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Should The NFL Support Medicare For All?

Illustration for article titled Should The NFL Support Medicare For All?em/em
Graphic: Elena Scotti (GMG), Photo: Getty
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Today, we’re talking about baths, grocery store timing, quotable movies, Bryce Harper, and more.


Your letters!


How is the NFL not taking its substantial wealth and influence and backing Medicare For All? This seems like it would solve most of the player lawsuits.


Well, the NFL already settled the big class-action concussion lawsuit that former players filed against them, and they’ve been so stingy doling out payments from the settlement that, as our resident football knower Dom Cosentino reported earlier this year, only 11.2 percent of claimants have gotten any actual money this far. NFL owners, like most asshole billionaires in this country, think it’s more cost-effective to just rip people off than it is to do the right thing. They could be wrong on that end, but being wrong has never stopped them in the past.

Moreover, guys like Jerry Jones fear the imagined cost of supporting such an openly liberal issue. I bet the Double J thinks embracing M4A would be like signing a million Kaepernicks to the roster. BUT WHAT WILL THE TROOPS THINK OF OUR COMMIE STANCE?! One idle threat from a housemarm in Highland Park saying she won’t renew her season tickets and they’d drop the cause instantly. It’s not like any of these guys would enjoy supporting that cause anyway. No NFL owner will support a measure that directly proposes an increase in his or her own tax rate. They take that as an insult. But… but I built this myself with daddy’s money! They’re all old rich shitbags who don’t want anyone else to have anything, and they all believe that players should be manly enough to pay for their own brain damage costs. They hate that these ex-players are kicking up a fuss over dying young. They think it’s tawdry of them and that they oughtta die with their mouths sewn shut.

If you’re someone of means, or you just aim to be, it’s very easy to contort your moral principles so that they match your business principles. This happens over and over in the brand world. Darren Rovell is merely the symptom of a much greater disease. People get brand poisoning and come to believe, with great zeal, that doing the best thing for a company means you’re doing the best thing for humanity. You can justify anything by doing this. You’re familiar with Roger Goodell, right? He thinks football is god. He thinks football can treat cancer better than an oncologist can. All of these fuckers are too stubborn, and too addicted to their own worldview, to support a cause that requires ANY measure of personal sacrifice when they can just run a HEY KIDZ SAY NO TO KROKODIL ad campaign instead. If a lazy man works twice as hard, Dan Snyder is the hardest working man in America right now. Yes, the NFL should be in favor of universal health care. But there’s a lot of shit they should support but are too stupid to.


Back in junior high school, we played flag football one semester in PE. The teacher divided us into teams and we rotated through a round-robin season with a playoff at the end. After a team (mine) won the championship, the teacher took the all-stars from the other teams and had them play our team. Ever since then, I’ve been convinced this format would save the Pro Bowl: Hold the Pro Bowl a few weeks after the Super Bowl, and make the SB Champs play two teams of All Stars, one in each half. What do you think?


Well, you’re just advocating for that format because you won a big thing back in middle school. ADMIT IT. Anyway, I like a theoretical scenario where we force the Patriots to play another competitive game AFTER the Super Bowl, just to make them die. But what if they WON that game? Do you really want to bestow extra bragging rights onto that fanbase? I don’t.

Besides, once the Super Bowl ends, I’m ready for football to take a break. I’m not gonna watch some newfangled Pro Bowl. I’m not gonna watch the AAF. I’m not gonna tune into the combine and gawk at a dude getting his lats measured by a chesty assistant GM. Fuck all that. I’m gonna watch some movies and just chill out. I need a few months off before I’m ready for football to anger me all over again.


There is no “saving” the Pro Bowl. There is no improving it. It already gets millions of viewers and makes tons of money for ownership, no matter how much it sucks. It was the No. 1 show on its night this year and that was with Jason Garrett playing his punter at QB and shit. You can tweak the Pro Bowl any way you like, but you’ll never get players to stage a fully competitive exhibition once the season is over, and it’s clear that the NFL doesn’t have to. They’re still gonna try to introduce Wednesday Night NFL games and extend the season to 20 weeks in order to cram more NFL down your throat. But, apart from that, you have to be satisfied with the football that you have. Anything past that is bound to let you down. I’m content for the Pro Bowl to exist strictly as something to bitch about. It’s more fun that way.


