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The NFL's Culture Problem

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Twenty-seven NFL players have been arrested since the Super Bowl, and, you know, a lot of people are gonna say, "Rush, it's the concussions."  A lot of the lawyers are gonna say, "It's the concussions. It's the brain injuries."  Other people are going to assign this to other things.  But clearly, folks -- clearly -- there is something that has been effervescing out there. It's been bubbling up within the feeder system for the National Football League.  Here are examples:

"Michael Boley, New York Giants (Feb. 8): Arrested for child abuse in Alabama. Da'Quan Bowers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Feb. 18): Arrested for having a gun in his luggage at LaGuardia Airport, charges later reduced to disorderly conduct. Al Netter, San Francisco 49ers (Feb. 22): Arrested for DUI in California. Desmond Bryant, Cleveland Browns (Feb. 24): Arrested for criminal mischief in Miami. J'Marcus Webb, Chicago Bears (Feb. 24): Arrested for marijuana possession in Illinois, charges dropped. Javarris James, Arizona Cardinals (March 7): Arrested for failing to appear in court in Florida.

"Quinton Carter, Denver Broncos (March 9): Arrested for allegedly cheating at craps at a Vegas casino, case dismissed. Cody Grimm, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (March 10 and May 28): Arrested for public intoxication in Virginia twice. Evan Rodriguez, Chicago Bears (March 21 and May 31): Arrested for resisting an officer in Miami (charged later dropped), and then for DUI, speeding and 'improper lane usage.' Trumaine Johnson, St. Louis Rams (March 22): Arrested for misdemeanor DUI in Montana.

"Brandon Barden, Tennessee Titans (March 23): Arrested on suspicion of DUI after driving his car off the road in Georgia. Amari Spivey, Detroit Lions (March 27): Arrested for third-degree assault in an alleged domestic violence incident ... William Moore, Atlanta Falcons (April 18): Arrested for simple battery after allegedly grabbing a woman by the shoulder in Atlanta. Rolando McClain, Baltimore Ravens (April 22): Arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in Alabama," and it goes on.

"Quentin Groves, Cleveland Browns (April 24): Arrested for solicitation in a prostitution sting in Ohio. Cliff Harris, New York Jets (May 2): Arrested for marijuana possession in New Jersey." They are gonna say that it is the concussions and stuff.  Now, the Patriots handled the Hernandez thing quite differently than the Baltimore Ravens handled the Ray Lewis thing.  The Baltimore Ravens went as far as they could in defending Ray Lewis. 

The New England Patriots, last weekend it was reported that if Hernandez was arrested for anything in this case, they were gonna drop him, and they did.

So the game is changing.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Okay, back to the phones we go, Lisa in New Orleans, great to have you on the program.  Hi.

CALLER:  Hey, Rush. How you doing today?

RUSH:  Just fine.  Thank you.

CALLER:  Good.  You were listing the laundry list of players who have had trouble in the past in the NFL.

RUSH:  Yeah, I stopped.  I didn't go through all 27. It was starting to sound monotonous.  I was getting bored.

CALLER:  I understand.  It called to mind, I had heard Tony Dungy in an interview on a national sports show after Bob Costas gave his little commentary on guns a while back.

RUSH:  Oh, yeah.  Oh, yeah, yeah.

CALLER:  And he was speaking about how there's very much a gun culture with the NFL players. A lot of it he likened to their upbringing and, you know, the environments in which they were raised.

RUSH:  Tony Dungy did?

CALLER:  Yeah.  It was an interview he gave, and I remember because I really like Tony Dungy. I think he's got a great head on his shoulders, and is a good influence for these kids.  But he spoke about how at the beginning of the season, he would go in the locker room, talk to the players, and point-blank ask them with a show of hands, "How many of you all own a gun?"  I think the number was 70, 80% would raise their hands.  Really all he could contribute to it was how to protect the shield of the team, how to protect the NFL.

