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Frank Deford: Football Damages Your Soul

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: As you people know, I have been highly attuned and very sensitive to the ongoing assault on football that is taking place in our culture and has been going on for a while.  And, if you recall, I have made mention numerous times that this game is under assault in subtle ways, and the assault is being conducted partially by the media who cover the sport.  You can tell how they've been raised and brought up and educated at journalism school by virtue of the way they are covering the sport.  They don't know it, but they are presiding over the sport's demise as it exists, and they think they're helping.  And they're easy to punk. 

What has settled in now, and, if you stop and think about this, you'll know I'm right.  There is now, when the NFL is mentioned, when football is talked about, when the subject comes up, one of the first thoughts that people have is how dangerous it is.  It's now scary dangerous.  People suffer serious brain injuries and may commit suicide later in life.  It's now become a sport that people associate with maiming, serious head and brain injury, and these are often the first thoughts people have about it.  It really now is not becoming a sport.  In a lot of people's minds, it's becoming a question mark. It's still in most people's subconscious, but it's gonna become something in the forefront of people's minds before very long. 

The question that will be asked that will represent the mind-set is, "Why are we playing this game?"  Now you have the Richie Incognito, Jonathan Martin business. You got bullying. You got post-traumatic stress disorder. You've got mean hazing. You've got all the ills in America, which is a fraudulent place anyway, now encapsulated in the NFL.  So the other day, a story -- you might remember this, Snerdley -- a story was circulated that Tony Dorsett is suffering -- (interruption) You remember the story?  Right.  Right.  Right. 

The story, Tony Dorsett, Joe DeLamielleure, and six other players have been diagnosed with a disease, CTE, which is chronic traumatic encephalopathy.  All right?  You saw it, you think you saw Dorsett complaining about it, the media wrote a story, ESPN wrote a story on how, oh, no, Tony Dorsett has got CTE!  ProFootballTalk, the website, the sporting news, the New York Times, The Atlantic, ABC, NBC, CBS, and they all got punked, because CTE can only be diagnosed in an autopsy.  There is no way of knowing if a player or anybody has chronic traumatic encephalopathy until they have died and you do an autopsy on the brain. 

There is no way at present to know if anybody is suffering from this while they're alive.  There was a phony fake think tank that played a hoax, and all of these sports people got punked.  They all fell for it hook, line, and sinker, even though it is well known, it's not a mystery.  CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is not known until you're dead.  You can't find it in somebody alive.  These guys have all reported it.  But all it took was the name Tony Dorsett suffering memory loss.  "Oh, no, not Dorsett," and they all reported it, they're all worried about it, and, of course, why?  Football. The whole thing was a hoax.  This is the kind of thing that the way journalists are setting the sport up, cover this stuff now. 

Now, Frank Deford used to be Sports Illustrated, may still be.  I remember watching Frank Deford back in the seventies and eighties on the NBC Sunday morning pregame show, Bryant Gumbel hosted when they had the AFC.  This is back before they gave it up and Fox took over and CBS got the AFC, Fox got the NFC.  This is way, way back, seventies.  Frank Deford wrote about football, loved football, worked with Pete Axthelm. He did a piece on the Steelers' Last Stand in the early eighties for Sports Illustrated, and he had a great line.  I met him once and I told him how much I liked the line.  He was nice.  Turns out he's a big lib.  They all are in sports media.  Sports media, folks, worse libs than the news media people.  It's just astounding. 

Anyway, Frank Deford was making a comment about how they talk about Chicago fans being the best sports fans in the world.  And Deford said, "What in the world makes 'em great sports fans?  They support losers.  Cubs fans, best fans?  Why, is Chicago the best laundry town because they got laundries that don't clean your clothes?  Are you gonna call Chicago the best laundry town?"  He went on and on and on about it. But anyway, he covered football like any other sport, reverence, respect for the people that played it.  I want you to listen to what's happened to him.  Frank Deford was on NPR Morning Edition yesterday, and they were talking about a new poll on what Americans think about the game of football in light of recent scandals about the head injury controversy and the Dolphins bullying story.  Here's Frank Deford.

DEFORD:  An HBO Real Sports Marist College poll shows that the danger of football concussions would make a third of Americans less likely to let their boys play.  But now the view that has emerged from the Dolphins' locker room goes beyond that and suggests that modern football is so violent, even thuggish, that it can damage your soul as well as your brain.  How many more parents will keep their sons out of the football locker room under the assumption that there are better ways to learn to be manly?

RUSH:  So now, because of a poll, football damages your soul.  Football damages your soul.  Can I take you back to November 4th on this program about the Dolphins bullying scandal?  This is quickly, this is what I said.  It's audio sound bite number one.  Just takes 20 seconds.

RUSH ARCHIVE:  This thing going on with the Miami Dolphins, I'd be very, very, very careful here because I think we are looking at an example of the changing culture of masculinity in this country.

RUSH:  What did Deford just say?  Gotta keep our sons out of the football locker room.  There are better ways to learn to be manly.  Football now damages your soul -- (gasping) -- as well your brain because look what it did to Richie Incognito.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  I remember all the trouble I got into one day when I said that the game of football looked like the Crips and Bloods to me. Now these guys are out talking about how football robs you of your soul and destroys your life and ruins your brain? 

END TRANSCRIPT

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