If you took the 53 best players in the AAF, could they beat an NFL team?

Right now, your leading AAF passer is the legendary Garrett Gilbert. The leading rusher is Kenneth Farrow II, the leading receiver is Charles Johnson, and the leading pass rusher is something named Karter Schult. So, no. No, the AAF Pro Bowl squad could not beat the Arizona Cardinals. They would get obliterated.


I’m fully aware that football knowers like Gregggggggggggg Easterbrook love to slobber over waiver-bait players and the coaches who can fit them into their precious schemes, but the Cardinals would pick off Garrett Gilbert 50 times and pancake block Karter Schult 50 times more. The Cards could trade Josh Rosen to Miami for a can of beans (and they will), and they would still win that game in a rout. Who’s coaching that AAF All-Pewter team anyway? Dick Jauron? They’re dead meat. When Trent Richardson thinks the AAF is his ticket back to the big time, you know that the talent pool in that league is lacking.

Access merchants and pregame crews love to showcase the GRITITUDE of certain players, so much so that it’s easy for them to trick viewers into believing that success in football is entirely dependent on your work ethic. That delusion may help a coach or a scout or an analyst justify his own existence spewing horseshit, but it’s horseshit all the same. Talent matters. Charles Johnson isn’t playing in the jayvee league because 32 NFL teams all made a horrible mistake.



When is the optimal time to go to your local grocery store? The parameters for this question are (1) minimizing the amount of time needed to wait in line at the check-out, and (2) minimizing travel time to get home once I’m back in my car. Oh and to address the obvious, namely: why not just get Peapod or Amazon to deliver my stuff and avoid this massive time-suck - I’m a control freak and cannot let some rando in a warehouse choose the fresh fruit for me.


I’m like you. I gotta see the steak I’m buying before I buy it. I want the biggest one, and I wanna get fired up over it, and I’m not outsourcing that proud work to another person. Also, Peapod charges you for delivery, and I’m too cheap for that. Much better to waste time and gas to get the food myself, yessir.

Anyway, the best time to go to the grocery store is at, like, 10 p.m. on a weeknight. Will there still be a dozen 99-year-old customers blocking the aisle with Rascal scooters, all of them paying by money order? You bet. Will they still be stocking every shelf, parking the banana dolly right in front of an item you desperately need to reach? Oh yes. Will only one goddamn register be open? You know it. Reader, that’s about the best you’re gonna do. Go any earlier, or on a weekend, there will be 10,000 aggro moms ready to snap your ankles with their carts. FUN! On the rare occasion when I manage an efficient grocery trip free of long lines and parking lot rage, you better believe I tell my wife about it. “There was NO ONE at the store, baby! UNREAL. There must have been a terrible fire somewhere or something that kept people from going! SWEET.”


On the flipside, if I run into trouble, I bitch about it endlessly. My go-to store is near a local high school and if I time it wrong, the store is besieged by idiot teenagers wasting away their lunch period: standing in the doorway, polluting the cash register lines, talking way too fucking loud, or just standing at staring at a fucking phone in the middle of the produce section for no reason. It’s hell. I get home and I UNLOAD on them. “Can you believe these fucking teens, trying to EAT? When I was a kid we stayed on campus for lunch and ate creamed chipped beef, and we liked it!”

Just yesterday, my wife texted me from the store because the teens were there. She texted, “Arrrgh they’re here,” like fucking zombies had taken over the joint. I felt bad.



My friends and I have been arguing over this for years. If you had to take both a bath AND shower, what’s the correct order? I’m firmly on team Bath then shower. Start off by relaxing and finish clean. Isn’t that the obvious choice? What are these other people thinking? Others say you’re clean after the initial shower but I’m not buying it.


