Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Hype Works

Illustration by Sam Woolley/GMG
Illustration by Sam Woolley/GMG
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Your letters:


How long are we supposed to pretend this Mayweather/McGregor shitshow isn’t going to be 100% rigged? Is our best hope that halfway through Floyd pulls a Thunderlips because he was unable to read the script?


Oh, it’s completely rigged. The allure of that fight is in HOW it will be rigged. Everyone has already seen those videos of McGregor giving loves taps to a heavy bag. To me, it’s clear he’s faking it. He’s either trying to hide the fact that he can box (unlikely), or he’s trying to get you to BELIEVE he’s boxing even worse than he already does (much more likely) and tricking you into believing he’s faking THAT and that he can actually box. I know that’s extremely convoluted, but this is an exhibition that only benefits from swathed in multiple, Inception-style layers of kayfabe.

I wish I could tell you that I won’t watch. No one wants to hand money to either of these shitbags, and no one wants to encourage an already-corrupt sport to burn whatever scraps are left of its integrity just to bring in a few extra eyeballs. But I’m TOTALLY gonna watch. I’m a complete sucker. As much as I bitch about this match being rigged and overhyped, there is still a tiny fraction of my brain that’s like, “But what if some crazy shit happens?” That’s all a fight promoter needs. All a fight promoter needs is the mere specter of McGregor abandoning his contract and kicking Floyd in the head, or Mayweather knocking Paddy O’Lucky out in half a second, to pull me in and hate myself for it.


Everyone loathes overhyped shit but the harsh truth is that hype works. It’s inescapable. It makes the disposable essential. It makes everything feel bigger than it is, and it makes you feel bigger for being part of it. It’s a flurry of sociological jabs that strike directly at the involuntary reflexes of your mind, even as you claim to be immune to it. I’m exactly the kind of mark who’s like “This fight is gonna suck,” and then watch it anyway, and then be like, “Hey, that fight sucked!”

Hype gives you permission to participate in something while pretending you’re not OF it. It also benefits from the fact that the future, however predictable, is still unknowable. It’s insidious, and that’s why a transparently phony clown show like McGregor/Mayweather can still rake in zillions of dollars. They don’t give a shit if you think it’s rigged. In fact, it’s better if you do, because that makes it feel a whole lot more dramatic than if it were just another boring Floyd Mayweather boxing clinic.


Michael Bennett and Marshawn Lynch are now sitting for the National Anthem. I am sure more will follow. Can the NFL possibly blackball them all? What caliber of player needs to sit for it to no longer guarantee a blackball?


As we’ve said here before, Colin Kaepernick wasn’t deliberately “blackballed” from the sport. Like, there wasn’t a secret meeting of all 32 owners where they donned black robes and signed a compact in blood exiling Kap forever. This was a much more organic kind of mass cowardice. Every day that Kap goes unsigned makes his absence that much more conspicuous. No one wants to be the guy that signs him after all that conjecture.

Also, Kaepernick’s situation is unique because he’s clearly not the player he once was (although I still think he’d make a quality backup, and any Twitter egg arguing otherwise is full of shit), and—more important—he was first. This may not be technically true (Marshawn claims he’s been sitting for the anthem for years), but he is seen as the trailblazer for sitting during the anthem. So when another player follows suit and takes a knee during the anthem, they’re seen as following in his footsteps. I’m not saying this is true. I’m saying that your average mouthbreather is like “Michael Bennett wouldn’t be sitting if it weren’t for that meddling Kaepernick!”


So no, you won’t see Lynch or Bennett blackballed for protesting the anthem. They’re better players than Kaepernick and they’re less “controversial” than the guy who’s considered the chief troublemaker. You already know that owners and GMs only take a moral stand on players they know they can live without. Well, fans are the same way. Fans can talk a big game about canceling their tickets if a team signs Kaepernick, but they ain’t puffing their chests if a vital player like Lynch does likewise. We all have our double standards.

By the way, after what happened in Charlottesville, I don’t wanna hear anyone fucking complain about when an athlete protests the anthem. It’s the surest sign that you’re a lazy blob…that you don’t care WHY those guys or protesting, nor do you want to make any attempt to empathize with what it’s like for those guys to live in THIS America. I hope Beast Mode trucks you if you complain about him.



Does Trump use brand new bed sheets every day? What a fucking asshole.

ACTUALLY… There’s a rumor that the White House staff can’t keep Trump’s bedsheets clean because he orders a bucket of KFC original recipe every night, eats the chicken IN BED while watching cable news, and wipes his hands on the sheets. Now that’s a completely uncorroborated story, but I’m gonna choose to believe every word of it. If Trump believes all his own lies, I’m entitled to believe anything I please about him. I think that’s more than fair.


