RUSH: This is Gary in Helen, Georgia. It’s great to have you on the program, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. I’m a 20 some-odd-year listener. I just want to tell you that I truly consider you a friend of mine, and I just want to thank you for all the knowledge and enjoyment you’ve given me over the years.
RUSH: Thank you, sir, very much. I genuinely, truly appreciate that.
CALLER: Look, getting back to the NFL, if that’s okay.
RUSH: Fine and dandy.
CALLER: Well, you know, you mentioned like the feminazis and the sports media who you have taught us were more liberal than the Drive-Bys, want to maybe take down the NFL or knock ’em back a peg or two, and it got me to thinking about how ingrained football is throughout America. Like small-town America, I mean, the whole town turns out for football on Friday nights. You’ve got five and six-year-old little boys and girls that want to be football players and cheerleaders and hoping to get to play Friday night football one day, and then college is all about football on Saturdays. So I just see it hard for them to knock it down a peg when it’s so ingrained in our country.
RUSH: Well, it is that, there’s no question. I’ve said from the get-go that I don’t think that they’re gonna be ultimately successful, certainly not in my lifetime, but that doesn’t mean that they’re gonna go away, and it doesn’t mean they’re not going to keep trying. Now, they haven’t taken out after high school football yet, and they haven’t taken out after college football yet.
Right now they’re focused on the NFL because that’s the money. That’s big TV. That’s big audience. That’s where they can get noticed, where their attentions can be reported and get noticed. They also have a sympathetic media that is very eager to participate in whatever cultural revolution the left wants to occur here. And so, unwittingly, the sports media is facilitating this. They don’t have to get rid of the game people to drive people away from it.
CALLER: You know, we don’t really pay that much attention to it, though. We just want to go to the games and have fun, and we don’t just sit there and listen to what they’re saying.
RUSH: I know. I know exactly what you’re saying out there, Gary. You probably one day thought that all you wanted to do was drive your SUV when you needed to go to the grocery store or Costco one day and you woke up and find out you were destroying the planet, Gary.
CALLER: Well, I am driving a diesel pickup, so —
RUSH: Same thing. Same thing with your pickup. What the hell are you putting in the back of that pickup? You got shotguns in there that you’re going to shoot innocent animals with? You’re always gonna be a target, Gary, particularly you. You’re in the south. You’re a hayseed hick. You probably go to church on Sunday. Ohhh, you’re a target.
CALLER: I even collect money sometimes on Sunday.
RUSH: So you know that this takes place. Now, as I say, they don’t have to eliminate the game or to get it banned in order to have success. All they have to do is get a concession here or a concession there from a high school athletic association or the NCAA or the or the NFL. If they slowly but surely can convince enough parents that their little boys are going to be brain damaged for life if they play this game, and they’re going to… Why does football pose a threat to the left? This is a question that must be asked and answered. (interruption) Well, that’s one thing. It’s too patriotic.
It’s merit-based teamwork. There isn’t any affirmative action in it. There aren’t any equalization plans or processes that take place, other than the draft. The American flag is on full display before every game, usually at least half the field, if not the whole field, for the national anthem. And it’s barbaric, it’s violent. And now the players stalk and beat up and harass women. That’s what it is. It’s also independence, and it’s got a lot of money. It’s a target on so many levels.
RUSH: I’m sure you can think of many things, 25, 30 years ago you said, “They’ll never be able to take this down. This is too much a part of the fabric of our country.” And now those things are gone. Football may not be immune. I know it’s gonna be tough.
RUSH: Now, think about this, folks. We just had a call — great caller, great guy — Gary in Georgia, Helen, Georgia. “Hey, Rush, they’re not gonna be able to do anything about football! It’s too ingrained here in our culture, high school, college. They’re never gonna be able to touch it. It’s just too important to too many people. It’s too ingrained.” Used to say that about Boy Scouts.
Used to say that about the Girl Scouts. Used to say that about churches. Used say that about Hollywood. Used to say that about Chamber of Commerce. I mean, this is just off the top of my head. If I really stopped to think about this, how many…? The education system? Go back 50 years, compared to what it is today. The education system is why I write children’s books now, to get the truth of American history out there.
Liberalism has corrupted so much that people thought was untouchable. Institutions and traditions that people thought, “No way will they ever be able to kill those. These are solid. These are never gonna change.” I bet off the top of your head you can think of some, too. Now, don’t misunderstand me on this football business. It’s gonna take ’em years, and I don’t care if they ever ultimately succeed.
The point is the effort that they make is gonna drive people away from the game. Do you think people really are football fans ’cause they want to know the latest on whatever stuff’s happening off the field? Some people, low-information people who love prurient things, yeah. But don’t forget what sports is. Don’t forget what sports has always been. You know what? I remember.
I’m gonna tell you this. When I worked for the Kansas City Royals, I was in the marketing department, and one year after 1980 — yeah, first or second year with the team — somehow I ended up with the marketing department in the meetings after the season. They were in Scottsdale, in fact. Every team sent representatives, and they were the marketing meetings, business-side meetings of baseball.
We had a number of people that come in and they did lectures. There was this one guy that came. He was a Harvard sociology professor. Understand why we are there. The whole point of this effort is to figure out how to sell more tickets. We in the marketing department have no control over the number one weapon to sell tickets, and that’s winning. Winning will sell tickets better than any other campaign you can devise.
But you have no control over that.
So you have to come up with creative ways to make coming to the ballpark attractive when the team isn’t winning, or when it’s thought they might not win. So everybody’s looking for creative ways to do that. There were the giveaway nights and the mascots and all this kind of thing. But this guy said something. I have never forgotten this, ’cause of course I’m fascinated by the philosophical.
