RUSH: So last night I’m sitting at home and I’m reminiscing, and I don’t do this very much. I’m always looking forward. But last night I was reminiscing about the program yesterday and I was examining what I thought the high points were, what the low points were, and what parts I need to expand on and get better at, and what parts I shouldn’t even attempt. You know, what parts did I think were boring and all that, and I checked the e-mail. I saw a bunch of e-mails from people who had e-mailed me from the Rush 24/7 app. And it reminded me of two things.
I don’t talk about this stuff enough. We’ve got a Rush Limbaugh app. We’ve got the program app where you can listen to this program, you can order podcasts, watch the program on the Dittocam if you’re a subscriber at RushLimbaugh.com, stream the audio of it. I never talk about this stuff much, because, as you know, I’m focused on the content of the program.
But anyway, a number of e-mails, very polite people saying, “What about the NFL? You led off the program today –” this is last night “– telling us that a seminal moment had been reached in the NFL, and you promised you were gonna get to it, and you didn’t get to it.” And they were right. I did not get to it. It was the Chris Borland retirement story, the San Francisco 49ers, but it’s the way that story is being dealt with by the NFL, by players, current and former, and by the media.
It’s coming, whether this is it or not, there’s gonna be a tipping point here. And the ultimate concern in the National Football League — there’s always gonna be an NFL, just like there’s always going to be an America. The question is, what kind of damage is gonna be done to the NFL by the left and the media as they try to make it better, as they try to perfect it, as they try to improve it?
But if things like what Borland did, he quit after a year, he’s a star. He’s a great player. He was injury prone shoulder-wise in Wisconsin. He played with Russell Wilson, Wisconsin, a quarterback of the Seahawks. At any rate, where it’s all headed I think — and I’m gonna get into this in more detail later, and I promise you I will — is going to be just how good is the remaining talent in the NFL, the talent pool. Is the NFL, I don’t know, years from now, I don’t know how long it’s gonna take, is the National Football League going to have the absolute best talent, or is the best talent gonna quit?
Is the best talent not even gonna go into the game because of the fears of long-term, life-lasting brain injury and other such things? The league is facing this, and the Borland retirement announcement yesterday is causing everybody in the NFL to, one degree or another, face this head-on. I meant to get into all that yesterday — this is what I meant by I was reminiscing. I didn’t remember that I’d forgotten to talk about the NFL yesterday. It took some e-mails to do that. But I was reminiscing. There were high points, low points and so forth.
So anyway, I appreciate all the reminders. Nobody on the staff reminded me. If it weren’t for the loyal listeners, I would have forgotten it until I saw more NFL news today. (interruption) Well, nobody thinks they’re low points but, you know, I’m my harshest critic, and I do have a tendency to beat myself up and be hypercritical of things that maybe nobody else would notice, but that has always been what I’ve done. So, anyway, I appreciate the reminders.
RUSH: Okay, yesterday when I opened the program I talked about the announced retirement of Chris Borland of the San Francisco 49ers as perhaps… I don’t know if it’s a tipping point, but we’ve been leading up to this, the reaction to his retirement after just one year in the league. As a star with limitless potential, earning power, he quits. And he quits because he says he wants to have a life.
He doesn’t want to run the risk of head damage, brain damage. He’s already had a couple shoulder injuries, one in college, one with the 49ers last year. He said (paraphrased), “You know what? I’ve been paying attention to what’s happening to people in this league, and I don’t want to be like ’em. I don’t want to shorten my life.” Up until now, up until Borland, this has been an academic exercise.
It’s been a discussion point. It’s been something people in football sit around and talk about as a what if, a maybe. But this brings it home. The Borland retirement announcement brings home where the powers that be are leading this game anyway. This is what’s phenomenally fascinating about this, to me, is that Borland has done this precisely because of what he has learned watching the media cover the National Football League. I think it’s kind of stunning.
I want to take you back to one of my very first ever comments about this, December 14, 2011. I think the attack on football was predictable; I did predict it. I made no bones about who was gonna lead this attack on the game. It’s gonna be leftists who want to control everything and take the danger, take the risk, take the pain out of life. Just to set this up, this is what I said. It’s a little less than a minute and a half here.
BEGIN ARCHIVE CLIP
RUSH ARCHIVE: The left is trying to take the risk out of everything. That’s where this is rooted. It’s too risky, and playing football is gonna end up being too risky. They’re doing studies on what players are like at age 40, 50; how many of them are dying and all this from probably head injuries. There’s no scientific evidence that that’s the reason, but they’re all making these assumptions that playing football kills you 20 years earlier than your lifespan, in the National Football League.
I’m just telling you that these pantywaists who want to try to take the risk out of everything in life are gonna focus on football at some point and they’re gonna try to get it banned. Well, the players take the field knowing all this can happen. They’re willing to take the risk. But now they’re being told that they don’t know what’s good for ’em, that they’re the last people that we should listen to. They get their bell rung and they want to go back in, they don’t want to lose their jobs, but no!