You know what? Fuck it, I got another rumor: Trump spent a whole meeting with a diplomat calling the Mars candy company “beautiful” and stuffing his jacket with free boxes of M&M that were on the table. Then he walked to another meeting and his pockets jangled like he had fucking baby rattles in them. So there you go: the president is a greasy-fingered, M&M-swiping tub of goo.


So I’m sitting at the airport bar drinking at 10am, because that’s what airports are for, and I look over and there are two women in their mid 20's busting out what looks to be a p90x workout right in the terminal. There are just some places you don’t work out, right?


Yeah, don’t work out in airport terminals. I know it seems like an efficient use of time (I myself always get to the airport too early and end up milling around for an hour or more), and I know that you can usually find a gate area that’s relatively empty because it has no immediate flights going out of it. But doing a full workout in a terminal filled with screaming babies and stressed-out businessmen is too much. Everyone’s gonna stare at you and think you’re a weirdo. And who the hell wants to sit for hours next to someone who just conducted a sweaty workout? I am legally allowed to throw you from the plane if you do that to me.


If you could own one movie prop (the actual version used in the filming of the movie), what would you go with? And we’re not talking cars or houses used in movies, these are props that otherwise would have little to no value (think Luke’s light saber or Indy’s bullwhip).


Any weapon from the Lord of the Rings movies. I just showed my oldest kid those movies for the first time and the reason they’re great is that Peter Jackson innately understood that medieval armor and weapons are all cool as shit, and that the way you stage a battle sequence is by hauling out an even bigger, scarier weapon than the weapon that just came before it. “Oh, you though that flaming wolf’s head battering ram was cool? Well OH SHIT BABY, here’s a cave troll carrying a crossbow that shoots live elephants.” I’ll take the Witch King’s helmet and sword, and use both of them to scare the dog.

Second place would be the nuclear bomb from Dr. Strangelove. I’d ride it every day. Third place is Wilson. I’d put Wilson right on the kitchen counter and talk to it like it’s an Amazon Echo. “Wilson, what’s the weather gonna be like today? Oh, sunny? Nice. Wilson, play me some showtunes.”


By the way, never trust anyone who has too many film or TV props in their home. Like okay, maybe you splurged on a replica lightsaber for your rec room. That’s all well and good. But if your house is FESTOONED with Pixar dolls and Star Trek paraphernalia, I reserve the right to assume you diddle kids. GROW UP, says the man who owns a Minnesota Vikings-themed Mr. Potato Head.


My wife and I are currently going back and forth about screen time for our just-over-one-year-old, especially during football season. I normally, without blinking an eye, watch 20-30+ hours of football Thursday->Monday. Apparently that much TV is ‘bad’ for ‘developing brains’ and might result in ‘long-term side effects’... How did you deal with this with your kids?


Obviously, if you are lucky enough to have a separate room for sports viewing—a “manhole,” as it were—you can seal yourself in there to keep baby’s precious eyes away from the TV. But if you don’t have that kind of room or—even worse—your children INSIST on breaching your quiet space because they like “spending time with you,” you’re probably gonna have to make the same compromise that I did. Namely, I just exempted sports from all screen time limits. Sports don’t count. The kids can watch sports until their eyes explode. My reasoning is that watching sports is good for you. It teaches children about hard work, and being a good teammate, and that Coors Light is the official beer of the NFL. Those are all invaluable life lessons. It’s like bonus school, really.

My problem now is that two of my kids don’t actually like to watch sports, and so the lone sports fan child gets extra TV while the other two don’t. And when they point out this inconsistency (every five minutes), I tell them they wouldn’t have this problem if they simply bent to my will and enjoyed watching sports. Pretty strong dad work, in my opinion. I’m sure this will never end up coming back to haunt me.



Is the front of the backpack the part that faces forward when it’s on your back (i.e., the flat part without any zippers), or is the part that faces backward when it’s on your back (i.e., the side with all the doo-dads and what-have-yous)? I say the front of the backpack is the part that touches your back when you’re wearing it because it’s the closest to the “front” of you, but I have run into a disagreement with a coworker about this.


I’m with your co-worker. The front of the backpack is the one with all the little pockets and zippers, which means that the backpack faces backward when you’re wearing it. When you wear one, you have two fronts. You are Janus, God of Duality.

We actually got our youngest kid a new backpack because school starts up again in a few weeks (please God hurry), and he was so excited for that backpack. It was like we’d given him a car. I wish I could be as excited about anything as he was about that Spiderman backpack. I forgot how awesome new school supplies feel when you get them. Like, when you get a new backpack and try it on and you’re like, “I look AMAZING. This backpack is gonna make a GOD.” Then, within two weeks, it’s got 50 holes in it and the inside smells like pencil shavings.




