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RUSH: When you edit this all down and when you get down to the bare essence of this, there’s a story today about how football is already dying in Los Angeles. The Rams can’t attract anybody. In fact, this story says that may be because the Rams don’t want to attract crowds right now.

The Rams are trying to stay under the radar while they build their stadium. What a bunch of caca! There’s nobody in the in the NFL that’s trying to lose money. Up until this season, it was very hard to lose money in the NFL, with the guaranteed money you get as a league, as an owner from the television rights money. But the Chargers are playing, the LA Chargers, in a 27,000-seat stadium, and they can’t even put 25,000 people in there. Most of the people showing up at Chargers games are showing up for the visiting team.

Anyway, the story is how the NFL was in trouble in the number two market. The NFL’s in trouble everywhere. The point is: It is the people playing the game that are causing it all, and I don’t know that the league looks at it that way, and I don’t know that the owners look at it that way. I think a lot of what’s going on in the NFL is, as I said yesterday, the people that run that league and many of the owners believe what they see on the media every day. Just like the Democrats all during 2016 believed that Hillary was gonna win in a landslide.

They believed their polls. They believed their precious Nate Silver and the crunching of big data. They believed it all, and then look what happened. Hillary was never gonna win that election. The dirty little secret is Hillary Clinton probably never, in an honest poll, was ever ahead. Maybe after the Access Hollywood video for a couple of hours. But Donald Trump was gonna win that election going away. Hillary didn’t even campaign. Now, this may sound radical to say, but I firmly believe it. But look at all of them.

They believed even as late as 8 o’clock on election night that she was gonna win in a landslide, ’cause they believe this stuff. I don’t think the left, the Democrats understand America anymore. They have a jaundiced or an incorrect view of the beating heart, of the pulse of this country. They think it’s made up of people who don’t like Christianity, who don’t like the Constitution, who don’t like the Bill of Rights, who think America is an oppressive nation, who think America is founded in inequality and oppression and racist and all this.

I think they think a majority of Americans think that. That’s why they campaign that way. That’s why they think they’re gonna win in a landslide. I think the NFL owners think that way. I think the people in that league don’t have a proper understanding of their own audience, of their own fans. Now, I know this sounds odd because you say, “Rush, come on. It’s their job. They can do audience research, fan research surveys. They’ve gotta know.”

You would think.

But there’s not a single thing that’s happened during this anthem protest that leads me to believe… It’s one of two things. Either they know who their audience is and they’re unhappy about it and they’re very comfortable with these players taking a knee and essentially going (Raspberry!) to the anthem… Apparently, it’s one of two things. Either they don’t know where the majority of thinking on this issue is or they do know and they resent it, and so they support efforts to ram it down your throat.

Neither option sounds very smart, ’cause when you strip this all away, the people playing the game are the ones causing the damage. They might like to try to blame Trump, but Trump is not disrespecting the anthem, and Trump is not disrespecting the cops, and Trump is not disrespecting the military. The players may not think they are, but you can’t tell by looking. Their actions, by supporting Kaepernick — who clearly said he didn’t like the cops and he thinks the country’s racist and the cops are racist. Now, these guys all stand up in support of Kaepernick.

Now they want to back off, “Oh, we’re not disrespecting the flag.” Yes, you are, and, yes, you are disrespecting the anthem. The point is it’s the people playing the game causing the damage, and that’s why I say the owners don’t know what to do. They’re scared. I mean, they want unity. They want to win. They want their players to be happy and content; they want their players to think the owners got their backs. So they join them in this thing, thereby angering the fans.

And you can see what’s happening to TV numbers. You can see what’s happening to sales of tickets and memorabilia. The NFL’s in a world of hurt right now, and it’s the people who play the game who are doing the primary damage: The players. Okay, so you say, “No, Rush, it’s Goodell.” Goodell, yeah, doesn’t have a good image with be but Goodell’s not doing anything other than supporting what the players are doing. It all starts there.