“We need independent neurologists on the sidelines that are not related to the team. We need independent neurologists on the sideline to make sure somebody hasn’t suffered a concussion and can’t go back in, can’t be put back in by a coach that doesn’t care if he injures a player.” I guarantee you! I know who I’m talking about; I know who the liberals are. I know how they want to control things, take the risk out of everything this life in life — and under the premise that nobody will ever die. Guaranteed.
END ARCHIVE CLIP
RUSH: That was just one of the many prognostications that I made early on. Again, that’s 2011, folks. I mean, that’s four years ago — well, three and a half. That was December. So it was three and a half years ago that I made this prediction that this is where the NFL is headed, and I was stunned when it began to happen. There were calls for banning the game. There were, in pockets of the country, high schools and other places that did say they were going to ban the playing of the game.
Then there were further university studies, and the media was carrying all this. The media was reporting all this, and the media — which also earns its living by covering football, the National Football League — was doing stories on how the game kills, on how the game maims, on how the game injures. It was clear where this was headed, and now we’ve gotten there. Chris Borland announced his retirement from the San Francisco 49ers after one year.
He comes out of Wisconsin. He had a shoulder injury in Wisconsin. He injured his shoulder pretty badly late in the season, maybe a playoff game last year. I think it might have been against Seahawks. He was one of these players that they could have built a defense around. He’s a great, great, great linebacker, tough as nails, almost indestructible. But he’s not an idiot. He can read the news. He can watch ESPN. He has seen all this stuff.
As he has come out of college and gone the NFL, he’s been watching and reading all the stuff in the sports media about how the game maims and the game kills. “You might kill yourself!” When a former player commits suicide, it has to be the game that did it. He’s been subjected to all this, and, as such, he said (paraphrased), “You know what? I don’t want to put my life the risk anymore. I’m retiring.” So now all of this has become not just theoretical and maybe something that might happen.
Now it’s become real.
Now somebody who could have earned enough money to set themselves up for the rest of their lives has retired from the game before doing that, has totally cast aside that massive financial opportunity. So now the Drive-Bys in sports are, “Bzz bzz bzz bzz bzz!” buzzing about it. Everybody’s buzzing about it. “What is this going to mean for the future of the league? Will other players follow suit?” I’ll tell you what it’s gonna mean. There’s always gonna be an NFL. Always.
But I don’t know what the quality’s gonna be.
The one thing they always worry about… They’ll never tell you this. The one thing they worry about in the National Football League is the quality of the talent pool. The assumption always has been (and it’s been accurate) that if you’re watching an NFL game, you’re watching the people in America who are best at it, the best in the world. I don’t mean to limit it to Americans. When you’re watching college football, you’re not watching the best on every team.
Nowhere near it in high school, junior high.
You get to the NFL, you’re watching the best.
It’s a small percentage. There are 300 million people in this country, and how many of ’em play in the NFL? Less than 1%, less than one-tenth of 1%. They’re the cream of the crop. They are the best. That’s why you will pay hundreds, thousands of dollars for season tickets. It’s why you will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of your life to watch games on TV, ’cause you’re watching the best.
But what if the best begin to retire and the product that the NFL puts on does not represent the best of the talent pool? That’s what they’re all worried about in this. Not tomorrow, not next season, but the trend has been begun now. The Borland retirement announcement is like cold water slap in the face to them. “Hey, you know what? We’ve got a problem.” Some of them might even realize they created it themselves, in a host of ways. We have sound bites with this, too.
We got some Borland actually here when he was on Outside the Lines on ESPN.
RUSH: Here’s Chris Borland speaking, football wasn’t worth the risk.
BORLAND: I can relate, I mean, from the outside looking in that it wouldn’t make sense. I just don’t want to get in a situation where I’m negotiating my health for money. I’m not willing to sacrifice 15 to 20 years of my life, even if I die healthy, but younger. You know, I want to live a long, healthy life. I could be wrong. I hope I am, but for me, just personally, I don’t think the risks were worth what I could gain from football.
RUSH: This guy was a star, was gonna be a big star, the kind of linebacker the 49ers could build a defense around, and he’s saying, “I don’t want to live 15 or 20 years less than my life expectancy.” Folks, this is huge. You got a guy throwing away the chance to make a lifetime’s worth of money, financial security for life, because he’s been told the game could shorten his life by 15 to 20 years.
They’ve done this to themselves. In their desire to be good liberals and compassionate and self-conscious and all that, now they got this guy thinking that playing the game is gonna reduce his life maybe 15, 20 years. He’s not gonna take the risk. Who can blame him? You look at all the scaremongering coverage that’s part of football these days. Here’s one more from Chris Borland.
BORLAND: I don’t want the message to be, you know, absolutely donÂ’t play football. I think the thing that I can convey to youth and to parents is just make an informed decision. If you weigh the risks and you decide this is something you want to partake in, it’s a free country and the NFL, you know, will exist for a long time. They make a lot of money. So you have the freedom to do what you want. And I think thatÂ’s important. If I could relay a message to kids, to their parents, it would be twofold. One, just make an informed decision. And two, don’t play through concussions
RUSH: There you have it. Hey, you want to keep playing, risk your life, fine, do what you want. I’m not gonna do so myself. He’s just a product of the culture in which he’s been brought up. He’s been able to read and watch the media like any of the rest of us.