RUSH: When I predicted, ladies and gentlemen, that the American left would soon begin its effort to ban professional football, I realized I’d be greeted with a bunch of catcalls. And I knew that I would be greeted with, “Come on, Rush, I’ve never heard anything more ridiculous! It is the national pastime. It is the most popular sport in the history of sports. It’s the wealthiest. It’s the richest. You gotta be crazy.”
I said, “I know liberals. I know them! When the legal community gets involved, when the plaintiff’s bar gets revved up, when lawsuits start flying about concussions and all that, it’s over, folks. I’m telling you. It’s just a matter of when.” I thought it would be 15, 20 years. But over the weekend, George Will (no liberal he) submitted a column that was headlined in the New York Post, “Football’s Growing Killer Problem.” Basically George Will in his column says that football is killing its players and cannot be fixed.
There is simply no way to change the game to make it safer and maintain the game as it is. You can’t take head contact out of football. There’s no way you can coach changes. For example, when I played football in high school, they always taught you to see what you hit. Do not lower your head as in a battering ram and go after somebody ’cause that’s spinal and neck compression. That’s how you break your neck. Don’t do that. Always keep your head up and always see what you hit. Okay. That was to prevent broken necks.
Well, what that led to was more and more concussions.
Because guys are hitting each other with the crown of their helmet right there on the front of the lobe, sometimes in the head of another player. Or somebody gets kneed. His point is: You can’t take this out of the game. You cannot stop people getting concussions in this game as the players are growing larger. He says, “In 1980, only three NFL players weighed 300 or more pounds.” Last year, there were 352 players who weighed over 300, and three players who weighed over 350. And he says in his piece they’re as fast as cats. I mean, these guys aren’t lumbering, doddering old slobs. These are fast-moving and very quick. The kinetic energy that they are generating is something the human body can no longer tolerate. He talked about it on This Week Sunday as well. I’ll pay you some sound bites of that when we get back.
RUSH: Now, look, folks, we’re gonna talk about football here for a second, but I want you to hang in because this is cultural and this has to do with the future of the country. This is not football prognostication, it’s not X’s and O’s. Stick with me on this. It’s important, and it matters. Not just George Will. George Will has a column basically saying that football is killing its players, and it can’t be fixed. He opens the column: “Are you ready for some football? First, however, are you ready for some autopsies?”
Now, there are a lot of other sports that feature concussions. Boxing. You know one of the fastest growing sports out there is the cage stuff, UFC, Ultimate Fighting Championship. That stuff’s growing by leaps and bounds. I even hear the Southern Poverty Law Center likes that sport. Rugby has concussions. Baseball has concussions. There are injuries in every sport. But I’m telling you it’s open season on football. That’s the thing. It’s open season on football, and it’s now become bipartisan. It’s crossed the partisanship divide with George Will weighing in on it.
Let’s go to the audio sound bite. He was on This Week. During the roundtable, George Stephanopoulos, said, “All of us were actually struck by what you wrote this week about football. Pretty simple but staggering conclusion. You write that football can’t be fixed.” See, we’ve gotten to point, football needs to be fixed. That’s when it’s over. Football needs to be fixed. Who says it needs to be? Everybody playing the game knows what they’re signing up for. But, see, the liberals, “This is purposeful, disfiguring. This is permanent brain damage, and we’re not a barbaric society. We can’t allow this. We can’t have any risk.”
Once football can’t be fixed, once football can’t be perfected — I even heard Obama use the word, talking about our country and our Constitution. It’s imperfect, but it could be perfected. That’s liberal drivel. The so-called march to perfection, as my buddy Mark Levin wrote, Ameritopia, which is a takeoff on utopia, this inexorable forward march to perfection. But now they’ve determined football can’t be perfected, can’t be fixed. Now, it’s not just Will saying this. People on the left came to this conclusion long before he wrote his piece. It can’t be fixed. Who says it has to? See, this is the point. Somebody somewhere, I don’t know if we’re ever gonna find person zero in this, decided football needed to be fixed. And I’ll tell you who’s gonna be responsible if this actually happens, as I’m predicting years from now, the media, the sports media, which thrives on the existence of the sport, I mean guys and women, sportswriters, telecasters, broadcasters, earn a living covering the sport, and they’re the ones unwittingly — well, I’ll give you an example how.