Yeah, take the bath first. You’re not five years old. Taking a bath as a grown man is like hanging out in a fucking pond. You gotta shower off after that to feel refreshed. Take sitting in a hot tub at a resort. Sure, they TELL you to shower before you get in. But do you? Fuck and no, you don’t. That’s for the weak. NO ONE TELLS ME WHAT DO TO, MISTER MOTEL SIGN. You step into that Jacuzzi, get freaked out when a bunch of hairy strangers also get in, and then you go rinse off so that you can drink more. That’s the best way of going about things.

BTW, this question made me think of the classic Steven Wright joke: “I like to fill my tub up with water, then turn the shower on and act like I’m in a submarine that’s been hit.” Get out of my head, sir.



At what point in the future will ties be seen as unnecessary and antiquated? I’m talking about the things that people laboriously knot around their necks when wearing a suit. They are the powdered wigs of our time.


I am qualified to answer this! I work at GQ, which makes me an Official Fashion Knower, and I can tell you that a lot of famous dudes have already found workarounds to avoid wearing a tie to formal events. Take this extremely real and not-at-all-Photoshopped example:


Indisputably Sandler’s BEST movie. In all seriousness though, Mahershala Ali didn’t wear a tie to the Oscars. Jason Mamoa didn’t wear one either. Pharrell wore fucking camo shorts to the ceremony. Thanks to a more diverse crowd of ELITES, men’s fashion is opening up, which means high-class dudes can pass off varying styles as formal without opting for a necktie. I now believe that good jeans are formal wear, and I stand by that outrageous take. Goldman Sachs even eased its dress code recently, because you should be able to steal billions in comfort! So I think your wish to make the tie extinct is now three percent closer to reality.

HOWEVAH, I don’t think you’ll ever get rid of ties for good in your lifetime. They still look sharp, and they also serve as visible shorthand to let people know you put some effort into getting dressed for the occasion. For example, I wore a tie to a thing this weekend. I tried tying it eight times to get the length right and finally said “eh it’s good enough” when I got tired of re-doing it, but the effort totally paid off because my kids were like, “Dad you look fancy!” They’re not used to seeing me in anything other than gravy-stained sweats. That tie let them know that Daddy was SERIOUS about mingling on this night. A tie is a message to others that you’ve decided not to be lazy. And since guys will be lazy yet boastful for as long as you live, those ties are here to stay, friend. My apologies.




Are universally quotable films dead? I’m still here banging out lines from Step Brothers. Feels like quotables died with DVDs and we’re all just streaming and huffing content/memes/tweets. We need to get organized.


You probably just got old, like I have. I don’t quote movies to my KRAYZEE BUDDIES anymore because I’m too busy yelling at my kids to see raunchy comedies and then reference them endlessly in a cheap attempt to replicate actual human conversation. That doesn’t mean the well is dry. I’m just too old to pay a visit. There are definitely kids out there quoting Deadpool 2 to one another and then putting in a dip of Kodiak, but you and I have aged out of that group. I spent all of 1994 quoting Clerks to people, even random strangers. It’s better that I don’t try to do that anymore, SNOOCHIE BOOCHIES. These days, I can’t help but come across as a lame dad, and co-opting quotes from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before isn’t gonna make me look or sound any younger. That was a good movie, by the way. I liked it.

Now, if you pose that question to an official Movie Knower, they’ll tell you that studios have more or less abandoned mid-budget movies for the sake of pricey comic book adaptations and other tentpole franchises. That leaves less room for them to make comedies, especially since comedies don’t necessarily translate overseas. Turns out other countries don’t laugh at Paul Blart 4: Blartin’ Fink as much as we do. The fuck is wrong with them?! Studios only want to put money into broad action spectacles that play well everywhere. They want movies to be product, which is not at all dystopian! So if you feel like there’s a distinct lack of Top Secret!-caliber comedies out there for you to quote, that’s partly by economic design. But good and quotable dialogue will never just die outright, no matter how hard Aaron Sorkin tries to make it happen. My kids quote Black Panther and other shit enough that I know it’s true. Just accept that you’ve aged into other forms of conversation.


