RUSH: I want to congratulate a couple friends, Michael Irvin with his induction to the NFL Hall of Fame over the weekend. He gave that speech with no notes. We have a couple of bites from it. No notes, just straight from his heart. It was really a tremendous thing. I got to know him very well when I was at ESPN, and of all the guys that worked there, I probably developed a closer relationship to Irvin than any of the others. My buddy Tom Glavine won his 300th game for the New York Mets. I first met Glavine the first year I played in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. He was on my team with the then Atlanta Falcons quarterback Chris Chandler. So congratulations to those guys. Those are both no easy feats. There may not ever be another 300 game winner in Major League Baseball the way the game is played now. There’s nobody close. Randy Johnson I guess is the closest but his career may be over with a back injury. What is it, 284 wins out there, come on, Brian, you’re a sports fan. You don’t have to look it up. I know it’s 284. How about the Steelers last night in the opening round of the NFL preseason shellacking the New Orleans Saints? I know it doesn’t mean anything, but it was still great to see.
RUSH: Maurice in Canyon Lake, Texas, you’re first as we go to the phones. It’s nice to have you here on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush. It is an honor to speak to you, long-time listener, first-time caller, a little bit nervous. Your caller screen said to get right to the point. I’ll say that, you know, you and I agree on 99.9% of all the issues —
RUSH: That’s wonderful. That’s absolutely fabulous.
RUSH: But there must be one-tenth of 1% that’s causing you to call today.
CALLER: That is correct. It’s your enthusiasm over Michael Irvin’s selection to the Hall of Fame. I think that’s a blight on the Hall of Fame, when you consider his record of cocaine use, cocaine abuse. In another world, he would have been suspended from the NFL, and I just highly disagree with that. I agree he’s a tremendous athlete. He may be a good person now, but with that record, I just disagree with that.
RUSH: You think people should be denied redemption?
CALLER: Oh, no! No, I don’t. But that’s a tremendous honor to be in the Hall of Fame.
RUSH: It’s rarefied air. There’s no question. Playing in the NFL is rarefied air all by itself.
CALLER: You bet it is. You bet.
RUSH: And making the Hall of Fame is as well.
CALLER: But, you know, the message that that gives to young athletes concerns me.
RUSH: So the message you derive from it is that you can go ahead and abuse cocaine and have, on your 30th birthday, a bunch of hookers in the hotel room and still make the Hall of Fame?
CALLER: You got it.
RUSH: You really think that’s the message that people are going to derive from this?
CALLER: Well, you know, if they–
RUSH: He was on trial. He did show up in a mink coat, Joe Namath-like.
CALLER: Oh, no.
RUSH: He was on trial. Troy Aikman was in the courtroom every day.
CALLER: I still turn off ESPN when he’s on.
CALLER: I just think it’s an embarrassment to the court.
RUSH: I understand. But what if at age 30 when all that stuff happened, what if going through it and overcoming it and solving it has made him a better person? Why can’t the person that he has become serve as the role model?
CALLER: Well, you know, that certainly would be admirable, but, you know, he’s had an incident since then, too, not too long ago where supposedly it was his friend’s pipe and everything.
RUSH: ‘Supposedly’ and all that. I’ll tell you, I have a brief sound bite of Michael Irvin’s acceptance speech. Did you hear any of it?
RUSH: Why don’t you listen to it with me? I’m not trying to put you on the spot.
CALLER: That’s all right.
RUSH: You listen to it with me, and after it finishes, it’s about a minute, and you tell me what you think.
CALLER: Do I have to turn on the radio?
RUSH: No, you’ll hear it on the phone.
CALLER: Very good.
RUSH: Don’t turn on the radio or you won’t hear it ’til after the delay.
CALLER: I will not turn on the radio.
RUSH: Listen to it on the phone.
CALLER: All right.
IRVIN: I sat right here where you are last year and I watched the class of 2006, and I said, ‘Wow. That’s what a Hall of Famer is. Certainly I am not that,’ and I doubted that I would ever have the chance to stand before you today. So when I returned home, I spoke with Michael and Elijah, and I said, ‘That’s how you do it, son. You do it like they did it.’ I wanted to stand in front of my boys and say, ‘Do it like your dad,’ like any proud dad would want to, and at that moment a voice came over me, and it said, ‘Look up, get up, and don’t ever give up. You tell everyone or anyone that has ever doubted, thought they did not measure up, or wanted to quit, you tell them to look up, get up, and don’t ever give up.’
RUSH: Now, let me put some of this in context, because what he was talking about here in talking to his boys, what he also said was that he didn’t think he was good enough to be their dad at a point in his life, and he was hoping that other members, Hall of Fame, would be the ones they would look up to.
RUSH: He didn’t think that he was a good role model as a husband, because of what he had done. He was hoping his boys would look to others to find a good father.
RUSH: Now that he’s made the Hall of Fame, he was crying through a good portion of this. I mean, he had puddles of tears under his eyes.
RUSH: So, you know, he’s gone through a lot. His playing credentials can’t be denied.
CALLER: Oh, no. No. And I don’t deny that. He’s a great athlete.
RUSH: So what do you think of what you just heard?
CALLER: Well, my first thought is, ‘Who wrote thatt?’
RUSH: In the context of you’re worried about him being a bad role model.
CALLER: Who wrote it for him?
RUSH: Remember your context here. You’re worried about him being a bad role model so what did you think of it?
CALLER: Well, my first thought is who wrote that for him.
RUSH: No, he spoke with no notes.
CALLER: No notes?
