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

Unity Is For Suckers

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:


Now that Trump has waded into the sports world with his fully exposed limp racist orange dick, I wonder if player protests will be enough. It is going to be easy for him to point at players and say they are unpatriotic, and it plays into his hand of being president of the racists. Might it be better if fans at games started joining in some form of protest? Maybe not kneeling exactly, but what if the all the fans at Oracle yelled “Fuck Donald Trump” or “Fuck 45" for an entire quarter of a nationally televised game between the Warriors and Cavs?


I don’t think it would do much good because fans are basically invisible on television, and TV people happily ignore unruly crowds even if the chants get picked up by the broadcast audio. It’s like when there’s labor strife and fans are like, “Let’s organize a walkout!” That boycott never comes to pass because getting 60,000 drunk fans to agree on something is unfeasible. And teams don’t really give a shit anyway (you could argue that there’s already an unofficial boycott of NFL games at venues in L.A. and Santa Clara, and it has yet to affect how the NFL does business). I think the player protests are about as effective a form of protest as you’ll ever see in sports, because it’s both peaceful and disruptive in the way all good protests are. If the protests have the side effect of mobilizing racist assholes, well those racist assholes would have found something else to get mad about anyway. It’s not about getting THEM to listen, but rather the bulk of more reasonable people.

By the way, I thought everything about Sunday was great except for the fact that virtually every NFL team statement condemned the President for being divisive, and then offered only a few vague words of support for free expression, but didn’t REALLY get to the heart of why players were protesting. Owners were mostly upset that the President was mean, and forced them to actually delve into politics when they make good money by steadfastly avoiding, at least in public, any subject of minor controversy. It was a reverse #sticktosports complaint, really. They weren’t terribly mad about how Trump’s inherent meanness translates into very real and devastating public policy. I think they all put out statements and linked arms mostly in the hopes that this all blows over soon and players go back to sticking to FOOTBAW next week. I still don’t see anyone signing Kaepernick, you know? As this Zito Madu essay explains, the NFL deftly turned this into a convenient branding exercise. They even had ads ready to go.


Everything on Sunday was about promoting unity when really, the whole point of kneeling for the anthem is to point out and express DISUNITY. I don’t wanna put words in anyone’s mouth, but the point is that some guys feel like they cannot stand for the anthem—they cannot be truly united with the rest of us—when minorities are subjected to racism, harassment and violence from their own authorities. They feel apart. Discounted. They do not feel unified. America won’t let them be full Americans.

So fuck that brand of forced, disingenuous unity, you know? You can’t just say “We’re united!” when nothing has been fixed. And you certainly can’t demand people be united in standing for the flag. That’s not real unity. Trump himself was demanding unity in the form of fealty to the flag and the NFL, so a show of rebellion is what really matters. I’m fine with linked arms, I just wish they had all been flipping the bird simultaneously.


What’s the worst raw vegetable to bite into?

Well, are we counting vegetables that are inedible when raw, like eggplant? You probably don’t want to eat raw eggplant. If we’re talking about raw vegetables that people actually eat, the godfather of Bad Crudité will always be broccoli. Raw broccoli is a dirge. You should be paid man-hours to eat it. No one eats it because it tastes good. They just want enough iron in their system to punch through walls, so that take a floret and drag it through a pint of ranch dressing to make it easier to choke down. By rule, all broccoli in the world is served either raw and bitter, or overcooked to the consistency of algae. There’s a five-second window for steaming perfect broccoli, and I have yet to nail it. That’s why I just slather it in oil and blast the fuck out of it in the oven.


(Speaking of eggplant, I have discovered at far too late of an age that the key to eggplant is the skin. If you split an eggplant lengthwise, then drizzle it with oil and sprinkle it with kosher salt and then roast it for a million years, the skin comes out all salty and delicious. I guarantee eggplant skin snacks are coming to a Whole Foods near you soon. They’ll replace all the kale chips.)


If a Siamese twin masturbates, is it incest?

I say it’s only incest if the other head is into it. Like, if the two heads are kissing, that’s when it becomes a spiritual handjob. But if one head is just trying to take care of business and really hoping the other head has the courtesy to not pay attention, then I think we’re on safer legal ground. I mean, we’re talking about Siamese twins here. Life is already impossible for them. As fucked up as America is right now, most of society is gonna give conjoined twins PLENTY of moral leeway, particularly when it comes to awkward sexual moments. You gotta do what you gotta do. No one’s gonna bother you. No one even wants to know about it, frankly.



