RUSH: We’ve got the neurosurgeon at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Joseph Maroon, who is also one of the doctors for the Pittsburgh Steelers and happens to be, I think — I could be wrong about this. I think he’s one of the doctors who first discovered, explained the whole notion of the post-death study of the brain that produces CTE, the damage to the brain, swelling of the brain, that can only be discovered posthumously. For those of you in Rio Linda, that means after someone has died. It’s very important to note that you cannot diagnose CTE while someone’s alive.
Well, Dr. Maroon, as a result of the retirement of Chris Borland, is now saying (paraphrasing), “Wait, wait, wait a minute. I think we need to put the brakes on this. We have gone a little bit overboard in this CTE business. It’s not as bad as everybody thinks. Football is safe.” I told you this Borland thing was gonna be a tipping point. It has caused a panic within the confines of the NFL.
Now, you probably aren’t yet seeing signs of the panic, but do not doubt me. Panic is there. It has set in. And they’ve only got themselves to blame for it. Just like good liberals, a bunch of people come up and start talking, “Your game kills. Your game destroys the brains of the people that play it, why, look at all the suicides.” And rather than stand up and say, “Wait, we don’t know that. Wait, can we dial back some of the this scare and fear-mongering stuff?” Instead of doing that, they said, “Oh, well, we must have an investigation. We must do research.”
They essentially accepted the premise. The accepted the premise and that was the end of it, once you accept the premise. That’s why the neurosurgeon’s coming up now and saying, “Wait, wait, wait, wait we’ve gone a little bit too far on this. It’s not that bad.” The point is there’s never been any definitive scientific evidence on this CTE business. It’s always been a construct.
But all it took was the first mention of the game being deadly and the very media that covers the game, the very media that feeds itself covering the game began covering the game on the premise that it kills. And now a player who reads the media, a player, a star player around whom a defense could be built, a very solid star defense, the 49er defense, decides after one year to quit because he believes what he’s been told. He believes that if he keeps playing this game, his life span might be reduced 15 to 20 years. And he doesn’t want to live 15 or 20 years less than the life expectancy. And to him, the way to make sure he does that is to quit playing the game.
I mean, they kind of brought it on themselves. Rather than standing up and demanding proof. You know, it’s no different that when these leftists come up and start telling you coconut oil kills and you gotta ban movie theater popcorn. “Oh, really? Oh, no, okay, well, then how about canola oil, is that okay?”
“Well, it’s somewhat better. It’s not the perfect solution, but we’ll go with it.”
“Okay, good. You’ll leave us alone if we drop coconut oil?” That’s what the NFL did. Instead of, “Who the hell are you? The Center for Science and Public Interest, who are you? What gives you the right to tell us coconut oil is bad when it turns out it’s actually a good fat.”
How many other of these claims come along, caffeine, either gonna kill you. Now it’s good for you. Now it might stave off Parkinson’s. Every day something you eat or drink is gonna kill you, and then a year later, sorry, it isn’t. It’s absurd. And when this stuff starts, then what happens? Then governments say, you know what? You’re not smart enough to eat for yourself. We have to tell you what to eat. We have to tell you what’s good and what’s bad. We have to tell you what’ll kill you and what’ll keep you alive.
And little by little we give away our freedom over something as inconsequential as feeding ourselves. We give that up. So all these leftists, these social do-gooders, nannies, busybodies, instead of standing up to them, everybody cowers. Same thing with the global warming crowd. Rather than, “Wait a minute, global warming, you told us last year we were facing an ice age. Make up your minds,” and go on with your life. Everybody kowtows to it.
They just get their hooks into our culture and society each and every day by doing things like this. And they set out, make no mistake, they wanted to conduct irreparable harm to football, particularly National Football League and college football, that is anathema, college football, the NFL, high school football, the whole feeder system, why, that’s capitalism on steroids. We cannot have that. Why is it capitalism on steroids? ‘Cause it’s merit based all the way, babe. You get there or not based on your ability, based on your hard work, based on your God-given talent. That’s it.
Well, that’s not fair because not everybody has that talent so it’s not fair that some can do it and some can’t. So we have to move in and equalize it. The way to equalize it is to take the danger and the risk out of it, then you destroy the game. And the league has sat by and tried to manage all this, and what they’ve ended up doing, I guarantee you Chris Borland is not the only guy in the NFL contemplating quitting in order to save his life.
But my point is they brought it on themselves. A liberal busybody over here claims playing football is responsible for suicides. Oh, no. The league gets defensive, has to accept the premise, and say we’re gonna study it. They get a bunch of athletes to promise to donate their brains to science after they die and we’re gonna get to the bottom of this. In the meantime, every death of a former player is attributed to the fact that he played. Well, the guys that are playing the game at present, like anybody else, they consume the media, they see it.
If you’re now being told, you’re in the NFL, you’re 25 years old, just out of college, and you can’t turn on TV without reading the game kills somebody or injures somebody or maims somebody, what are you are gonna do? You’re gonna say, “Wait, why am I doing this?” And the answer’s gonna always come back, “I’m doing it for the money. I can’t make as much money anywhere else.”
Shannon Sharpe, did you hear what he said? We had a sound bite from him yesterday, we didn’t get to it. Shannon Sharpe played tight end for the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens, made the Hall of Fame. Thinks I don’t know what a screen pass is. He said I don’t know the difference in a screen pass and a screened-in porch. I thought it was a funny line. His brother Sterling is a good guy, but Shannon, different cloth.