If you brought every human on earth to a Major League ballpark and pitched them batting practice balls, and also set up a 10-foot basketball hoop, could more people hit a home run or successfully dunk a basketball? Assume they can swing until they get tired and that they can get a running start and don’t have to dribble to dunk.


Goddamn, that’s hard. When I first started to answer this, I thought more people could dunk, especially if they have to use wood bats for the homer. A lot of tall dudes can dunk. If you have the height and/or the jumping ability, there’s no additional skill needed to throw the ball down, right? But hitting a batting practice meatball out of a major league park not only requires the natural ability, but a skill set beyond that. You have to have the hand-eye coordination, timing, bat speed, and proper mechanics to jack that ball. So my initial thinking was that a homer requires more practice than the dunk. There are more tall people who can just dunk naturally than strong people who also have good swings, right?

Then our own Billy Haisley pointed out that, at your average high school, more kids can probably homer than dunk. Also, you can luck into a homer. You CAN’T luck into a dunk. Either you can dunk, or you can’t. Demographically, the pool of people that could potentially homer is greater than the dunk pool. So I guess dunkers are more rare. I’m so torn, man. No one on our staff can agree. Honestly, this needs to be on the census questionnaire. I have no idea what percentage of the American population can dunk or jack a tater, and that’s a vital stat that should be kept on file to reference as needed.



All the courtroom movies ever made vs. all the sports movies ever made. Who ya got?


The courtroom movies, because Paths of Glory is a courtroom movie and it will fuck you up. Both of those genres suffer from the same sort of problem though. They are indirect genres. When I watch a sports movie, I’d rather watch sports. And when I watch a courtroom drama, I’d usually rather watch more of the backstory to what CAUSED that trial than the trial itself. This is true of a lot of courtroom books too, where you get 50 pages of kickass true crime followed by 300 pages of a goddamn trial. Let’s just focus on the cold-blooded murdering, shall we?

But again, go watch Paths of Glory. I’m still shaken.


I currently live in a 60% partial eclipse zone and am scheming a way to reach totality. I have a friend who lives in Portland and is content with seeing 99% from his house and no desire to drive an extra 30 miles to see totality. Which one of us is crazier?!


I actually didn’t know that only select areas would see the full eclipse until, like, a week ago. I thought I could just walk outside and stare at the sun and experience cosmic rapture while going blind, but no. No, I gotta drive. Fuck that. My opinion is that there is no momentous event that cannot be ruined by crowding. If aliens land during that eclipse—and please god, let them arrive and vaporize us all—I swear to you that the prospect of waiting 12 hours just to find a parking spot would be enough for me to stay away from the point of first contact. I’ll just watch on TV. I won’t even drive 10 minutes to watch a July 4th fireworks display. Therefore, my opinion is that you are crazier than your friend for subjecting yourself to what promises to be a new dimension of traffic hell.

By the way, I know that you’re supposed to have special glasses to check out the eclipse, but I’m not springing for those. I’m fine with a glimpse. I’ve glanced at the sun before and been just fine. I bet I can get away with tossing on some sunglasses and having a peek.


[two weeks later]

[requires more eye surgeries than Mike Zimmer]


Imagine you fall into a hole in the earth and you are now destined to free fall forever. You do not know that this is your fate, just that you are free falling. How long would it take you your body to acclimate to the sensation of falling and your mind to resign itself to the idea that there is no ground coming up at you for you to accept it and lose the sensation of falling? How long would it take for you to be comfortable enough to fall asleep while falling?


I think you would quickly pass out from terror/exhaustion before being like, “Well, guess I’ll be here a while. Time for a nap!” Not to be all morbid, but that’s what happens to people who get sucked out of airplanes. They start to fall, realize death is imminent, and they shut down.

I have jumped out of an airplane before and, obvious fears aside, it’s VERY windy up there. It’s like being struck by a hurricane from below. I don’t know that the human body can get acclimated to that kind of aggressive airflow, not when it’s stretching your face out like a morning show host’s. Also, if you don’t know when/how you’re gonna land, the fear and anticipation of death would probably keep you from ever feeling 100 percent comfortable. Only some weirdo like Tom Cruise would think that’s a gas.


You can actually visit an indoor skydiving joint to experience the sensation for yourself. They put you in a cylinder and blast a huge fan under you, then you float up in the air with the wind pummeling your face at 80 mph. Surprisingly, this is not terribly pleasant. You think you’re gonna feel like you’re flying, like you are the majestic eagle soaring across the mountains. Instead, you feel like you’re walking along Michigan Avenue in January.


Why don’t hospitals have bars? After visiting a friend in the ICU all I could think about was getting a drink.