I’ve noticed my aversion to shaving has been growing since I turned 50. At first it was just weekends. Then I added vacations. Recently I’ve added work days when I’m pretty sure no clients are stopping by. Am I turning into a lazy old man or am I more efficiently utilizing my valuable time?


You’re turning into a lazy old man. One day you’re gonna look in the mirror and see nothing but ear hair and baggy clothing. It happens to the best of us because the fight against schlub is real and virtually unwinnable. The older you get, the harder it is to keep up appearances. So I don’t. I’m too lazy to put on bronzer or pluck my rogue eyebrow hairs or any of that. I walk around in a t-shirt and athletic shorts all day. I shave only when my face starts to itch. I look like a sitcom writer’s room had a baby.

Just the other day, I did an armpit smell check and nearly passed out. One time I wore the same t-shirt so many days in a row that my wife was like, “If you wear that fucking thing again, I will burn it with you still wearing it.” Ten years from now, I’ll be the old man at the gym walking around in flip flops with his ballbag hanging to his knees. Looking forward to it.


In all seriousness though, I would at least put some effort into your grooming, hygiene, and general appearance. I know being a middle-aged married guy means you don’t have anyone to impress, but I definitely feel a LOT better if I shower up, shave, and at least put on something with a collar. I feel like I’m actively participating in society instead of being a cavern-dweller who drinks his own urine for sustenance. I can’t spend the rest of my life dressed like I’m in an Adam Sandler film.


My wife thinks I’m weird because I actually like my feet hanging off the bed when I sleep. I don’t know, I think if an intruder situation were to occur I’d be more ready to jump off the bed and defend her. Am I weird?


Are they hanging off the end of the bed, or the side? I’m tall, so I’ve had to sleep in small beds where I’m slipping my feet through between the bars of the footboard, which is kinda novel for three minutes before I switch up to the fetal position to get some support under my poor trotters. But I don’t know how you’d go about sleeping with both feet hanging off the SIDE of the bed. Seems like you’d ruin your back and fall to the floor once an hour.

I’m all for sleeping however you want to sleep. Keeping one foot uncovered when you sleep is a standard practice enjoyed by many and supported by Big Science. But do it for comfort. Don’t do it for the sake of home security. If a cat burglar slips into your house, having your feet four inches closer to the floor isn’t gonna give you some kind of grand advantage when it comes to foiling him. Just keep a loaded gun under your pillow with the safety off. Now THAT is sleeping with your eyes open.



What percent of crayons are thrown away? I mean if you’re lucky enough for it not to break in the first 5 minutes of use, you still end up with a worthless nub that you can’t hold and have to chuck.


I don’t think my house contains a single intact crayon or a magic marker with any ink left. It’s just a bucket of garbage that we summon anytime the kids need to write GamGam a thank you note for a birthday check. Ever open a craft box and get that old crayon whiff? That’s deeply under-appreciated as bad smells go. Did someone soak the crayons in hobo urine?


Can you eat spaghetti sauce on its own like chili? I ventured into the fridge for leftover spaghetti and the noodles and sauce were stored in separate Tupperware. Rather than heat them both up, I made an executive decision and just warmed up a bowl of sauce. In my defense it’s about 50% ground beef. Is this crazy? I regret nothing.


[Mills Lane voice] I’ll allow it. In these carb-phobic times, I fully support the repositioning of Bolognese sauce into meat gazpacho. Lord knows I would I eat a gallon of the shit if no one was looking. Zero starches! ALL BEEFCAKE. I could open an emporium in Brooklyn and sell nothing but Bolognese soup.

Hell, I don’t even need meat. We buy the Victoria marinara sauce (I highly recommend it if, like me, you use jarred sauce like a heathen) and I’ll eat that shit straight with a spoon. The wife is appalled when she sees this. Again, I should put in more of an effort to be polite, dress better, and not smell like farts around her.



When you’re on vacation in a new city, eating at a national chain restaurant is lame, because you can eat the same food at that same chain restaurant back home. But, you can’t take a 6-year-old to a cool local restaurant, because they decide they hate everything before they’ve even seen the menu. What are you supposed to do on vacation with kids?


You have to split the difference and find a good restaurant that also happens to have a children’s menu. That means you’re not gonna be able to eat at Momofuku Ko or any other place with three seats and a $700 tasting menu, but at least you’ll be dining one step up from Booger King. I need a kid’s menu with fries, and I need a placemat with a maze on it so that Daddy can drink his Moscow Mule in peace. Thankfully, the hipsterification of American dining means that there are plenty of restaurants now that cater to my needs, offering bastardized versions of any trendy dish. I can get my kid a hot dog AND plunk down $17 for a plate of thoroughly average fish tacos. Everyone wins!