By the way, you are kinda onto something about people laughing at tweets and stupid gifs instead of full-length comedies. I get enough comedy from the internet during the day, hate-reading Scott Walker tweets and what not. By nightfall, I’m ready to get serious and watch some people DIE. Perfectly normal balance to maintain.


So I was at a huge outdoor farm show this summer. 100,000 people a day over hundreds of acres of trade show goodness dedicated to agriculture. Anyway, before they open the gates they play the national anthem. THIS IS A VERY WE STAND AND RESPECT THE ANTHEM CROWD. That being said, I tuned to a friend that was standing next to me and asked “How much to take a knee”? We figured on more than $50k. Someone might take a swing at you and everyone is going to take a picture and post it to social media so you’re gonna lose your job. But what’s your price?


I’m still processing the idea of hanging out with 100,000 other people on a farm to look at actual farm shit, and not for, like, a Tame Impala show. But lemme ignore that best I can for a second to answer the question. If it means I’m losing my job, I’m not gonna kneel for $50k. I don’t have the sack to risk my career over it. But if we’re talking about just having some rednecks give me dirty looks, then I’d probably do it for less than that. Maybe a grand? I’m a cheap bastard, so $1,000 is worth having Jedidiah scream at me to go back to Russia. I could go to Red Lobster with that dough and still have $995 left over for Peapod delivery fees. NOT BAD!

Time to confess that I have never knelt for the anthem at a public event. This is hypocritical of me, given that I’m pro-Kaepernick and that I don’t think you should be forced to perform acts of national allegiance if you don’t want to. So I’ll hear the anthem over the loudspeaker at a swim meet or something and be like, maybe I should kneel, and then I NEVER have the stones to go through with it. It takes nerve to commit an act of public defiance and risk having everyone else hiss at you for it. This is my way of perhaps overinflating Kaepernick’s bravery in kneeling so that I don’t feel like such a goddamn simp. It’s not working. I’m still a simp. Expressing yourself shouldn’t have a price tag.



I recently went to a Detroit Lions game where almost everyone in my section that had a jersey on was wearing Barry Sanders or Calvin Johnson. I also saw a couple Ndamukong Suh jerseys and even a Cory Schlesinger jersey. It got me thinking, what NFL fan base do you think has the highest percentage of fans wearing jerseys of players that don’t actually play for their team anymore?


Oh hello, greetings from the D.C. area, where it’s ALWAYS 1988. Walk around the D.C. suburbs and you’ll almost certainly see the jersey of a glory-days player like Mark Rypien OR the jersey of a dude who got his leg sheared off in a playoff game against Seattle just a few years ago. My own son has a Kirk Cousins jersey. He can only wear it to taunt me now, and he does so. There’s a small portion of Skins fans that remain devoted and will blindly purchase a new Case Keenum jersey thinking THIS GUY IS GONNA BE THE ONE, but so many other fans here have either given up on the team, or they refuse to give Snyder another penny, or they think the entire world revolves around the first Gibbs era. Those people are satisfied to own an Art Monk jersey and nothing more recent. The Lions are pathetic, but they can’t compete with Skins fans for living in the past, because what past is there? Everyone who remembers Bobby Layne is as dead as he is.

Also, please note the existence of Raiders fans. A Raiders fan will wear a Howie Long jersey and swear that Long could dominate the league TODAY if he ever came out of retirement. Jon Gruden can trade for Antonio Brown and draft Kyler Murray and do a bunch of other crazy shit, and it won’t change the fact that what’s left of the Raiders fanbase still lives in death.



When Bryce Harper and Manny Machado were being courted by the White Sox and Padres, I was thinking, what’s worse for a sport: seeing a great player wasted on a bad team, or having a superteam with too many great players?


The former. Don’t let Cowherds and other hot-take artisans delude you into thinking that superteams are some kind of plague upon the sporting landscape.

