RUSH: Grab audio sound bite number 24. Snerdley, listen to this. This is ABC’s This Week. It’s the roundtable on Sunday. Jacob Tapper was sitting in for George Stephanopoulos, who’s sitting in for — or no. Stephanopoulos, I guess, is permanent now. And Jake Tapper says to George Will, “George, is football in trouble, or is this just the media making a muck?”
WILL: It’s in trouble for two reasons. First of all: The human body is not built for the violence that is inherent in football at the highest level. Second: People are gonna watch football differently from now on because they’re gonna feel a little bit like the speculators in the Colosseum in Rome, watching people sacrificed for their entertainment with a kind of violence that is unseemly.
RUSH: Told you. Tooooold you. Folks, this is gonna happen faster than I thought. Maybe not an outright ban of the game, but I guarantee you this is gonna happen faster than I thought. It’s funny for me. I read a lot of NFL blogs, and they’re mostly written by typical liberal media types — and these guys don’t know what they’re doing. As they write about this, they are paving the way for fundamental structural changes in this game that will make it not football, while they think they’re doing compassionate stories.
For example, they’re asking for federal commissions on concussions, “and we’d better have mandatory counseling for every player who retires otherwise they’re all gonna commit suicide. For two reasons: A, all the head trauma; and B, people stop cheering for them, and their lives immediately turn meaningless. Every one of them.” It’s amazing to read this stuff. And I’m sure these guys all think that they’re writing and positing with great compassion.
But they are paving the way for people who want to take the risk out of life to move in on football. There was a story by the author Friday Night Lights, “Buzz” Bissinger. He had a piece over the weekend, I think might have been the Wall Street Journal: “Why College Football Should Be Banned.” Ban it! It loses money for most universities. It does not emphasize academics. It’s nothing more than an unpaid minor league system for the NFL. Get rid of college football! I’m telling you: This is a groundswell now.
And I told you. I told you.
RUSH: Let me tell how this is gonna work, this NFL stuff, and you’ll recognize this the minute I remind you of it. It’s gonna start this season. With all this attention now to the concussions, the head injuries, the brutality of the game, all the focus on this stuff — and, you know, with the suicide of Junior Seau and the study of brains. Other players, David Duerson and some others, have committed suicide this year. With so much attention focused on this, the first game of the season…
Which is gonna be a Wednesday night. It’s September 5th, I believe. I’m not sure of the day. It’s the Wednesday night before Obama accepts the nomination. I wonder how many people will show up at that one? He announced his campaign over the weekend and barely half of a 20,000 seat arena was filled. More on that in due course. Oh, you hear Tom Brokaw says it’s time to rethink the White House Correspondents Dinner? It doesn’t look good for members of the press to be seen drinking Cristal Champagne on camera. Members of the media are drifting too far away from the audience, from the people they are supposed to be covering the news for. I’ll have more on that as the program unfolds.
You remember when the SUV thing first started 1996? The Sierra Club called to ban the SUV. They said it caused global warming. Global warming itself! After a while, every unseasonably warm day at whatever time of year, didn’t your first thought go to either, “Wow, global warming. Maybe it’s true,” or some consciousness on your part that somebody was gonna say that? It’s the same with various food warnings. People have said that coffee causes heart attacks.
You see somebody ordering coffee and you say, “No, no, no! Don’t drink that.” Everybody gets all uptight. It doesn’t take much for people to get caught up in this stuff. So the first injury that is seen on national TV in a football game this coming season, you watch: The discussions of the brutality of the game and the potential damage to a father (a player, a father) who, in his retirement, wakes up one day and doesn’t know the name of his kids. That will be a story, and it will be because of football, and the consciousness raising will have already taken place, and there will be a groundswell.
George Will is right. People are gonna start watching the game and the casual fan is gonna feel guilty as heck watching the game when there’s a serious injury and say, “Why did they let that happen? Why don’t they do something about that? Why don’t they make that illegal?” I’m telling you, folks, the day’s come. The people who make a living off the game are in the process of killing it, and they don’t know that yet. They think they’re doing a good thing here. Their intentions are honorable, just like Lyndon Johnson’s, although I doubt his were.