Now, the reason I mentioned this again is the news hit right as the program ended yesterday that… In fact, we read the memo from Roger Goodell to the teams, to the executives, the general managers and presidents where he finally essentially threw in the towel. You know what? Let’s just stand for the anthem and let’s find another way for the players to register their social anger. Let’s all stand for the anthem. Let’s have your teams all go out and stand for the anthem.

And this constitutes a Trump win.

I don’t care how you slice it, it constitutes a Trump win.

Trump was never going to lose this. In the United States of America, even today, the person standing up for the flag, standing up for the military, standing up for the cops is not going to lose. The left has not taken over the country despite what the media makes it look like every day. Now, one thing I mentioned yesterday because it was near the end of the program, the players are not going to be happy when they get the memo that Goodell sends a memo to the owners and executives and general managers saying, “Let’s get the players. Let’s all stand up.”

That’s gonna make this even worse. And right here, again in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers, Gerald McCoy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, defensive lineman, says he thinks there might be an uproar if players are forced to stand for the national anthem. He said, “I don’t think guys are gonna like it. I think it’s gonna be an uproar if that is to happen because you’re basically taking away a constitutional right to freedom of speech. If guys wanna have a, I guess you would call it a peaceful protest, I don’t think it’s right to take that away.”

Now, this illustrates something else. Mr. McCoy has no idea what he’s talking about, but he thinks he does. The First Amendment and the free speech clause are irrelevant to this story. This is a workplace event, and his freedom of speech can be abridged by his employer. Everyone’s is, every day. And the Constitution doesn’t do you any good. But they all think they have a constitutional right to free speech. They don’t own that stage. They don’t own that field.

So there’s gonna be even more protest. Mr. McCoy indicates there could be an uproar, and I don’t doubt that he’s right. I have to share one more thing with you. There’s a part of this story that’s starting to make me nervous, and it’s this. I am very uncomfortable with the president of the United States being able to dictate the behavior and power of anybody. That’s not where this should be coming from.

Trump is continually tweeting — I know what he’s doing, and I understand why he’s doing it, and his motives are pure; don’t misunderstand. But I don’t think that it is useful or helpful for any employee anywhere to be forced to do something because the government says they must. That scares hell out of me. This should come from the league, as it looks like Goodell wants it to. The owners should be demanding this, not the president. The commissioner should be demanding this, not the president.

We don’t want the president being able to demand anybody that he’s unhappy with behave in a way he requires. That’s scary to me, even if the president’s somebody I happen to like. This is a workplace issue. It’s the owners and the league that let this get out of hand because they didn’t know how to deal with it or were afraid to.

And if this is gonna be made to work, the players are gonna have to be told who the boss is and they’re gonna have to be given specific workplace rules and regulations that they know have nothing to do with the Constitution, the First Amendment, freedom of speech. If you want to work for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, you are gonna stand for the anthem. If you want to work for Dallas Cowboys, you’re gonna stand for the anthem.

But I’m really nervous if all that happens because the president makes it happen. He can make it happen by forcing the owners. But this is a slippery slope to me, and it hit me a while ago and crystallized last night. Trump is in the right, don’t misunderstand. But no president should have dictatorial power over individual behavior.

A president should not be able to tell the owners of a business how their employees are gonna act and what they’re gonna swear allegiance to and all that. That’s up to the owners to do, and it’s up to the owners to come up with a system of punishment if their employees violate company policy, like it is in any other business.

They don’t own the stage, they don’t have a right to it. Theirs is a privilege just like every employee’s is. You don’t own where you work unless you do. You’re always subject to the rules, guidelines, and wishes of the people who do own the business. The NFL should be no different. But when the NFL misjudges its audience and doesn’t know who its audience is and the NFL is afraid of its players, then the inmates start running the asylum.

And that’s when the president does stand up, because what he says about this is absolutely on the money. But it ought not be a presidential dictate. It can be involved in fixing it, but it ought not be why all of a sudden people start snapping to and behaving accordingly. This is local issue, it’s a team issue, it’s a workplace issue.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Middletown, New Jersey. Tony, thank you for waiting. You’re next, sir. Great to have you here.

CALLER: Great to be with you, Rush. Rush, regarding Trump being a dictator as to the NFL and their bad behavior. He’s really just put a focus and a spotlight on the problem. The people who are dictating to the NFL now are the people who are not going to the games and, as you said, the people who are not buying the products and the sponsors that are leaving them.

So, like a lot of things in life, it’s all about the money. These people in the NFL, Goodell and the rest of these clowns, they didn’t all of a sudden gain any respect for Donald Trump or patriotism for what they’re supposed to do. They’re responding from the dictatorship of the public who is withholding funds from them, and it’s about the money. And that’s the reason why they’re finally —

RUSH: Now, wait, wait. I know what you’re saying. But I’m gonna go out on a limb and I’m gonna disagree with one element. Now, I’m glad you called because I asked Snerdley when I finished that riff if I made myself clear, and he said, “Oh, yeah, crystal.” But I’m not sure that I did. I was not trying to diminish — in fact, I came back and said what really gives the Trump the power to win over the NFL is the 63 million people who support him on this. But I said that after a break.

The point that I was making was that I don’t want to get to a point where if a president doesn’t like the way people are behaving, that he can call the people that own that business and make ’em behave the way he wants. I’m not suggesting that’s happening here. It’s not. But I don’t want to even have anything appear to be that way. I don’t want that kind of power. The president here is right, and that’s what’s propelling this. But the one area that I want to disagree with you on —

CALLER: What is that?

RUSH: I’m not so sure that if Trump had not applied pressure, that they would have changed. I think they would have permitted the players to continue to protest. I think they would have allowed these things to get even bigger. I think as they kept losing audience and TV ratings, they would make a mistake in assuming why it’s happening, and they would continue to allow that which was harming them to harm them, because they are misjudging most every element of this and why they’re in trouble in the first place.

CALLER: I tend to agree with you. You’re absolutely right, because they don’t understand — that’s why the left is so confused and so in disarray, ’cause they don’t really understand the temperament of the real people in this country that we live. They only have their own agenda, and that’s all they listen to. They don’t listen to the real people, and that’s why Donald Trump got elected.

RUSH: No, they understand it. They understand it and they hate it, and they hate you. And they resent it. And they can’t wait to ram themselves down your throat. They know who you are, and they know what you believe, and they resent the hell out of you.

When I say the NFL’s misjudging their audience, I think Hillary misjudged her voters. I think they believed their media, and I think the NFL has a misconception about why people watch, and what would make them sour on the game or whatever, and I think they think they can withstand it. I think it’s a great miscalculation.

But the real point that you made that I’m not sure is right, normally you would be — you’re saying the loss of revenue is ultimately what’s dictating their change in behavior. And I’m telling you I think if Trump were not involved and yet everything else was happening, everything else would continue to happen. The players would continue to protest and fans would continue not to go and not to watch, and I don’t think they’d be in any hurry to change anything.

CALLER: Well, this started last year, as we all know, with Kaepernick, and it’s just grown. Then the president brought the spotlight to this. And you’re right. I mean, he’s a big president, obviously, and his views telegraph in manner so much, that, yeah, it threw a big spotlight on this problem, and it probably would have gone on had he not continued to put pressure on them. But he’s really not dictating —

RUSH: Let me tell you something. The fans started leaving stadiums and stopped watching games before Trump spoke up. When Trump spoke up, it validated what they were doing. It was finally a national leader on their side agreeing with ’em, and it propelled it even further. Let me ask you a question.

CALLER: Sure.

RUSH: Do you think that the league could stop this if somebody would go to Colin Kaepernick and say, “We want to put you on TV in a press conference and we want you to say that you were not protesting the police. That you were not protesting those things you said you were,” in an effort to shut this down — In other words, if Kaepernick went on TV and said, “I don’t support this if it’s anti-anthem and anti-flag,” do you think the players would stop taking a knee if Kaepernick changed his attitude about this?

CALLER: It’s a very good question, Rush. I don’t really have an answer.

RUSH: No way. It wouldn’t change a thing.

CALLER: I just don’t think so. You know?

RUSH: Kaepernick is a convenient excuse for why this is happening.

CALLER: Yeah.

RUSH: This is gonna happen because the ultimate purpose here is not to change the way the police treat African-Americans. The ultimate purpose here is not to change whatever the inequalities are. The purpose here is to damage the NFL. And I think many of the players are unwittingly, some knowingly, but many are unwittingly participating in this, believing that it’s about social justice. And, by the way, it’s working, this effort to damage the NFL.

When you find out the NFL Players Association is accepting money from George Soros and other left-wing causes and then donating some of their own money to some of these causes — the left targets successful capitalistic enterprises, particularly enterprises that are devoted to celebrating American patriotism, decency, goodness, the flag, the national anthem, masculinity, rugged individualism. These are things that the left is trying to wipe out of American culture.

And don’t laugh, because on college campuses today more and more courses are springing up for kids to take on the problems with masculinity, the areas of America that have deteriorated because of masculinity. There’s an assault on all of these things. And the NFL not only typifies many of ’em but glamourizes a bunch of stuff the left absolutely hates.

And so the players — I don’t know what percentage. Some of them know what they’re doing, but I think most of them are dupes believing they’re actually doing something in the interests of social justice and righting wrongs and getting even with the cops or whatever, and all of that’s just a cover and a smoke screen for the real objective here.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Gene in Youngstown, Ohio. Great to have you on the show.

CALLER: Oh, Rush.

RUSH: Yeah?

CALLER: It is a thrill and honor to speak with you. I’ve been trying for 25 years. I actually put it on my bucket list, and there ain’t much left, so maybe the end is near.

RUSH: (laughing) Well, I hope not, but I’m glad you made it.

CALLER: Anyway, last Sunday while others were kneeling for the anthem across the country, here in Youngstown we held a little NFL burn-your-stuff protest rally at a local American Legion Hall. And it was one of the most patriotic events I’ve been to. We had music. We had a gun salute by the American Legion members. We had speakers, and then for the people that wanted to burn their items, we had a burn barrel. As they put them in, we took a little video clip of them telling us why they were burning their NFL stuff, and one of our members who did it — or one of the organizers, rather — she sent those clips to the NFL. So I guess we’re kind of thinking that maybe we had something to do with Goodell’s memo. (chuckling)

RUSH: Well, look, the NFL now realizes that they have a problem. There’s no question. That’s what Goodell’s memo to the teams yesterday means. They realize they have a problem. Their problem is not Donald Trump. Their problem, folks… I’m trying to think of a number of different ways to say this to drive it home. Their problem is that the people who play the game are driving fans away.

The people who play the game are causing the harm, and they are employees! Think of any analogy you want. Would McDonald’s allow employees to kick customers out of the store? How long would that list before those people were gotten rid of, or a policy was changed to make sure everybody knew that this is gonna stop? But there’s so much… Really, this is a very tangled-up mess here, and the NFL let it all get out of control, because I think…

You know, there’s one thing here that really… You may think this sounds simplistic, but I think part of this is we don’t have any adults anymore. We have nobody willing to treat kids as kids. We have nobody willing to discipline kids or people that are violating policy or what have you. Instead, we want to be understood, and we want to show our tolerance, and we want to show our sensitivity to whatever it is that has these people upset, because that supposedly is going to buy us respect and goodwill.

But it’s never been the way to raise kids. It’s never been the way to control young people in confined circumstances like a classroom or a school. But liberalism’s on the march and we just have to see how this plays out.

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