"Don't bring it to the training facility. Don't bring it to the game. What you do on your own time is up to you." I know you like societal indicators. To me, when you have a city like New Orleans that's as violent as it is -- we have shootings on MLK Day, we have a shooting on Mother's Day -- these players matter to these kids. Whether you want 'em to or not, they do.  When you get a guy like Tony Dungy who's spelling it out, and these kids who are in such positions with the money they're making -- I'm talking the 23, 25-year-old NFL players. You got this Hernandez kid. I don't know if he did it or not, but these guys matter to these kids, and we see it every evening on the news in New Orleans, every evening on the news.
RUSH:  Okay, where are you going with this?  We need to ban guns?

CALLER:  No, I don't think so. No, we're a Second Amendment household. I can assure you.  I go back to societally, what the president does and the first lady --

RUSH:  Are you trying to say something that you're afraid to say?

CALLER:  No. I'm not afraid to say anything, believe me.  You can ask my kids.

RUSH:  Because you started out by saying that Tony Dungy said that the problem with all this is that these young NFL players are coming from upbringings and neighborhoods or whatever from a culture that's oriented around guns.

CALLER:  Yeah, that was his commentary back when Bob Costas was talking about the gun issue back during the season when he gave his little chat on guns during an NFL broadcast.  Later that week or within that time span, they were interviewing Dungy, and he was saying that it exists. It's there.

RUSH:  Well, what did he say we should do about it?

CALLER:  Well, he offered... You know, he is -- he is a gentleman. He's a class act.  He offered that something has to change, you know. That's...

RUSH:  What?

CALLER:  That was the impression he left with me, was something has to change societally for these kids.

RUSH:  What has to change?

CALLER:  Not gun laws, not invoking more gun laws. It's just, you know... Let's face it. Now, these are my words, not his. We need dads in the home. We need these kids, big boys, brought up to men in the right way.  Culturally, that's where it's falling apart with a lot of these players when you see it having so many problems that you just listed, and you didn't even finish the list.  So, no, I don't believe we need more gun laws, believe me.  We need to stay away from --

RUSH:  It's not just NFL players, though.  I mean, look at Chicago.

CALLER:  Sure, sure, absolutely.

RUSH:  People are using guns there, young people there don't have a prayer of playing in the NFL.

CALLER:  Exactly. Well, and then you look culturally. What's the cause the first lady took on?  Obesity.  Well, if they really wanted to effect some sort of change --

RUSH:  Ah, you know, the first lady is over in Senegal, and do you know what she's telling them? She's over at the Martin Luther King School in Dakar, Senegal.

CALLER: Mmm-hmm.

RUSH:  And this the place that Drakkar Noir cologne's named after.

CALLER:  Mmm-hmm.

RUSH:  She's telling these kids that she knows exactly what they're going through; she grew up just like they are.  She grew up with no money. She grew up with parents that weren't educated. She grew up with people who thought going to school was a waste of time and it was too much money. She's telling these kids that she knows exactly what they're going through in Senegal, because she was raised just like they are.  So it's either obesity or poverty or something.

CALLER:  Well, even the NFL itself took on her cause with their Play 60 stuff and their Get Fit and their "get away from the video machines" and all this.

RUSH:  Well, they did that before the first lady came along.

CALLER:  If they really wanted to effect any sort of change with gun violence -- I don't mean gun laws, I mean the gun violence -- they would start from the top down and do something for these inner cities.

RUSH:  What, with the commissioner?

CALLER:  Sure.  Why shouldn't he get on board?  He's on board with the (crosstalk) program.

RUSH:  Who did he shoot?

CALLER:  They need to affect these players, and then it would trickle through the ranks.

RUSH:  I'm only teasing. I have to take a break.  Look, Lisa, thank you. Seriously. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Boston officials, the cops, now say Aaron Hernandez might be involved in a double murder. He might have been involved in another crime, involved a double murder and a double murder cover-up.  Look, all of these guns that Tony Dungy's talking about that the players in the NFL have, they're all legal.  The vast majority of these guns are legal.  You know in that, there's no winning here, folks.  You know, you can't win talking about this.