I don’t think LBJ did the Civil Rights Act with good intentions.
I really don’t. In fact, LBJ said as much. LBJ was like FDR. “I’m locking up the black vote for the Democrat Party for the rest of time with this legislation.” FDR said, “I’m locking up the welfare and the poverty vote for the Democrat Party for the rest of time with the New Deal.” Everybody wants to praise great, compassion and wonderful intentions, but it’s all political. The motives are all political. And it’s the same thing here with the sportswriters. They have to show compassion. They have to look like they care. Yet they have to cover the brutality of the game.
They have to support the game. The game is their livelihood, the game is their living. They don’t know it, but they are paving the way for its end. And it’s gonna happen sooner than I thought. I thought it wouldn’t happen in my lifetime. Probably still won’t. But you watch the pressure brought to bear this season. It’s not conspiratorial. This is just gonna be the result of inertia. It’s gonna be a tidal wave. Nobody’s gonna be able to stop it. Somebody who tries to talk sense in the middle of this is gonna be shouted down, laughed at, thought to be insensitive or cruel or what have you.
This guy, “Buzz” Bissinger: “Why College Football Should Be Banned.” Ban it? And his reasons are numerous. The last reasons he mentions in his piece happen to be the physical dangers. His primary reason is the game’s a fraud. There aren’t any student athletes. There’s too much time required to play football. These guys don’t go to class. Everybody knows that. And then most of these programs don’t make money for the schools. The only reason football’s a big deal is because the quality of the school is determined by the quality of the team.
I mean, who would care about Oklahoma if it weren’t for the football team, this guy’s point is, and the boosters and so forth. So the move is all over the place to get rid of the game. And, in large part, the people behind getting rid of the game, whether they know it or not… Some of it is activist libs. I think it’s libs behind this. They are behind most things like this. But it’s people who want to take the risk out of everything, take the danger out of everything. “It’s just not right. Civilized people should not be engaging in this kind of brutal behavior! It’s the Roman Colosseum. Those days are in the past. We shouldn’t be doing this kind of thing!”
It’s gonna happen.
RUSH: From the Chicago Tribune, quote: “The Bone-Shattering Truth: US Football is Doomed.” From the Kansas City Star: “How Many More Deaths Can NFL Fans Take?” I kid you not. You didn’t believe me. You thought, just like when I warned you people they were coming after SUVs, “Ah, here goes Rush! Football is one of his personal passions and he’s scared about it. But, eh, they’ll never ban it! Too much money.” Look at the groundswell already. Chicago Tribune: “The Bone-Shattering Truth: US Football is Doomed.” George Will (paraphrased): “Hey, it’s no different than Roman Colosseum days. It’s barbaric. We don’t have this anymore in America.”
It’s spiraling out of control much, much faster than even I, El Rushbo, thought that it would. And now it has an inertia and a momentum all its own. There’s probably no stopping this.
RUSH: Some people think I’m wrong on this football stuff when I say that it is spinning out of control. “No, Rush, it’s not spinning ‘out of’ control. It is being spun ‘into’ control,” and that might be true. I still maintain to you there are people who are engineering what could well be disaster for the sport. Well, for the industry, the National Football League, who don’t know they’re doing it. Then there are others who do know they are doing it.
Don’t misunderstand. There are basically two or three kinds of people involved here. You got the wusses, you got the people who have played the game, and then you’ve got innocent bystanders — and the wusses want to get rid of it. The people who have played the game want to hold onto it and the innocent bystanders are the ones that are gonna be swayed by the wusses. And I do mean that. And then you’ve got these well-intentioned liberal sports writers, as I say.
It’s the last time I’m gonna say it, but it’s important enough to say. They don’t know it. I’m gonna give them the benefit of the doubt because I don’t think they want to write themselves out of work. I don’t think they want to write themselves out of jobs, but they are paving the way for this game to be done away with, fundamentally changed, what have you. Because they’re liberals. They don’t know any better. They think they’re taking the compassionate, well-reasoned, well-thought-out side and all this.