Yes, I get sick of dynasties and superteams just like everyone else, especially when it’s not MY team that managed to sign every member of the Avengers to play in the backcourt. But I would still rather see the best players on the best possible team than see them fart around in relative anonymity for a franchise going nowhere. As much as I goof on Philly fans, it does casual fans like me no good if Bryce Harper ends up missing the playoffs every year that he’s with the Phillies. Hating is fun, but the truest joy in sports comes from watching the best athletes succeed. If they gotta ride each other’s coattails to do it, so be it. I don’t give a crap. I’m not gonna sit here and be like MEW MEW MEW THE NBA PLAYERS HAVE TOO MUCH POWER THEY SHOULD FALL IN LINE GO CELTICS MEW MEW MEW. That’s fucking stupid.



Do you think SNL currently employs a cast member or writer who voted for Trump and/or still supports him? If so, do you think this person keeps that info quiet or wears their MAGA hat loud and proud?


LOL have you seen Colin Jost? Colin Jost is like Eric Trump if Eric Trump was even BETTER at failing upward. Colin Jost is terrified of rest stops. Colin Jost gives homeless people wedgies for laughs. If Colin Jost didn’t vote for Trump, it’s probably because he was too busy yelling at a waiter to do it.

So yes, I think someone on staff at SNL has voted for Trump, even if they felt compelled to keep it quiet. Lorne probably voted for Trump for the tax break, and so he could keep giving spot work to his buddy Alec Baldwin. Some writer there also voted for Trump, because TV writers are dour assholes—the exact kind of people who would vote for Trump just to troll the rest of humanity. Even though SNL is screechingly liberal, it’s probably got more than its fair share of hypocrites and both sides-ers on staff. They even had Pete Davidson apologize to Dan Crenshaw for a bit one time, even though Dan Crenshaw sucks. That show is a profit center above all else. Like any other NBC property, it’s more than willing to abandon its liberal façade to placate angry conservatives threatening to boycott Cracklin’ Oat Bran or any other sponsor over the network’s content. TV people are fucking sociopaths. They’d vote for Ultron if it served their interests. Principles are beside the point.


Speaking of personal hypocrisy, I am a disgusting liberal and even I think SNL is way too liberal right now. They just trot out Baldwin every week to rehash the news cycle to get “clapter” (copyright 2008 Tina Fey) and so that clips from the cold open get disseminated by Resistance Grifters online the next morning. Trump is his own self-parody, which makes it hard to effectively parody him in an innovative way. But that shouldn’t be an insurmountable challenge for a show where writers are still forced to work cocaine hours and performers are forced to be writers as well. They could’ve figured it out if they wanted to. Taking the easy way out and cosplaying C-Span moments with movie stars is shit Trump himself would do if he ran that show.

Now Mike Huckabee … THERE’S a comedic mind worth bringing into the fold. Just the kind of ideological balance that SNL needs!


Email of the week!


I just moved into college a few days ago. The way my dorm works is that we share a bathroom with another dorm room, who are our suitemates. Anyways, when we got there, we decided to see who was in the suite. When the guy opens the door, the first thing we notice is he’s the only one in the room. “Weird”, I’m thinking “shouldn’t there be two people?” But I stick out my hand and say “Hi, my names Devin, I’m your suitemate.” And the guy who opened the door says “Oh hi, I’m Contractor.”

I then proceeded to have a conversation with Contractor that consisted of me asking him a question and him giving me a one word answer, so I eventually gave up and went back to my room. He was a pretty scary dude: tall guy with a big beard and these intense black eyes, so I didn’t really want to engage him that long. Me and my roommates laughed about it and then went to sleep, not really thinking much of it.

Fast forward to the next day, at around 7 pm. There’s an ice cream social for all the freshmen, and me and some friends were going down the floor asking if people were going because we were gonna go as a big group. I knock on Contractor’s door, and there’s no reply, so I move on. A few minutes later, I see his door open. His room is pitch black. At 7 PM. I go over and ask him if he’s going to the ice cream social. “No”. “Oh okay man. Were you taking a nap?” “No”. And he closes the door.

All of this leaves us with several important questions:

1. Why doesn’t Contractor have a roommate?

2. What kind of human being goes by or is named Contractor? And, scariest of all...

3. What the fuck was Contractor doing in his room with the lights off at 7 pm???

He’s an assassin. It’s so obvious. Don’t cross him. Send me more roommate horror stories if you got ‘em.

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

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