Also, if you go on vacation with the kids, I would strongly recommend getting a VRBO instead of a hotel if you can. Having a working kitchen when you’re on vacation with kids makes an enormous difference when it comes to both cost and hassle. You can stock up on beer, eggs, cereal, Entenmann’s donuts and lunch crap, then save your money for dinner out at night. I have three children, which means staying in a hotel is basically impossible. Kayak won’t even let you search for a single hotel room for five people. You gotta hide the extra kid in the minibar. A family of five is an eternal logistics nightmare.




Would you rather get punched in the face, solid punch, no broken bones or teeth, just bruised and swelling or eat one of those spicy ass food challenges with the insane hot peppers?


Have I told you the jalapeno story before? Yes? Fuck it, I’ll tell it again. So, back in school, there was a group of postgrad football players I totally wanted to be friends with, even though I already had good non-football friends already. I was a gross social climber. So I sit with the postgrads at lunch and I’m trying to fit in, and this one kid Sean goes, “Drew, I dare you to eat a whole jalapeno from the salad bar.” Well, it goes without saying that I cared way more about being popular than exercising my own free will, so I went over to the salad bar, grabbed a whole jalapeno, and wolfed it down, seeds and all. The whole table was like OH SHIT and I was like This is it. I am IN. Girls will totally go for me after this.

Now, there was a slight lag between eating the pepper and when the heat kicked in. It’s kinda like when you see the car accident coming but can’t steer out of the way fast enough. After a split second, my face exploded. Tears and snot everywhere. I let my mouth hang open, praying the heat would escape out of my fat maw, but that only made it worse. The fire had oxygen now. I ran to the milk machine and gulped down tiny glass after tiny glass, and then I threw up all the milk directly onto my lunch tray. Everyone stared. Girls audibly shrieked in disgust. I was no longer a bold, Jackass-style prankster. I was a snot mutant. The postgrads laughed their asses off at me and called me Jalapeno after that. I had failed in every conceivable way to be cool.


So yeah, punch me in the face. I’m not fucking with ghost peppers or anything like that.


You know what’s a thing of god damn beauty? Typing the word sleigh. It’s perfect symmetry of keystrokes. S and L are on exact opposite sides of the keyboard, as are E and I, and G and H. The best thing of all is nobody told me this. I just had that thought one day as I typed it. I think I deserve some kind of honor from somebody.


Sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh sleigh HEY, he’s right! This IS kinda fun.

Now I’m trying to look for similarly palindromic keyboard combinations. WOW, this pie ALA mode is EIGHTY times better than… uh… QPMX. As a hunt-and-peck typist, I like this exercise. I feel like I’m a drummer. Sleigh sleigh SLEIGH, sleigh sleigh SLEIGH… [Freddie Mercury voice] BUDDY, YOU’RE A BOY MAKE A BIG NOISE PLAYING IN THE STREET GONNA BE A BIG MAN SOMEDAY…



I was explaining the rules of baseball to a friend, and when I got to explaining balls and strikes, I realized that the choice of the word “ball” being used to refer to a pitched ball thrown outside the strike zone is stupid. “Ball” is about as non-descriptive as can be to describe something that occurs in a ball-using sport.


Yeah it’s an awful term, especially in juxtaposition to “strike,” a word that is far more pointed, both for the pitcher (throwing strikes like a GOD) and the batter (striking out like a blind chump). “Ball” has none of that zip, and it’s confusing when you have to explain it to any newcomer to the sport, especially a child. I’m trapped in an Abbott & Costello routine every time it happens. We should instead use a term that both humiliates the pitcher and salutes the batter for not biting on a junky pitch, like DUD, or SCUD, or LEMON, or TEBOW, or SHITBURGER. All of those would work better. I’d become a total baseball stat nerd if the count could potentially be three shitburgers and two strikes. Now that Bill James is an insane person, put me charge of the nerdy sabermath. I’ll spice it right up.


My wife is almost 40 years old, and I just blew her mind when I told her some guys put on t-shirts by slipping their arms through the armholes first, then putting their heads through the neckholes. I’m a head-first guy, but have seen lots of dudes do arms-first. She’d never considered anyone would do it that way. Are you arms-first or head-first?


I’m arms first. Specifically, I punch through the right armhole first, then punch through with the left while simultaneously using my right hand to grab the back of the shirt and slip it over my head. It’s all one fluid motion. You wouldn’t quibble with my shirt-putting-on skillz if you witnessed them firsthand.