RUSH: I also got an e-mail about the National Football League from someone disagreeing with me. And I’ve gotta be very careful how I read this e-mail. I can’t read this verbatim. I just can’t. Just can’t. “Dear Mr. Limbaugh: The National Football League — nor college football, but particularly the NFL — will NEVER go away. It is a business where the vast majority of employees are black. They will never get rid of football. It would be called racist.” Au contraire. Let me present an alternative view, and let’s take George Will’s example that football is the Roman Colosseum.
What happened in the Colosseum that everybody talks about? What is the legend? That Christians were given to the lions and that the crowd roared! The crowd loved it. And if you don’t like that, go further back to the gladiators wiping each other out. Thumbs up, thumbs down. The Roman Caesar and his women sitting there. Thumbs up, thumbs down. Think Russell Crowe if you’re a Hollywood type. Well, in both those cases, people were dying and it was being cheered. On the one hand, in the jaws of lions; on the other hand, by swords and other weapons.
Now, I guarantee you, this is going to happen, folks. It’s going to happen in the sports media. It’s going to happen in the sports media under the guise of compassion and an attempt to be sensitive and helpful. It’s gonna be just the opposite. Somebody is going to report, after they figure it out… (interruption) Snerdley is in there laughing ’cause he knows I gotta be careful the way I put this. But let me preface with, “I am not in favor of this.” I don’t want anybody thinking I am. I don’t want the NFL shut down. I think all of it is bogus.
The effort to make it safer is not bogus.
But the idea that it can’t be made safe so we have to get rid of the game, I’m telling you: It’s a groundswell that’s being spun “into control” or “out of control,” however you want to look at it. What’s gonna happen is somebody is gonna figure out here pretty soon that since 75% of the players in the NFL are African-American, that 75% of the concussions are being suffered by African-Americans; 75% of the heart attacks, early deaths, whatever, are African-Americans. And then somebody is going to ask (maybe this week after I put it out here), “How long are we going to put up with the sacrifice of African-American males for a bloodthirsty American audience?
“How long are we willingly going to submit African-American males to maiming, concussions, early death, and perhaps suicide? For what? The blood lust of the American population!” And they’ll make the obvious connection to the old plantation days. You watch. That’s what’s gonna happen. It will be used as a further arrow in the quiver to ban the game, not as something we have to protect because it employs so many African-Americans.
That’s my little prediction.
We shall see.
Here’s Patrick in Greensboro, North Carolina. Hi, Patrick. Glad you waited. Welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush. I get to cross you off my bucket list now talking to you.
RUSH: (laughing) All right.
CALLER: I’m a former college football player and current law student at Elon University.
RUSH: Wait, wait, wait. You’re former college football player and you’re currently … a law student. Okay. “Law student.” That’s what I didn’t hear.
CALLER: Yes, sir. I’m in my first year of law school but I had to stop playing football because I woke up in the hospital with a concussion. They told me I had about seven severe concussions and any more would be permanent brain damage. But I’m just calling today because it’s ridiculous what they’re turning the game of football into. They’re turning it almost into soccer. It’s just a game where you can’t even be physical anymore.
RUSH: Are you aware of the number of injuries in soccer? People aren’t aware. The head injuries in soccer are very high. People wouldn’t believe this, but soccer has its own injury problem. It’s just not such a mass spectator sport in this country as football is, but it does have its share of injuries. Do you happen to know the name Eric LeGrand?
CALLER: No, sir.
RUSH: Eric LeGrand, Rutgers, was paralyzed a couple seasons ago on a kickoff, and he’s paralyzed from the neck down. He played for Rutgers. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year signed him after the draft in a ceremonial move to honor him. He obviously can’t play. He’s in a wheelchair. But he was in New York last summer. He was paralyzed on a kickoff, and he is — like you are doing here, Eric LeGrand is — criticizing the new kickoff rules in the NFL.
And, by the way, the NFL is going to quickly and soon ban the kickoff because of possible concussions. You watch. Not this season, but it’s coming sooner than anybody else thinks. They’re gonna ban the kickoff. The ball is gonna be put on the 20 yard line after every touchdown. You say, “What about onside kicks?” They’ll deal with that later. But they’re gonna get rid of the kickoff because of potential injuries and this kid was injured at Rutgers — paralyzed on kickoff — and he is criticizing the League for its rules changes. He says the game is what it is, and every one of us who plays it know the risks.