Anyway, Shannon Sharpe said (paraphrasing), “What is all this? The National Football League rescued my family.” I’ll never forget his Hall of Fame induction speech. He talked about how his family was so poor they ate raccoon. The NFL is what enabled them to escape a lifestyle like that. He’s a little bit alarmed at all of these assaults and all these attacks on the game and on the NFL and on the owners, because, who are they? Why, they know all this stuff, but they don’t care, ’cause they’re the equivalent of the Tea Party. They don’t care that their employees are dying.
See, that’s the way this stuff gets covered. They’re just a dime a dozen, these players, and the owners are making millions, and the colleges are even worse. They’re not paying ’em anything, and they’re getting diseased and they’re getting sick and they’re getting concussions and they’re dying. This news gets spread and promulgated and the players read it, what do you expect them to do? And the media wonders why the game’s in trouble when they are the engineers of it.
RUSH: This is Shannon Sharpe, and this is from yesterday this morning on Fox & Friends. Brian Kilmeade is talking to Shannon Sharpe… (interruption) No, he did. It was during the Rams business, that ill-fated story when I was part of the group that wanted to buy the Rams. Shannon Sharpe was among the malcontents who said, “Rush Limbaugh? He wouldn’t know the difference in a screened porch and a screen pass,” which I thought was a funny line.
Even though it was all wet, I still appreciated the humor.
Anyway, Kilmeade said to Shannon Sharpe, “Your reaction to this? This sent shockwaves throughout the league. Chris Borland retiring? He hasn’t been diagnosed with concussions. He’s had a shoulder injury.” That’s true, by the way. He had a bad shoulder injury last September in the playoff game (maybe January, I forget) against the Seahawks. He had a shoulder injury in the same shoulder as when he was at Wisconsin in his senior year, but he has not had a concussion. He thinks he might have a concussion in training camp last summer with the 49ers, but it was never diagnosed.
He didn’t tell anybody ’cause he’s a rookie. He needed to get on the field. See, that’s part of it, too. “Players are encouraged to do things against their own interests. Yes, and we must stop this. So the warrior mentality? We gotta get rid of that! We can’t have a warrior mentality in American culture. Why, that would lead to disobedience of the Democrat Party. We need obedience, subservient people, and that does not mean we’re gonna have warriors! We gotta weed the warriors out of American culture,” which is what they’re trying to do. So, anyway, Kilmeade points out that Borland never had a concussion that he knew of, and here’s Shannon Sharpe’s reply.
SHARPE: For me, if I had to do it all over again, I would do it a thousand times over. I can assure you Chris Borland’s background is a lot different than mine. I grew up in rural south Georgia, 10 people living in a thousand square foot, cement floors. No paneling, no insulation. We ate raccoon and rabbit and squirrel and armadillo. I survived for 20 years, but I didn’t want to survive another 20, 30 years. I wanted to live. Playing in the National Football League gave my brother and I an opportunity not only for us to live, but for my grandmother, my sister, my mom. We both have kids. It gave us an opportunity for our kids to live.
SHARPE: As a parent, you always say, “I want better for my kids than I had for myself.”
RUSH: Shannon Sharpe. That’s the contra view to the attitude out there now that, “Well, know, game could maim me, game could cause me to commit suicide, game could kill me. I’m gonna quit.” He’s pointing out that the game has meant an escape to so many. But, folks, do not laugh, do not discount me, do not pooh-pooh this notion that the warrior mentality is one of the things being targeted by people that don’t like football. The warrior mentality, the Special Forces military kind of guys, that’s targeted.
That represents individuality. A warrior is not subservient. A warrior is not docile. Warriors by nature do not accept attempts to control them and this sort of thing, and that just… That flies in the face of — of the grand designs of the modern-day Democrat Party and the American left. And that’s one of the reasons the game’s being targeted.
RUSH: We got a sound bite here from Dr. Joseph Maroon, the neurosurgeon for the Steelers. He’s at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and this was on the NFL Network Total Access on Tuesday night and they’re talking about the retirement of Chris Borland from the San Francisco 49ers. The cohost is Dan Hellie, and they’re talking about chronic traumatic encephalopathy. That’s the damage to the brain, CTE, that can only be discovered in an autopsy. It cannot be diagnosed. They’re hoping that they can get to the point where they’re able to, but right now it remains something that can only be seen in an autopsy.
Dr. Maroon was asked this following question: “There’s so much information out there today about concussions that, for a parent, it’s almost hard to digest it all. What would your one message be, doctor, to high school players and parents of would-be football players in the future?”
MAROON: I think the problem of CTE, although real, is being over-exaggerated and itÂ’s being extrapolated to youth football and to high school football. ItÂ’s a rare phenomenon. We have no idea the incidence. There are more injuries to kids from falling off of bikes, scooters, falling in playgrounds, than there are in youth football. Again, itÂ’s never been safer. Can we improve? Yes. We have to do better all the time to make it safer. But I think if a kid is physically able to do it and wants to do it, I think our job is to continue to make it safer, but itÂ’s much more dangerous riding a bike or a skateboard than playing youth football.
RUSH: What do you think the NFL’s reaction to this was? The official NFL reaction to what you just heard? They said, “He doesn’t speak for the league.”