One of the football websites that I read is ProFootballTalk.com. It’s a pretty good website. It’s run by a good guy named Mike Florio. Now, you guys are all aware of the bounty punishments on the New Orleans Saints. If you’re not, I’m not gonna waste time bringing you up to speed. Basically they suspended the coach for a year, maybe for life, because he was offering bounties to the players on his defense if they would commit injuries that forced guys out of the game, to be carted off, ambulanced out. They’ve got it on tape. There’s arguments over whether it actually happened or whether it was just motivational technique, but the coach’s words are on tape so he’s in trouble and a bunch of players have been suspended. One of them is a guy named Jonathan Vilma, linebacker for the ‘Aints suspended for a year.
Now, the Saints played the first preseason game last night against the Arizona Cardinals, and the Cardinals’ first offensive series, their quarterback, Kevin Kolb, flushed out of the pocket, is tackled and a clean hit, pulled a muscle, chest injury or something, threw an interception, had to leave the game with an injury. And you know how it’s covered today? That is the kind of legal hit that the Saints were being paid to make, according to the bounty. The whole way the game is going to be covered now is going to change. Here you had a tackle, nothing more than a tackle. A guy pulled a muscle on a tackle, a quarterback flushed out of the pocket. But, no, now it’s gotta be reported. That’s the kind of hit that the Saints were legally engaging in and were exchanging dollars for.
The whole universe in which this game is now played and being reported on is forever changed. The media will not be able to let this bounty thing go. Every tackle, somebody on TV, “You think that would have been something that the Saints would have paid for? Is that a legal hit or an illegal hit? Do you think they were trying to put that guy out of the game?” Once that stuff starts, there’s no fixing that, either. So here’s George Will and Stephanopoulos says, “You write the game can’t be fixed.”
WILL: The human body is no longer built for the kinetic energy of the National Football League and even further down to high school. In 1980, George, there were three NFL players over 300 pounds. Today there are three over 350 pounds, and 352 people on the 2011 rosters weighed more than 300 pounds. Over 20 yards, which is where a lot of football is played, these guys are as fast as cats, fast as running backs, and the kinetic energy is producing what is called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, CTE, get used to that, because it’s going to be the subject of lawsuits and other things. The crucial word is “chronic.” Repeated, small but repeated, blows to the head, the brain floating in the pan in the skull, now we know causes early dementia and other problems.
RUSH: This is a Sunday morning political show, roundtable, This Week with George Stephanopoulos. This is the roundtable on a political Sunday morning show discussing all of this stuff in football. That football can’t be fixed. The Constitution can be, huh? The Constitution can be fixed. Football can’t be fixed. Let’s throw hockey into the mix here. Why football, folks? Why is nobody wanting to ban hockey or UFC or boxing because of concussions or anything else, why? Why only football? And why is it now being said football can’t be fixed? And, say, once the plaintiff’s bar gets involved here, and that’s the tort lawyers, and there are massive lawsuits that have been filed… I don’t know that I’m ever gonna be able to watch this game the same now. I’m gonna have to turn the sound off, I guarantee you.
The commentary of this game is forever changed now. Everything will be looked at in the context of the Saints bounty program. “You think that woulda been a hit that woulda fallen under the jurisdiction of the commissioner to levy a penalty? That hit, what if that were a bounty program involved here?” And then the analyst will weigh in on this, and then the highlight show. You wait ’til the first quarterback or anybody hit with a concussion gets taken out of the game, it’s gonna be covered almost like a gangland shooting is covered, like a crime’s been committed, and how can we sit here and watch this and enjoy it?
Then wait ’til they get the racial component in it. Wait ’til they figure out that 75% of players are black and therefore 75% of the damage is being incurred by blacks and guess who’s being entertained by it and guess who owns the teams. Wait ’til that component gets thrown in. Folks, I tell you it’s gonna happen sooner than I thought and you’re gonna end up saying, “Well, Rush knew what he was talking about.” And just like in the old SUV days, “We thought Rush had finally gone over the edge, but he hadn’t. Knows exactly what he’s talking about.” Because I know liberals.