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: But that doesn’t matter because, see, you don’t know what you’re doing. You might say you know the risks. But when liberals are involved — whether you’re playing football or just getting in your car to go down to the Kwik Shop — you don’t know how to do it. You might pick up your phone while you’re driving. “We can’t allow you to do that! You might miss a stop sign and run through it.” All of us, not just you. When liberals get involved, they have contempt for everybody and their lack of ability to live life properly and make the right decisions. So we have to be protected from things that put us at risk. And that would be kickoffs in the NFL or football. But you played the game knowing full well what the risks were, and you wanted to play it.
And everybody that plays the game knows what the risks are.
CALLER: Yes, sir. My dad played for Carolina, and I played for State, and I hope one day that the game is still around so I can have a son that can play college football.
CALLER: I’m afraid that’s not looking so good.
RUSH: What did you think…? Maybe you didn’t hear this. Kurt Warner said that knowing what he knows now, he hopes his kids don’t play the game, and then there was a lot of reaction. Merril Hoge — who, for example, doesn’t think Tim Tebow should wear a jock strap and play quarterback; just doesn’t like Tebow at all. Hoge said (I think it was Hoge), “Warner is crazy. What, is he ripping the game that made him rich? He’s ripping the game that made him famous? He’s ripping the game that employs him? He’s at the NFL Network saying his kid shouldn’t play?” So that started a new argument among the left: “Does Kurt Warner have the right to say whether or not his kid should play football?” There are some people that say, “He doesn’t have the right to say that because he made his living at it.” And others say, “He can say what he wants. It’s the United States of America.”
Others say, “Yeah, but for how long?”
CALLER: (chuckles) Yes, sir.
RUSH: This football stuff, folks, I’m telling you: You might think, “Rush, could you get off of this?” This is exactly the issue. This stuff in the NFL is a microcosm throughout our entire culture. You have the left who think people don’t know what they’re doing and have to be protected from themselves. You have the American sportswriter community (very left-leaning, very politically left-leaning) thinking they have to do everything in their power to make the game safer and they don’t know they’re paving the way for its demise.
You have the assumption that the people who play the game don’t know what they’re doing, that they’re being lied to, that they’re being exploited, that they’re being used. You’ve got these poor kids from very bad neighborhoods whose only route out is athletics, and they’re destroying themselves for the entertainment of the bloodthirsty American population because they don’t know what they’re doing. And the truth of the dangers and the risks is not being told to them.
All these things are being said.
And you can say that about any subset of the American culture in terms of how the left looks at it. Look, do I need to give you a list of everything else they’re trying to ban? Every risky game. You can’t play dodgeball anymore, can you? Can’t play dodgeball! Not in high school, not in junior high, not in grade school. (sobbing) “Because somebody might get hit. Somebody might get hit in the head and it might hurt. (sobbing) It’s not fair! And then bullies might target one kid over all the others! It’s just not fair.”
So they ban dodgeball. Gotta ban this and ban that. Then you have to ban tag.
“It’s unfair that somebody is ‘it.’ Why should you be ‘it’ and I’m never ‘it’?”
“No, you will be ‘it’ if I tag you.”
“Well, we’re banning tag.”
What’s happening here is a microcosm. There’s a life lesson, a teachable moment, in what’s going on here.
If they could ban your SUV, they’d do it.
RUSH: Daniel in Las Vegas, it’s great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Good afternoon, Rush! How are you?
RUSH: Fine, sir. Thanks much.
CALLER: Listen, I’ve been watching sports since I grew up in Pittsburgh. And, as a matter of fact, I listened to you when you were at WPXI in Pittsburgh back in the day.
CALLER: As Jeff Christie, I believe.
RUSH: That would have been at KQV.
CALLER: Oh, KQV. Yes.
RUSH: PXI was Channel 11, I think.
CALLER: Yeah. And before I continue one more small correction. You mentioned the “Tootsie Roll” in Caddy Shack. I believe it was a Baby Ruth.
RUSH: Was it a Baby Ruth? All right. Same difference.
CALLER: Yeah, same difference. Right. But anyway, I love your show. I’ve been a fan of yours since you started. I even lost girlfriends over you. And I have a girlfriend now, Lucy, that just loves you like I do.
CALLER: It all worked out, yes, yes. And that’s true. But I got so many issues. I’ve been trying to call you since the Clinton days. Because, you know, it was so great of you to speak the way you do about him and his administration. And I couldn’t get through. And it frustrated me all these years, and I’m so thankful I finally got a hold of you now.
RUSH: Well, here you are. Congratulations.
CALLER: Thank you, sir.
RUSH: I appreciate your persistence.
CALLER: And I only wish I had the budget to afford to go online and be a part of your Rush 24 program where I could e-mail you my thoughts but I can’t. I apologize for that. But anyway, a couple points I wanted to make. I grew up in Pittsburgh in the seventies, and I met several of the Steelers back then: Terry Bradshaw, Rocky Bleier, Franco Harris and so on to mention a few. Those guys, they took their hits and they never whined to the referee, all right? Joe Greene, I think, said, “If you hit me, I’m gonna hit you.” In other words, the game was in check. We didn’t violate each other. You know what I’m saying?
CALLER: And that’s the way it should be today. Not this, “Well, if somebody did something wrong to me, I’m gonna go to the ref and have this arbitrated.” You know what I’m saying?
RUSH: Well, I don’t know that it’s the players. What’s fascinating about what’s happening in the NFL right now is that the players — the vast majority, 90% of them — are saying, “Leave us alone. We want to play the game! The game is what it is, and we know the risks.”
RUSH: And while they’re playing they’re saying, “We love it,” and a lot of them are being quoted (by the way, this is not helpful) saying, “I know I’m running the risk of not knowing who my kids are when I’m 50. I know I’m running the risk for Alzheimer’s and so forth.” Because, by the way, they’re trying to attach every mental illness that is known to exist to football when it happens to a football player after he quits playing. Whether there’s evidence to support it or not, they’re linking it to football.
Alzheimer’s, dementia, dizziness, forgetfulness, suicide. Whatever it is, they are linking it to football. There is an all-out effort to do it. Now, the players are the ones, the vast majority of them who are saying, “Wait a minute, don’t change the game. We love the game.” And of course the sportswriters are saying, “They don’t know what’s good for ’em.” All the smart people say, “They don’t know what’s good for ’em. Of course they play the game. Take it out of their hands. They’re the last to know! The ones playing, they’re the last to know what’s going on here.”
And the fans. The fans are not clamoring for big changes. That’s what’s remarkable here. And of course that’s being used. “Well, see, the fans are a bunch of bloodthirsty mobs! They want this violence. The fans want to see horrible injuries. They want to see the big hits.” That’s why George Will says that it’s taking on aspects of the barbarism in the Roman Colosseum. So the players and the fans are the two primary groups who are not upset about anything. The retired players, the media and the commissioner’s office are saying, “We’ve got a big problem here.”
The commissioner, I can understand. This is a multi-, multi-, multibillion-dollar business, industry, that it is his responsibility to shepherd, to protect, and to grow. And he can see what’s happening. He knows, on a number of different fronts, where the game is being attacked. And it’s not just concussions and head injuries. It’s being attacked in a number of ways from a number of different places. Cultural, taunting penalties, trying to maintain control of the game on the field, all kinds of different things.
But this, I don’t know that anybody involved here really yet understands that the train has left the station and it’s well down the tracks now toward a fundamental altering of this game. Now, I’m not gonna predict ’cause I don’t know whether the people that are really claiming to be profoundly upset by the mental injuries… Because nobody can prove anything yet. There’s some limited evidence of brain injury in football players when they studied some brains, but there’s not enough of them yet to make it any more than anecdotal.
They can’t scientifically say that playing the game leads to Alzheimer’s or playing the game leads to mental illness or leads to suicide. They can’t say it. But they can imply it, and they can say it enough to make people think that there’s a link, which is what’s happening now. I just think it’s fascinating to see this, because the players don’t want any change. This is how they make their living, and they love the game. They love it. They’ve been brought up to play it and they’ve been taught to play it this way.