I can’t imagine putting my head through the shirt first. I’m not six years old. I’m not gonna have the shirt hanging around my neck like a weird scarf while I frantically search for the armholes, or pull the shirt down over my torso like it’s a straitjacket. That would get me laughed out of THE MAN CLUB. Anyone who needs armhole lessons can come to my house. Tutorials start at $200 an hour.



Say, for whatever reason, you were forced to take part in the following challenge: for 24 hours, in an emptied out gigantic structure such as the Pentagon or the Empire State Building, you have to elude detection by the Terminator or some other formidable killer, like Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men. You would start out at points maximally distant from each other within the structure. What would your initial approach be? Would you keep moving, just hole up in an air duct or discrete closet and pray he doesn’t find you before time is up, or some combination of the two?


Well wait, there’s a marked difference between being chased by a Terminator and being chased by Anton Chigurh. I know Chigurh is a walking allegory for the randomness and inevitability of death, but a Terminator has, like, heat vision. That’s important. I can’t hide in one spot from the Terminator if it can use its infrared Terminator vision to see my crotch sweat through walls. I’d be dead. I would have to arm myself with staplers and some of the spare hand grenades that I assume are tucked into every Pentagon supply closet. Then, I would tape together a bunch of silicon mousepads and make a suit of makeshift armor out of them. Then, I would find a discreet hiding spot with multiple exit options should I hear the Terminator’s very loud and imposing footsteps.

Then, I would rip the bottom out of a Dixie Cup and use it as a sound amplifier, listening for Arnold’s cyborg breathing. Then, at the first clatter, I would take off and run to a new hiding spot. Ever do that with your kids, where you play hide and seek and they walk right past you, so you tear out of the closet laughing and run to a new spot and they’re TOTALLY confused? I would do that to a bloodthirsty killer robot. I see no flaw in my plan.



Croutons are basically bullshit, right? Like, they’re delicious, and in theory the texture works with salads, but most croutons aren’t particularly fork-able, and getting one on a fork along with lettuce and whatever other ingredients are there to make the salad tasty? I just can’t get it to work. Croutons are just there as a side dish of crunchy bread that happens to be served inside your salad.


The key is to drench the salad in so much dressing that the croutons have no choice but to soften in the wake of the Caesar surge. Do that, and you may avoid the dreaded broken crouton, where you stab into the crouton and it splits apart, and now you’re left with an even smaller bread rock to stab at. Total disaster.

In general though, you are correct: most salads are horribly constructed. One of the greatest scams in history was SweetGreen or some other BIG SALAD joint charging people $15 for a bowl of greens and then a bunch of small bits stuck to the bottom. Those bits are the only reason you got the salad in the first place, and they are impossible to manage. Or worse, you get BIG bits like croutons and pieces of meat that you have to break down on top of the salad, like the rest of the salad is your cutting board. A good salad is one where you get a bite of everything and don’t have to perform laser surgery in order to make that happen. For example, let us now marvel at this calamari salad from old warhorse China Grill in NYC:

Illustration for article titled Unity Is For Suckersem/em

My friends, that is a proper salad. The crispy bits are in perfect harmony with the greens. Dressing covers every available surface area. That’s the kind of salad I would eat willingly, and not as part of some masochistic fitness routine. If anyone tries to pass you a salad that lacks UNITY, throw it against the wall.

Email of the week!


We need to have some fairly substantial work done on our house so my wife found a guy online who has favorable reviews and offered a competitive price. After a brief meeting we hire him to do the job and while he was over finalizing our paperwork it comes to light that he is the brother in-law of a co-worker. I mentioned this to the co-worker the next day, thinking it would just be a fun coincidence. Instead, he immediately launches in a rant about how I should have checked with him first because his brother in-law is “crazy.” He keeps talking about how his brother in-law in unreliable, shady, untrustworthy and they never got along.

While this obviously made me question my choice in contractors, I am unsure because I find my co-worker to ALSO be crazy. He is the type who thinks anyone asking him to do things like “meet a deadline” or “make changes the client requested” are “attacking” him while he can fly off the handle at minor issues but contends that should be chalked up to him “making a joke.” But I figured my co-worker has had more interaction with this guy than any client, and it can be hard to judge someone in a quick meeting and online reviews are unreliable, so I thought about hiring someone else to do the work. But then I started thinking about the source.

So, my question is this: if a person you think is crazy tells you how crazy a third person is, does that make the third person sane, or EXTRA crazy?


I dare say you should seek other personal references.

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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