You literally can't win talking about it. 

The NBA guys wish they were gangsta rappers, the gangsta rappers wish they are NBA guys, and the NFL guys want to be part of it, too.  They all want to be part of hip-hop -- you know, the East Coast vs. West Coast. Tupac became OnePac before they killed him. Tupac Shakur, driving around chewing gum with a pistol. Tupac was shot in the street in Las Vegas, right? He pulled up beside a drive-by shooting. Bam, bam! It's all over rap music, or whatever the hell it was.  But there's glamour. 

You got Jay-Z trying to build a sports agency, a firm where he represents players and so forth.  So I don't know what you want when you say it's a cultural thing. But the guns that they own (just to get back with what Dungy said), probably the vast majority of them are quite legal.  But clearly, I mean, the NFL does have a problem with its feeder system, culturally. (interruption) You remember last time I got in big trouble talking about this? What do you think I'm talking about?  (interruption)

When was the last time I got in big trouble talking about this?  Crips and Bloods, right?  Here's what it was.  There was a playoff game out in San Diego. In fact, it was the Patriots.  This is some years ago now.  It was a Patriots and San Diego Chargers playoff game, and if I remember right, the Chargers had this game pretty much in the bag except a defensive back for the Chargers engaged in play that ended up in a penalty, which prolonged the game, which led to Patriots tying it up.

They went to overtime and Patriots won, but the player involved got the flag because he thought he'd been "dissed" by a player from the Patriots and took action that was away from play after the play was over. And the NFL, they threw flags and so forth. I said at the time that the NFL is trying to maintain control of the game.  That's why the referees are throwing flags on this taunting stiff.

It's why they're getting really strict, paying strict attention to all of these away-from-the-ball fouls that involve being "disrespected" and this kind of stuff.  I did say that at times, it looks like it's the Crips and Bloods out there.  Well, I mean, the left-wing apparatus in this country descended on me for the usual things, alleging the usual things that they claim I'm guilty of and so forth.  All I was pointing out then was that...

Because I remember part of the controversy was the flag itself, the referee throwing the flag.  And I opined on the program, the NFL's trying to keep control of the game on the field.  They're trying to make it remain a football game out there.  It's a business.  That led to... Well, it wasn't deep doo-doo.  But when the Rams thing came up, you know, the potential ownership, that came back. That quote was thrown out there totally out of context in conjunction with an owners meeting.

"You can't talk about this stuff!  You just can't talk about it!" So Dungy, in the interview on NBC after one of the incidents... There were two big gun incidents in the NFL this past hear. One was the Chiefs player who killed his wife or ex-wife, and then committed suicide, and there was another one and -- No!  No, no.  That was the big one in the NFL.  It was, I don't know, on Sandy Hook or something that Costas did his halftime commentary on guns and everybody flipped out over it.

That's when Dungy did the interview and said, "Well, there's a culture of guns in the NFL," and he did say that at the beginning of every season he grabs the players and puts them all in the locker room and says, "Look, how many of you have guns?" She said (the caller, Lisa) that 75, 80% raised their hands. That's it. That's all that was.  Okay, what does that mean, 75, 80% of the players in the NFL have guns? (interruption)

Well, wait a second. You can't say that. (interruption) You can't say that! You can't say that it's a "culture of gangsterism" out there.  I mean, even if... (interruption) No, even if it is true, you can't say it. That's the point.  That cannot be said.  When is the last time you said it that anybody heard you say it?  (interruption) Sure, you can say it all day long.  Who hears it?  I do. (interruption)  Nah, just razzing Mr. Snerdley here. 