RUSH: He spoke with no notes. He’s one of the few who went out there with no notes. He had no notes.
CALLER: Well, you know, Rush, I hope that he’s rehabilitated, and I hope that he is a good person today, but I still think that he should not be in the Hall of Fame.
RUSH: Well, alright.
CALLER: I mean, how do you compare that with Pete Rose?
RUSH: I’m not going to argue.
CALLER: Do you compare that with Pete Rose?
RUSH: Well, it’s be a little bit different. Gambling on the game when you are a manager of a team is a little bit different. None of us are without sin, and none of us are without failure. None of us are without fault. None of us. None of us. All I can tell you is that I know Michael personally, and I like him, and you don’t get to see this when he’s doing his football work on ESPN or whenever he’s going to do it next, but he’s a pretty deep guy and has a tremendous respect. If there’s anybody that understands the rarefied air and opportunity he had, given where he came from, to play in the NFL and to succeed, it’s Michael Irvin. Especially now, he had to quit early because of a neck injury, I don’t think he takes any of this for granted. But, Maurice, I’m glad you called. I appreciate it.
RUSH: Joe in Grand Prairie, Texas. Welcome, sir, to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Good afternoon and mega SUV dittos, Rush, from Texas.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: I heard a caller earlier call you and talk to you about Michael Irvin.
CALLER: I want to totally disagree with him and agree with you. I listened to that speech, I came home, brought it up on my computer again from the local newspaper that had it on, and I could not be more impressed with what that man had to say and the example that he set, I think, for his children, for the children that were in that audience, and I’m 70 years old, and I know in 70 years I’ve made a few mistakes in my life, and I’ve been forgiven for them. I can’t say they’ve been as serious as Michael Irvin’s, but we all make mistakes, and I truly, truly believe that that man has turned his life around, God bless him, and I hope he continues to, and I hope his kids that were listening take what he said from the heart, no notes, no nothing, just speaking for 25 minutes, totally from the heart, I couldn’t believe it. It was fantastic.
RUSH: There aren’t many people that can do that and not stutter around and lose their train of thought. Anybody can go up and try to talk for 25 minutes without notes, but there aren’t very many people that can pull it off and be cogent, organized, so forth. I think it was incredibly inspirational. There’s not enough of that —
CALLER: And I agree.
RUSH: — running around, especially with the daily dose of media pap that we get today. It was welcome. Well, I’m glad you had that reaction to it, because we all make mistakes. The severity of the mistakes we make differs from person to person. There isn’t a person alive that doesn’t make mistakes. So the question is after you make one, or a series, what do you do? You overcome it. You learn from it, and you try not to repeat it, or you let it beat you down, and say, ah, I’m worthless, never going to recover from this; I’m never going to get over this; I’m never going to get past whatever I did here that’s caused people to think this of me. And that’s what he was talking about.
RUSH: He felt that way. He thought he killed his chances for The Hall of Fame. He thought it was over.
CALLER: I know.
RUSH: And there he was in there, and he was just trying to tell people, ‘get up.’
CALLER: Well, you know the one other thing that really impressed me about that speech and about the reaction, his wife that his family has forgiven him, and his mother, and by golly if they could forgive him, so can I.
RUSH: Well, that’s pretty big, because they’re the ones that were touched personally by it.
RUSH: Very big of you out there, Joe. Thanks a whole bunch. I appreciate it.
RUSH: Scott in Greensboro, North Carolina, welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hey. Rush, it’s a pleasure talking to you today.
RUSH: Thank you, sir. Thank you.
CALLER: Yeah, well, football season is starting. I sought discussion and your feedback on the induction ceremonies last Saturday. I was glued to it for three and a half hours on Saturday night. It was probably one of the better ones I’ve ever seen. Of course, I’m a sucker for those kind of things, but just really the substance of the topics, for example, you know, your Missouri boy Roger Wehrli and then again Bruce Matthews — Christian conviction in there. Michael Irvin starting off his speech with a prayer. A white man from Mississippi from the fifties being wheeled out due to his dementia and Alzheimer’s by three of the best black running backs in the history of the NFL. It was just, there was so much to absorb, and it was amazing. I just wanted to get your feedback on what you thought, because I assume you’ve seen all of them.
RUSH: I’ve always loved these NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremonies because I always find them inspirational. I love football, and I’ve played it, and people who reach the pinnacle in the game understand exactly what’s necessary to do it. People who have never played this game have no clue. There’s no way you could. You know, folks, I was in the Astrodome once. I was down in Houston for a Rush to Excellence Tour, and the Fort’iners were down there playing the Houston Oilers during Montana’s heyday, and Lee Steinberg, the famous sports agent, came and sat next to me. He just casually observed. He said, ‘Do you know nobody knows how tough these guys are?’ He’s looking at the game out there. ‘Do you realize the average human being could not get up after one of those collisions, after just one offensive play, especially a running play where the offensive line starts?’ People have no clue. They have no clue. These guys are going through summer camp right now, and I remember just two a days of it in high school. It is brutal. It is boot camp, and they do it every year. The Army does it once. Now, veterans, it’s a little different as they get older, but no… I think that the stories these guys all tell about it… This is not baseball. This is not any other sport. They only play it once a week because you couldn’t play it more often than that and survive. You even see what happens to some of these guys later in life who have played a number of years. So it’s the inspiration that these guys know and share because it’s taken that, and they’ve all needed inspiration from others to get where they’ve gotten, and I’m a big believer in inspiration and speaking positively and motivating people, and you can’t succeed in that game unless you are motivated and have the ability to inspire and motivate others.