I assume that your state/county forbids the sale of alcohol on hospital premises so that your doctors and nurses don’t get plowed before performing your tracheotomy. That would be problematic. The real problem is that, outside of cities, there’s never a goddamn bar NEAR the hospital. Every hospital now is a 12-building complex covering a billion acres. There needs to be a bar and weed dispensary within walking distance of every ER, dammit.

There is actually a French hospital that prescribes wine to patients. That is peak France. “Honh honh honh have zis wine for your colon canzere, monsieur.” You’ll never see that sort of thing happen in America, mostly because prescribing wine instead of $500 pills would cost Big Pharma money.



I’m so high that I just ate some fucking fries out of the garbage can that were in there for the last four hours. In my defense, they were from my dinner, still in the carton, in a bag and on the top of the garbage but still... what the fuck? Am I a piece of shit??


Four hours is a pretty long time to leave them there. After that long, the perfumerie of the rest of the can has likely infiltrated your food and contaminated it. I think you should abide by the five second rule for any clean garbage can food. Like when Costanza eats that éclair out of the garbage? Perfectly acceptable if it’s a quick turnaround. But you can’t leave that shit on a doily resting on a pile of maggots for hours on end and pretend it’s still pristine.

I actually ate something out of the garbage the other day because my wife tossed out something that was half-eaten before I had a chance to get at it. Like, she thinks nothing of throwing away half a chicken thigh. Very inconsiderate. So I have to rescue it and do my patriotic duty of stripping it clean. Anyway, my kid caught me doing this and now I’ve probably set a bad precedent. I REGRET NOTHING.



Many ‘80s movies feature the line “So be it”, and it’s always said in a sinister way by one of the primary antagonists. Perhaps the most famous is the Emperor saying, “So be it, Jedi” to Luke at the end of ‘Return of the Jedi’. In “The Little Mermaid”, Arial’s dad says it right before smashing her prized statue and causing her to flee to the sea witch. Find me one instance where “So be it” is used in a light and positive way!


The only thing I can think of is when King Arthur says it right before chopping off the Black Knight’s arms and legs in Holy Grail. But even though that’s a comedy, it’s still put in a sinister way. In movies, saying “So be it” basically means, “Oh, stubborn, eh? WELL FUCK YOU! [guns blaze]”. It’s a really nice, dramatic prelude to combat. Frankly, people should use it more in everyday life.

YOU: (after car wreck) Hey, you cut me off!

OTHER GUY: No I didn’t.

YOU: Oh, don’t think you did anything wrong, eh?



[massive road rage killing]

Good shit.


Are phone battery percentage numbers bullshit? Do you think it actually goes down at the same rate all day long?


Of course they’re bullshit, but they’re not bullshit in any kind of consistent or predictable way. Sometimes I can milk a low battery like it’s half a tank of gas. Other times, that percentage PLUMMETS, with virtually no warning. And then I gotta see what’s causing the drain. Is it the WiFi? Is it the Bluetooth? Is it the fact that I left 9,000 apps dormant and 18,000 browser tabs open? POSSIBLY.

It’s remarkable that we have such miraculous smartphone techonology and it’s still wholly reliant on something as mercurial as battery power. Like imagine aliens pick you up in a spaceship and take you at light speed to their galaxy. Imagine being all blown away and jazzed by their advanced technology, and then one of them is like, “Yo we have stop at the next moon and plug this thing into a moon rock for eight days.” That would kind of suck, right? Scientific limitations are life’s greatest buzzkill.


Email of the week!


I was on my own during the Divisional Playoffs, so I went to Hooters to watch the Saturday games. I watch two games, knock back some beers and mediocre wings, silently ogle the help like the pathetic geek I am, and then head home.

On the drive home, I feel the need urinate building up, and it becomes more and more urgent as the drive gets slower and slower due to people frightened of the rain. About five minutes away from home, traffic comes to a dead stop and I’m in tears because of the pain in my bladder.

I finally get home, quickly let the dogs out of their crates, and get into the bathroom, and begin pissing. I piss for about two seconds when OMG I’M SHITTING MYSELF out of nowhere. I’m still standing up and my jeans and shorts are still essentially up, and I begin to destroy them. I whip around as fast as possible and sit down, but the damage is done. There’s runny shit all over the toilet, floor mats floor and the lower part of the walls.

This bathroom is right across from the laundry, and so I strip down and throw my clothes and the floor mats in the washer. Then I try to wipe myself down with a hand towel (not even close to adequate), then throw that in the washer and flip it on. That bathroom doesn’t have a shower, so I ran upstairs to the master bathroom and rinsed off a bit and put on some clean clothes.

Then I go back downstairs to clean up the rest of the disaster. I get there, and everything is SPOTLESS. WTF?

Then I look at the dogs sitting there watching me passively.

Obviously, while I was upstairs they had licked up every possible microcosm of runny Hooters shit available.

I used to let those fuckers lick my face. Not anymore.

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.