I mean, if somebody in public, if somebody were to go on cable TV tonight talking about this Aaron Hernandez thing and if they said, "Oh, look, it's just part of the culture. You've got these guys in the NFL and they want to be gangsters," there would be hell to pay. Whoever says that, whoever would say that on cable TV would be descended upon, would be hit on, and they would be intimidated into apologizing and then forever remaining silent about it.  (interruption)

Well, that's right.  You can't say it.  You can point and say, "It's in the music." You can say, "It's in the music videos. It's on the television and movies." It's there, but you can't say it.  You cannot say it.  You literally cannot say it.  It's just like smoking.  Nobody's in favor of it; everybody hates it. But Hollywood can get way with portraying everybody in every movie smoking, and nobody comes down on 'em. 

Well, very few.  Nothing's ever gonna really be done about it. You can portray any kind of thing you want in a movie, and it's called art.  But you let a social commentator say the same thing that a movie is displaying or showing, and all hell is gonna come down.  That's why I asked Lisa, what I did. I said, "You're afraid to say where you're really headed on this." 

"Oh, no, no! I'm not afraid of saying anything," but after she made the Dungy comment... That's why I'm trying to refocus her. "Where are we going with this? What's the point? They've all got guns? So what?  A lot of people in the country have guns."  But most of them are not accused of murder.  So what's the difference?  You can't talk about that.  Certain people can't talk about it.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I guess, folks, it is the concussions that led Aaron Hernandez to do what he's allegedly to have done, and that's kill somebody.  This afternoon on Fox News's America Live with Megyn Kelly, she spoke with noted psychiatrist and author Dr. Keith Ablow about the arrest of the former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.  She said, "He is being sued for shooting another man and he may be investigated for a separate double murder. We don't have that confirmed. We'll see where it takes us. And steroids are rampant in sports. A lot of athletes are on them and don't commit murders.  We don't know that he's on them, but what are your thoughts on whether that sort of a drug may be playing a role?"

She's talking about in the aggressive nature, personality that might lead to murder.

ABLOW:  I would wonder about steroids. I would wonder about other drugs of abuse. I would wonder whether the NFL has done enough to look at repeated head trauma in potentially violent people like Aaron Hernandez and how that evolves over time, and I hope they'll reflect that this was entirely preventable because had he been hospitalized, psychiatrically to look at him, this may never have happened after he allegedly shot a man in the face.

RUSH:  That is an interesting aspect of this. Over the weekend or earlier in this week, part of the story was that sometime not long ago Aaron Hernandez "shot a guy in the face," and that was it! As though it happens all the time, somebody shoots somebody else in the face.  There were no other details. There was no correlation to shooting that person in the face and this crime.  It just thrown in there.

So Dr. Keith is saying, "Look, if we'da put the guy on the couch, or if we'da hooked him up to the machines and given him a PET scan, an MRI, and found out something going on in the brain, we might have been able to prevent this." I don't think Dr. Ablow has treated him, but in any event, what we have here is the beginnings -- and I don't know if it's gonna take root, but we have the beginnings -- of, "It might not be his fault.  It could be the fault of the NFL for not being attentive enough to potential head injuries.  It could be the result of taking some drugs.  We just don't know."

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Sports Illustrated has a story: "Aaron Hernandez Linked to Bristol Bloods Gang!"  There's a tattoo. He's got a tattoo on one of his hands, and they're alleging here that Aaron Hernandez has been linked to a gang, the Bristol Bloods, of the Crips and the Bloods.

Who said that? 

Who said that a long time ago?

I forget who said that Crips and Bloods thing. 

I don't remember. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  On this Aaron Hernandez business... (sigh) You know, even though I'm gonna tell you what the law enforcement authorities are telling the media, I'm still nervous about this because it's all alleged, and law enforcement is always believed.  Whenever law enforcement leaks something, says something, everybody automatically believes it. It's just the nature of the beast, and it's not always true.  But here's the latest in this Aaron Hernandez stuff. 

