RUSH: The players, some of the players in the National Football League want to do something that’s gonna keep even more people away from the game. That’s going to make it even — do you know you can buy a ticket at the 49ers and Rams game tonight in San Francisco for the price of a pretzel at the concession stand?
RUSH: The 49ers and Rams are the Thursday night game tonight on the NFL Network. It’s at San Francisco, Levi’s Stadium, and Levi’s Stadium is supposedly the most advanced high-tech stadium. If everybody wants to use Wi-Fi at the same time they can accommodate it, for example, or cell, they can accommodate it. And, you know, the 49ers haven’t won anything of significance in a number of years, and they haven’t scored a touchdown yet this season, two games.
They hired as their head coach the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons last year, Kyle Shanahan. Not a touchdown. And they’re one of I think two teams, maybe three, in two games have not scored a touchdown. That means no excitement. The fans are there to watch offense and explosive plays. They’re not seeing it. So the Rams are showing up and the Rams, you know, they’re not a team yet. I mean, they moved from St. Louis and got a second year quarterback. Nobody’s setting it on fire.
The Rams and 49ers used to be one of the greatest rivalries in the NFL, San Francisco-Los Angeles, back in the days when the Rams were in LA. Anyway, they are selling tickets for this game tonight for 15 bucks. That’s the cost of two pretzels at a concession stand at Levi’s Stadium. And, as it is, it may be half filled like it’s been all year. This is a major problem for the NFL, and they’re trying to sweep this under the rug. But it is a huge problem. When they can’t get face value for tickets — I mean, even if they could get half attendance at face value, there would be at least something to cling to.
But when you can’t even maintain face value when you’re still only filling half the place up and you haven’t scored a touchdown yet this season, and people are not crazy about Thursday night games anyway. And in the Bay Area, there are a lot of other things you can do on a Thursday night than go to a football game in Santa Clara. They’re not even in San Francisco anymore.
So I was not making up the price of the tickets. Fifteen bucks. Not all of them, but some pretty decent seat locations are 15 bucks. And you can buy your concessions on an app at Levi’s Stadium. Now they’ve gone all tech. That kind of stuff doesn’t matter to a real football fan. An app? What do you mean, I’m gonna get up or are vendors gonna show up and I’ll buy some beer. What do you mean, an app?
Anyway, since I brought this up, let me mention what I had ended the previous hour with. By the way, here’s the story, it’s at the San Francisco Chronicle: “49ers-Rams Tickets Reselling For the Price of Two Stadium Pretzels — Thursday night’s Rams-49ers game may be the toughest sell in the history of Levi’s Stadium.” Anyway, I’ve given the details there.
Here is Pro Football Talk, the NBC NFL website. “Group of Players Asks NFL to Support Activism Awareness Month — The NFL will wrap itself in pink for breast cancer, and put on faux-camo to celebrate the military. Now, a group of players has asked commissioner Roger Goodell to spend a month talking about black and white.” Race.
“According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, a group of four current and former players sent the league a memo in August asking for the NFL’s help campaigning for racial equality and criminal justice reform. The letter was signed by Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin and Eagles wideout Torrey Smith.
“The 10-page letter to Goodell and executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent also asked the league to endorse efforts to promote an activism awareness month. Neither the league, nor the players who signed the memo commented, citing an agreement to keep direct communications with Goodell private. The memo requested the league to invest time and education, political involvement, finances and other commitments from the league. They also asked the league to endorse November as the time to celebrate their cause.”
And again, the cause is activism awareness month. Issues of black and white, police brutality, this kind of thing. And then the story says here: “The league is all too happy to promote safer topics (as in, who can possibly be against cancer or the military?) and will also be delighted to sell you some merchandise to show how much they care. ‘To be clear, we are asking for your support,’ part of the memo says. ‘We appreciate your acknowledgement on the call regarding the clear distinction between support and permission. For us,’” — these are the players that have written the letter to Goodell.
“For us, support means: bear all or part of the weight of; hold up; give assistance to, especially financially; enable to function or act. We need support, collaboration and partnerships to achieve our goal of strengthening the community. There are a variety of ways for you to get involved. Similar to the model we have in place for players to get involved, there are three tiers of engagement based on your comfort level. To start, we appreciate your agreement on making this an immediate priority. In your words, from Protest to Progress, we need action.”
So we have all-pink October, which is supposed to raise consciousness of breast cancer. They wear camo socks and gloves and stuff to raise consciousness of the military. I don’t know what they want the league to do, but they want there to be a month-long recognition of the problems of police brutality and discrimination in law enforcement, prison population, this kind of thing. Activism awareness. And they’re asking the league to endorse November as the time to celebrate the cause.
They want the NFL’s help in campaigning for racial equality and criminal justice reform. What criminal justice reform? I’ll tell you what that is. That’s police brutality and prison overpopulation. Now, what’s the league gonna do? This is a group of players. This is not the players association yet. This is a group of players. We don’t know how many players they represent, but it’s gonna end up being significant. This is all an offshoot of the Kaepernick situation. This is all an add-on.
In other words, now, taking a knee during the anthem or sitting on the bench during the anthem, that’s not enough. The players want to do more, and they want the league’s support in doing more. In other words, social justice warriors want recognition and permission to call attention to their cause and be permitted whatever behavior they ask on NFL games, Sunday and Monday and Thursday nights.
Now, what do you think that’s gonna cause? What effect is that gonna have? Everybody agrees that sports was an oasis, it was an enclave, it was a space away from all of that kind of controversy. It was a respite. It was a place to go spend three to four hours not thinking about that stuff. Now these players are asking apparently that the league join them in making this front and center for the month of November, and they want this in people’s faces.
Now, the players are not investors in the league. The players have put, in terms of capital and finance, nothing. They have their contracts to be paid, and they’ll be paid no matter what happens. Yesterday there was a story that the NFL may be facing give-backs up to $200 million so far in lost advertising revenue because of the declining ratings. If the ratings decline continues, it’s not gonna stop at $200 million.
So the players are asking the owners and the league, who are the capital investors, who are essentially the property owners here — the players are not. The players’ investment is not at risk. Not this specific. I mean, they have their contracts. What this is gonna do to the future of the game, they obviously either don’t care or are wrong and think it’s gonna help. But I’m not sure that this is why people want to turn on the TV. They already are not. In even greater numbers, people are turning the NFL off.
You can’t fire these people. These are players. