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RUSH: Wasn’t President Trump called a white supremacist and a racist and a bunch of other horrible things by an ESPN announcer? He was. And, course, the White House press secretary said that’s a fireable offence, but ESPN said, “No, it’s not! We’re not political,” and they did some sort of suspension thing, or they didn’t do some suspension thing. They didn’t do anything. And the left rallied around. Her name is Jemele Hill.

Where were the NFL owners then? Where were the NFL owners then, upset and protesting divisive comments, divisive comments — as though what the players are doing, disrespecting the flag, taking a knee, that’s not divisive? You see, in the universe of the left, nothing they do that tears down is ever divisive. Ever. Disagreeing with them is what becomes divisive. It all started, I believe — I really do.

The modern impetus for this is the “hands up, don’t shoot” lie. It was embraced. The lie furthered the idea that all cops are racist. All cops. And the owners of the National Football League are scared to death. They are scared to death. They have let this fester. It’s now into its second season. Trump is talking about it. They tried to contain it. But nobody knows how to be an adult anymore with the kids, so the kids rule the roost.

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RUSH: Mark Murphy, the CEO of the Packers, runs the business side of the Packers. He’s a former defensive back for the Washington Redskins. He was a great player. He said, “It is unfortunate that President Trump shows to make divisive and offensive statements about our players in the NFL.” This galls me, because Trump didn’t say anything divisive. Trump was simply reacting like most Americans. This notion that what Trump did is divisive but what the protesting players are doing isn’t divisive?

Does the NFL not see what’s happening to it? Does it not see the half empty stadiums? Does it not see reduced ratings? Does it not see how divisive all of this is? It is turning football fans into something else. Donald Trump didn’t do that.

Mr. Murphy said, “We believe it’s important to support any of our players who choose to peacefully express themselves with the hope of change for good. As Americans, we are fortunate to be able to speak openly and freely.” This is happening in the workplace. Let’s put you on an airline flight. Let’s say that you’re on a Southwest flight and you’re on your way from, say, Dallas to Kansas City, and halfway through the flight, right before beverage service begins, the flight attendants all take a knee, take off their shoes and tell you that they think America is unfair and whatever else they think, and they refuse while on the job.

Are you gonna applaud them? Are you gonna say, “you go, girl, you go, guy. This is great. This is promoting wonderfulness in America.” You gonna do that? You gonna fly Southwest Airlines the next time that happens or the next time you choose to fly? Or take any workplace situation where the people refuse to work or refuse to honor something that by rule — and there is an NFL rule saying that players must stand for the national anthem, but I don’t want to get too petty with rules.

But this idea that the divisiveness comes from people who oppose acts which are disrespectful to our country, we are to believe that the essence of the United States is that it’s there to be destroyed, and the freedom to destroy it shall not be infringed because America is inherently falling short in this or that and because some people choose to say that, we cannot oppose it, we cannot object, because that is being divisive. It’s one of these linguistic tricks that the left and the media have used for decades to discredit and silence opponents of liberalism or leftism. “You’re divisive. You’re not about unity. You’re not about bringing people together.” No, no. We’re about keeping people together.

We are about keeping people together. It distresses us to see this kind of thing happen, especially when the lens of the media is the view that we have on it. The owners, folks, are scared. What are they gonna do? The owners have a choice to make, and they’ve made it. But it comes down to this. If you own a team in the National Football League, do you side with your employees or do you side with your customers? That’s the high wire they’re all on.

For example, if they do not immediately come out and cream Trump or anybody else of prominence that says what he says, then the players might sit, the players might lay down, who knows what. The owners, that scares them to death. The kids might throw a tantrum.

Customers have shown that they’ll put up with a lot. They’ll put up with work stoppages. They’ll put up with publicly financed stadiums. They’ll put up with personal seat licenses of $30,000 for the privilege then of buying a season ticket. They will put up with regular season prices for exhibitions in the preseason that don’t even feature players that will be on the final roster. So the fans have shown they’ll accept a lot. So if you’re an owner in the National Football League and you have this balancing act, who do you side with?

You can’t just, in their view, side with the players. You have to be very public about it, even if it means irritating the fans. It’s kind of like the dilemma the Republican Party is in. All those years of promising to get rid of Obamacare, all those years of promising tax cuts, the moment of truth arrives, and they don’t do it, because they’re really not afraid of their voters; they’re afraid of the donors. They’re afraid of whoever runs the establishment. They side with the money.

Well, in this case, the money, when you get right down to it, is on the side of the fans. If the fans do not watch, do not patronize — you know the drill — then the networks don’t have the money, this amount of money to pay the NFL in rights fees to televise the games. It always is gonna come down to the fans. And in this instance, the league and its owners, in their minds, have no choice but to side with their players.

And let’s not even mention the racial component of the NFL. Well, let’s mention it, 75, 80% of it is African-American. Nothing wrong about that. By the way, Trump’s comments had nothing to do with race. Zilch, zero, nada. When the left brings that up, it means they don’t have anything substantive to say in response. “There goes Trump, more white supremacy attacks.” Trump couldn’t have cared less. This is not about race in anybody’s mind. It’s about race in the minds of the protesters, but the reaction to it? It’s not about race.

The American football fan has shown in I don’t know how many ways that the race makeup of players, teams, is irrelevant to them. The fans of the National Football League have made it the wealthiest sports endeavor in history, a league that is comprised of 75% African-Americans. Don’t tell me that there is racism in terms of the fans who are critical of what’s become of their National Football League. The evidence is quite contrary, it just isn’t there.

The fans of the National Football League have made heroes out of everybody, every star that’s played this game, and their race and their sexual orientation, none of that has mattered, ’cause it’s all about special talents that they have that everybody else wishes they had. And so not having those talents, you revel and you marvel in watching those perform who have those talents. And when they don’t seem to exhibit any appreciation for what they have and what they’ve earned, it just hurts. It makes me sad.

Try starting the National Football League anywhere else in the world and having it become this financially robust and successful. You couldn’t do it. It’s a uniquely, distinctly American sport and enterprise. And to sully it by claiming that there is racism in the reaction to the protests of the great symbols of our country is cheap, and it’s intellectually vacant, and it is purposely avoiding the real issues that are at stake here.

The owners keep talking about dialogue and positive change, but that’s not what the fans are seeing. They’re not seeing positive change from this dialogue. They’re seeing a thumb in their eyes in creating this fantasy that this controversy is all about race. The owners are scared. If they agree with Trump and say so, can you imagine?

What do you do when you have — I’m talking to you parents, ’cause I’m not one, but when you were raising your kids and you would take your two-year-old or three-year-old with you, if you had to, to the grocery store, or anywhere else in public, what would you do if your kid starts throwing a tantrum? There are many ways parents deal with this. Different parents, different philosophies.

How many of you do nothing? How many of you let the kick rock, wail, moan, make a mess, do whatever, until he gets his way? How many of you leave the store, take the kid out to the car, sit there, have somebody else do the shopping? How many of you take the child home, how do you do it? However you do it, you’re the adult and the child is the child. We don’t any adults, it seems, throughout our culture.

You see Odell Beckham Jr. last night? (interruption) You watch this game last night? (interruption) I didn’t either. I would not have known this happened had I not seen a picture of the back cover of the New York Post. Odell Beckham Jr., number 13 of the New York Giants, apparently caught a touchdown pass. He got down on all fours and hiked his right leg as though he were urinating on the end zone in Philadelphia. (pause) We are not supposed to have a thought on that. You know, he’s young and expressive and still learning his way.

What are the odds that somebody will speak to him? He may be fined, but what are the odds somebody is gonna take him aside and say, “Young man, let me teach you how to be an adult”? Think that will happen? Probably not. It hasn’t been happening too many other places. As I say, all this just makes me sad. I don’t know if… It just makes me sad. Pick an avocation. Pick something of yours that’s a hobby that, if you weren’t doing what you’re doing, you would love to be doing that — and just wake up one day and realize it’s over.

It’s gone. It’s not what it was, and it can’t be again. Now, that’s the story of life, by the way. Nothing is ever constant. There is always change. You hope the change that happens is for the good, for the better. This isn’t. This just isn’t. (interruption) No. It’s not that I’m not sympathetic to the cause. Who the hell is opposed to equality? Who the hell is opposed to freedom? Certainly not me. Certainly not Trump. But when much of this is based on an absolute lie, “hands up, don’t shoot” and a couple other things?

And when, by the way, the commissioner of the NFL refuses the Dallas Cowboys permission to wear a helmet decal honoring the dead police officers in that shoot-out? When that’s not permitted, but all this other stuff is, you can’t blame people for scratching their heads and saying, “What? This doesn’t make sense,” and since none of us have the power or the ability to positively change the game, we either stick with it or we don’t.

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RUSH: You know when this all started, folks? When the Kaepernick thing started and when it… By the way, his girlfriend might have a role in this. That’s from (unintelligible) Ray Lewis. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself. When this all started and then other players started imitating Kaepernick because, “Hey, the cameras are gonna be on me!” And they did it, and remember there were a lot of coaches, “Hey, I — I — I can’t tell these how to behave! I — I can’t.” But you most certainly do. Look at Lawrence Timmons.

Lawrence Timmons went AWOL for a day from the Miami Dolphins and got in big trouble. The National Football League tells players every day what they can’t do. Bud Dupree, a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was fined $12,000 last week for simulating a sex act after a tackle. The league every day confiscates money from players for violating this clause or that clause or whatever. So they tell them how they can’t behave and they fine ’em every day for things. “But I can’t tell these guys not to, uh, diss the flag. I — I — I can’t! I… (mumbling)” No, you won’t, and you won’t for whatever reason. You got it fine. But just say you won’t, not that you can’t.

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RUSH: I didn’t see this, either, but I just saw the Jacksonville Jaguars played the Baltimore Ravens in London yesterday, and I’m told that the Ravens, most of them, took a knee for the national anthem and then stood up for God Save the Queen. It was an early game. I guess they televised it at 9:30. I didn’t see any football yesterday. I don’t know if I want to watch tonight. I’m just sad. I’m just disillusioned. Too many things are dying, folks. Too many people, too many things are dying. The NFL is dying.

But get the irony here. The Ravens, I assume Jaguars too. They kneel for the American national anthem, stand up for God Save the Queen. Do they not know that England is who introduced slavery? I’ll bet they don’t know that.

Welcome back, my friends. It’s good to have you.

Roger Goodell said that he’s very proud, very proud of the league yesterday. He said, “The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and culture.” This totally escapes me. You know, I’m a literalist. I’m a realist. So when people say things I mistakenly in many cases assume that’s what they mean.

We had a caller named Charity who wondered how in the world is whatever they do unifying and wonderful and pure, but somebody reacting to it like Trump is divisive. Well, it’s because there’s a mandate. The mandate is you will accept what the left is doing, and you will like it, you will support it, you will like it, you will love it, or else you are divisive.

So, “the NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game, and all of our players and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.” You know, I don’t want to get started responding. You know, I really don’t. I hate that the NFL is being sullied. I hate it.

But, man, you cannot search out NFL news without some big story on the latest suspension, the latest criminal allegations. And the media loves reporting that stuff and the media loves reporting the suspensions. They’re killing their own goose with this stuff. All of this stuff is cliche. “We’re the best versions of ourselves when we are engaging in unity and when we are engaging in –” Check the stands. Check the ratings. There isn’t any unity going on here. It’s just the exact opposite.

And, of course, this is from the same league that threatened to fine the Dallas Cowboys who wanted to put decals on their helmets to honor the five policemen in Dallas who were killed by a Black Lives Matter supporter. It was a preseason game and the league said, “No, you can’t put a decal honoring the cops. We don’t put decals on a uniform at home, it’s willy-nilly.” What, was that gonna be divisive? Damn well it better. It probably was. “We can’t put a decal honoring police, not in our league, we can’t do that, that’d be divisive.”

The USA Today points out 321 arrests of NFL players since the end of the 2009 season. And the NFL will say, “Yeah, but that’s less than, on a per capita percentage basis, society at large.”

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