, I’ll be voting for Trump.

Trump would be the first Republican presidential candidate I’ve ever voted for and it would mean that in the presidential elections I’ve been old enough to vote in I will have voted for Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Gary Johnson, and Donald Trump. (I volunteered on the Bill Clinton campaign in 1996, but wasn’t old enough to vote in that election and I worked on Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000.)

As always I’m not sharing how I’m voting — or have voted in the past — to encourage you to vote a particular way, but just because I believe in being as honest and transparent with my audience as possible.

Andrew writes:

“Clay, my in-laws always talk with their mouth full. We had dinner with them the other night and I told my 4 y/o to finish chewing before speaking and this clearly was received as a shot across the bow at the in-laws. How do I tactfully handle this, oh wise one?”

Do your in-laws disagree with you and believe you should talk with your mouth full?

If so, you can debate that with them, otherwise you’re just sharing good advice with your kids. In general, you shouldn’t talk with your mouth full.

Your in-laws likely know they shouldn’t be behaving they way they are, but do so anyway.

That’s fairly common.

All of us do things we know we shouldn’t. For instance, I just ate at the Buffalo Wild Wings in the Houston airport. And I ate my nine year old’s onion rings off his plate even though I’m forty and shouldn’t be eating his onion rings because they are wildly unhealthy for me.

If someone — for instance, my wife — pointed out that the onion rings were unhealthy and I shouldn’t be eating them why would I be mad at someone for pointing out something I already knew myself?

If your in-law’s smoked would it be wrong for you to tell your kids not to smoke? Of course not. You did nothing wrong here.

Chic writes:

“Does Bloomberg have a chance?”

I don’t think so, no.

His problem is pretty straightforward — so long as the moderates all remain in the election through Super Tuesday then Bernie Sanders will be the Democratic nominee because he owns the left wing of the party.

The only way I could see for Bloomberg to combat this fact would be to somehow persuade Joe Biden, Amy Klobachar and Mayor Pete to drop out of the election. But how could he persuade them to do this? Maybe, possibly, he could entice Klobachar and Mayor Pete with spots in his cabinet, but why would Biden accept this offer? He’s already been vice president and he’s likely too old to be enticed by any other (lesser) job in the administration.

That’s why the debate on Wednesday night surprised me so much. The Democrats needed to all be attacking Bernie. Instead they decided to attack Bloomberg and mostly let Bernie skate. The result? Bernie is poised to effectively end the Democratic race on Super Tuesday.

The only election occurrence I could see changing this calculus would be if Elizabeth Warren suddenly rose from the political dead and beat Bernie in Nevada and South Carolina.

But the chances of that happening seem to be virtually zero.

The only other possibility I can see changing things is health related: Bernie, who had a heart attack a few months ago, could have another heart attack. That would likely lead to calls for him to withdraw from the race. In fact, short of an assassination of a political figure, something that hasn’t happened in two generations, that would probably be my biggest fear if I was a Democrat obsessed with beating Trump: not that Bernie is too far left, but that Bernie isn’t healthy enough to withstand the rigors of a presidential campaign.

Hoosier writes:

“Everyone is down on Rob Manfred, and some are calling for his resignation. But who is the worst pro sports commissioner? Goodell, Silver, Bettman, and Manfred?”

Manfred handled the Astros cheating controversy poorly because he acquiesced to the player’s union demand that players not be suspended. If Manfred had decisively suspended players for the cheating scandal I think most of the criticism would be muted.

But most people feel, I think rightly, that suspending a general manager and a manager wasn’t sufficient enough of a penalty for a cheating scandal of this magnitude.

Manfred’s also in a tough spot because the Astros won the title. If they had lost game seven to the Dodgers back in 2017 this scandal would be receiving a fraction of the attention. It’s not just that the Astros cheated, it’s that they cheated and won the title.

I think sports commissioners all seem “bad” because we generally only hear about them when there are controversies in their sports.

All of them have a very difficult job, they have to manage a collection of fractious billionaires and take all the flack for issues in the league. Meanwhile they also have to be the face of the league when it comes to player controversies. Roger Goodell did commissioners no favors when he instituted his profoundly stupid personal conduct policy for players.

As a result every other commissioner has been compelled to follow Goodell’s lead. Whereas in past player behavior controversies the league was mostly a bystander, now every time a player gets in trouble the immediate response from media and fans is: “What is (insert league here) going to do about this?!”

Having said all of this, I think Adam Silver is the most overly praised league commissioner and I think Roger Goodell is the most overly criticized league commissioner.

Jones writes:

“I know it’s just February, but in your whole life, Have you ever felt more confident about who will win the presidential election?”

It’s way too early to feel very confident about the outcome of this election.

Trump won Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin by a combined total of 77,000 votes. That’s less than the number of people who go to a Michigan, Wisconsin or Penn State football game on a Saturday in the fall.

I think Trump will beat Bernie Sanders in 2020 because I think there are lots of people like me in the middle part of the country who simply won’t vote for a socialist. Indeed, I think Trump’s great good fortune is that he inspires such hate in his opponents he may well have driven them to select the worst possible nominee to go up against him this fall.

But it’s also the case that it’s highly unlikely Trump is able to win more states than he already did in 2016. New Hampshire, Nevada, Minnesota, Maine, Colorado and Virginia are all states Trump lost that were decided by eight points or less. Will he be able to flip any of these states in 2020? If not, it will come down to the Big Ten states once more.

Tell me what happens in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and I’ll tell you who will win this election.

Will writes:

“I watch Lock It In almost daily, bummed y’all are out this week; but I stream it rather than watching it at its regular time. Does this factor into ratings? Should streamed episodes count more than live television considering I’m going out of my way to watch the show?”

I watch television ratings a bit, but ultimately that’s beyond my control.

What I watch more than that is the number of people who watch the clips I share on social media. Every single video I put out is watched by tens of thousands of people.

Given the fact that we’re moving towards a future where television and streaming are all converging — more rapidly than most people realize — I think there will be relatively few people who can produce substantial audiences online in the world of sports.

And as long as I can keep doing that, I think I’ll be fine.

Okay, hopping the flight to Nashville now. (I don’t trust Southwest wifi so I’m hitting publish now).

Thanks for reading Outkick and I hope you guys have fantastic weekends.

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