Now, I don’t know what George Will’s doing. (sigh) It just shows it’s crossed the boundary now. It’s just crossed the partisan divide. Here’s Stephanopoulos: “Well, so what’s to be done about it, George, if it can’t be fixed ’cause right now there’s no evidence the American public is wanting to turn away from the game.” Ah, that’s right! Now, that’s the next thing to happen, folks. The next thing to happen is for efforts to be made to get you not to watch this barbaric bloodbath. To compare you to someone who’s no different than the ancient Romans who gathered in the Colosseum to watch the Christians given to the lions.
You’ll be no different than those bloodthirsty people back then. “How dare you want to watch something like this? How dare you pay to see it? It’s just like a car race. You go there to see these injuries, don’t you, you reprobate fans?” Stephanopoulos: “George, there’s no evidence the American public is ready to turn away. So what can be done about it?” See, now “something” needs to be done. Okay, that’s where we are. That’s where liberals take us: Something has to be done. Football needs to be fixed, but it can’t be.
Here’s George Will’s answer…
WILL: It’ll start down below. It’ll start at the small level of kids playing football in grade school and then in high school. We now, in our hyper-cautious parenting, put crash helmets on children riding tricycles.
WILL: How many of these parents are gonna let their children go out and play football once they learn — again — the chronic, the cumulative effect of small-brain trauma?
RUSH: There you have it, folks. There you have it. Okay. Great while it lasted. I’m glad that I lived the bulk of my life when football was what it was.
RUSH: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This is Paul. Great to have you, sir. Welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. I wanted to comment on your take about the NFL. I think you may have it all wrong on this one, and rarely I disagree.
RUSH: I’m not surprised. I fully expect to be a lone wolf on this until it happens.
CALLER: This is my reasoning, Rush, and I’ll tell you why. It’s got to do with, they got a built-in protection with college football, and I say that because your instincts are right. There’s gonna be a lot of hand-wringing and new ideas and liberal ideas and kook theories about changing football or getting rid of it. But the fact of the matter is college football is the huge source of revenue for the athletic department, and those athletic departments take that money and are giving it to sports like women’s polo, table tennis, badminton.
RUSH: I understand all that.
CALLER: These colleges fly these girls teams around from state college to, say, Notre Dame for a badminton competition.
RUSH: I’m not predicting that the game’s gonna be banned. That’s not how this is going to happen. They’re not gonna ban the game. What’s gonna happen — and I don’t know how many years it’s gonna take, but — is it’s going to eventually lose (slowly but surely) its fans, its audience. There’s going to be a deterioration at all levels. I’ll be happy to detail how I think this is going to manifest itself. It’s already begun. It’s already begun. “Football can’t be fixed. There’s something inexorably wrong about it.” It does generate a lot of money, but, remember: The liberal left on college campi hate that.
But that’s only a minor factor.
RUSH: Look, I know I’m all alone on my prediction about what’s gonna happen with football. And as the program unfolds, maybe if anybody asks me anything further about it, I’ll tell you how I think this all is gonna happen. There’s not gonna be a ban. That wouldn’t work. Everybody knows it wouldn’t work. There wouldn’t be a ban. Fans love the game too much. So the people that want this game banned, the people that want it gotten rid of — which is silly because it’s a cash cow for so many people, but we’re talking liberals, now. Look at how popular boxing used to be. Look at how popular smoking used to be.
Tort lawyers got involved in both. Tort lawyers are involved here now. Liberals are involved: “Game needs to be fixed. Game can’t be fixed, though. Oh, it can’t be fixed!” Mike Ditka says you can’t take the hits out of it. Take the face mask off, Ditka says! You want to stop head injuries, take the face mask off. There are all kinds of ideas like that. That’s not gonna satisfy. Once the game “needs to be fixed,” that’s it. So how are the people that want this game irreparably harmed going to pull it off?
I know how they’re gonna do it.
They’re gonna make you sick and tired of watching it.
And if you want further details, I’ll provide ’em. But there’s other stuff going on out there that I want to weigh in on.
RUSH: Okay, here, folks, right here. Right here, just got it, Wall Street Journal. Headline: “Is It Time to Retire the Football Helmet?” Yes, my friends, the march is on.