He said, “What is it about sports that sets it apart from everything else in our lives? What is it?” Of course we all raised our hands and we took a stab at answering the question. None of us provided the answer he was looking for. He said, “Well, yeah, that’s true. That’s right. Yeah, yeah. No, you’re dead wrong. But the real answer is that sports, as an adult, is the one thing you can invest total passion in without consequence.”
What he meant by that was, as you grow older, you become suspicious of people, and you are guarded, and you may not let yourself go all the way with certain people. You may not want them to see who you are because you don’t trust them. So you’re always holding some of yourself back. You’re always guarded, always suspicious.
You learn, we all learn to be this way after we get taken advantage of by people we think we can trust that we can’t, people who use us. But he said, “With sports, you throw all that out, and you can invest in your team with total passion with no consequence.” Meaning: You’re never gonna get hurt. You’re never gonna get rejected. You’re never going to get told to get out. You’re never gonna get fired.
And for the most part, the more passion you show for your team, the more your team is gonna love you. He said, “Try that with a woman. Or, if you’re a woman, try that with a man. The point is, relationships, you gotta play a little game. You can’t act like you’re totally into the person or it’s no challenge anymore and they send you packing. Your team will never do that.”
I have never forgotten that because I think it is dead-right on, particularly from a marketing standpoint if you’re working at trying to sell tickets and increase attendance, how to maximize that passion. Well, part and parcel of that passion is sports. The ability to express that passion is the escape it provides from the humdrum of the rest of your life. That’s what sports has always been for fans, to one degree or another.
There are the more rabid, the more into the team. But still you could have all kinds of things going wrong in your life. If your team wins, it mitigates it somehow. It just is that way it is. In small towns like Pittsburgh and Kansas City, I marvel at how the performance of the local sports team actually can determine the self-esteem of a population of a city. I’ve seen it over and over again.
Okay, now, take the NFL and what’s been happening to it the last two years, but particularly now just the last six months, the last three months, last three weeks. It’s not an escape anymore. The NFL is not an escape from the humdrum. You may not yet be unable to engage or express total passion, invest total passion without consequence. But it’s not an escape anymore.
You turn on ESPN to learn about football, and you’re gonna have to sit there awhile while you listen to the latest social upheaval, or the latest cultural rot, or the latest DUI or the latest this or that, and the media seems to relish in reporting this stuff. So if this continues? My point is if this continues and ratchets up, sports isn’t gonna be — the NFL’s not gonna be — what it once was to people: An escape.
It’s gonna be a reminder, and that’s not good.
If the left’s constant bombardment of the people that run the game, if their constant attacks on the people who play the game continue, even under the guise of cleaning it up — if the left never lets up on this — fans are gonna say, “I don’t care! This is not why I watch. I don’t care what you think. I don’t care about seeing pink flags being thrown in October. I’m not watching this game for breast cancer awareness!”
Any number of manifestations of this can take place. They don’t have to wipe the game out. They don’t have to destroy it in order to chip away at the interest fans have for it, particularly casual, everyday fans. It’ll be a little bit harder to get rid of the die hard, obviously. It’s just gonna take work now to stay focused on the actual sport of the sport. You’re gonna have to make conscious efforts to avoid certain media coverage.
I saw a couple weeks ago a very, very big weekly column on the NFL, and it always features a rundown of what’s in the column, ’cause it’s a long column. It’s five or six full-fledged Internet pages you scroll through and then click to the next one. The rundown… Over half the rundown had nothing to do with football. It had to do with wife beating, DUIs, performance-enhancing drug suspensions, urine tests.
My only contention is that as that continues — and you’ve got a media being suckered into doing all this, too — it just has to chip away at fan interest, ’cause this is not why people want to play fantasy football, for example. Pretty soon you’re gonna need a fantasy football league comprised of players who are suspended first and longest, and you win the league by predicting that, if you want to stay relevant with what supposedly is going on with the game.
But you just mark my words here. I don’t expect game to be wiped out, and I don’t think it’s gonna become flag football. That would wipe it out. But you’re gonna get fed up if more and more of the media attention on the game has less and less to do with the game. Mark my words.
RUSH: Did you ever think that the left would be able to make a community shut down nativity scenes in public, US national holiday? I bet you didn’t, back in the day. Did you ever think the left would start saying that there’s no such thing as Thanksgiving and we don’t need to be celebrating, it’s an insult to the Indians? I’m telling you, every institution and tradition that you hold dear is or has been under assault by the left for a long, long time. It’s just what they do.
RUSH: Here’s Bob in Missoula, Montana, as we head back to the phones. Hello, sir.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Great to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you, Bob.
CALLER: Twenty-five and a half years. Hey, suppose that elevator door had opened and rather than Ray Rice dragging out his unconscious fiance, Janay, it had been the first openly gay NFL draftee, Michael Sam, dragging out his white boyfriend unconscious. What would the media have said about that?
RUSH: Well, gee. Bob, I don’t know what would happen.
CALLER: Suppressed? Or if it did get out —
RUSH: I don’t know. Obviously in your scenario there wouldn’t be a woman involved.
CALLER: Exactly. And then on the slight chance that it did get out, they would have said, “Well, we need to give this couple the time that they need to reconcile the situation.”
RUSH: Well, look, yeah, yeah, yeah. Theoretically. But Michael Sam didn’t do this. Let’s not muddy the waters here. Michael Sam didn’t beat anybody up. I understand the point you’re trying to make, that some, no matter what, would be protected. But a lot of people think somebody like Ray Rice would be protected, and he’s not being. But Michael Sam didn’t do anything like this. This is a hypothetical. The caller thinking way, way out in front of things here.