He's been charged with murder in the case of Odin whatever this poor guy's last name is.  But now the cops are telling us the motivation.  Apparently there is a double murder that Hernandez might have been involved in, and the reason that this Odin guy was killed was because he apparently told some other people to be wary of Hernandez. "Don't make this guy mad. Look what happens when you do," and cited this other double murder. 

That's one of the things that's being leaked to Boston media, and they are reporting it as to why this latest victim of Hernandez, the only one that we know of for sure -- well, the only alleged one for sure -- was said to have been killed.  In addition to that, Sports Illustrated has a story on their website. It was just placed in front of me before the previous hour ended. 

"Aaron Hernandez Linked to Bristol Bloods Gang -- You’re surely aware of the legal trouble New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has gotten himself into. Part of the unearthing of Aaron Hernandez’s secret life was his gang affiliation. Aaron Hernandez was rumored to be affiliated with gangs in his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut."

Bristol, by the way, is where ESPN is, and I thought they were the gang there.  I didn't know that there were other gangs. I thought ESPN was the gang, but nevertheless apparently there are gangs there in Bristol, and Aaron Hernandez "was rumored to be affiliated with gangs in his hometown of Bristol, Connecticut. Those suspected affiliations have been credited for his slip into the fourth round of the NFL draft."

It's being reported that teams knew of his gang involvement, and that's why he slipped to the fourth round of the NFL draft, rather than being drafted in a higher round.  They had character concerns because he'd be a member of gangs in Bristol.  "At yesterday’s arraignment it was noticed that amongst Aaron Hernandez’s numerous tattoos was a 'blood' tattoo on his right hand. The bloods are a famous gang that has been chronicled extensively in rap music."

I wonder if anybody will go get that quote of mine now. 

I don't think they will, Mr. Snerdley. 

I don't think anybody will dig that quote up now. 

"Now TMZ has discovered a picture of Aaron Hernandez throwing gang signs in high school. It’s worth noting that he is dressed in all red, the color associated with the gang. He was also arrested wearing red shorts, though that could purely be coincidence." Now, that's the kind of stuff this has descended to.  You want to know something else about colors?  I didn't know this.  But there are numerous sportswriters who write about this.  As you know, many sports teams have their home uniforms and their away uniforms. 

The home uniform is the primary color; the away uniform is white or gray, depending on the sport.  Some teams add a third, alternate jersey -- or even in the primary home jersey they add a third color, and that is black.  I've read numerous sportswriters alleging that teams are adding black to their uniforms because it's a gang color.  It is a color that is loved by gangs.  Now if that's true, why would teams do that? 

Why would teams encourage the gang mentality by adding black to their uniforms, when black is not part of the color scheme?  A number of NFL teams have done it.  The Detroit Lions have added black.  There's no black in the Detroit Lions color scheme.  There never has been, but there is now.  A lot of teams have a third jersey that's black when black is not part of the color scheme, and there are certain sportswriters who say it's because it's a gang color. 

Here's TMZ saying that red is a gang color.  Now, the gangs don't have any exclusivity in terms of ownership of the color.  Don't misunderstand.  What is being reported is that because the gangs have adopted these colors, certain teams have gone ahead and put those colors in their uniforms because that's what their players want.  Snerdley said to me mere moments ago, "Rush, what's going on here is all these guys want to be part of the gangsta culture."  You mean in hip-hop?  Is that what you're talking about?

They all want to be part of gang? (interruption) Well, I guess there may be some of that.  There may be some players that want to be in a gang, and some of the gangs want to be athletes.  So there may be some overlap or crisscross.  Anyway, they claim here that they have discovered... Well, I don't know if he's claiming it.  Aaron Hernandez apparently was well known as a member of the Bloods in Bristol, Connecticut, and it led to him being drafted fourth round instead of the first or second round.

Imagine that, having on your resume that you're a member of a gang.  Most places you don't stand a prayer. But in the NFL, you just lose a couple rounds of the draft order.  Anyway, that's he latest about that. 

END TRANSCRIPT

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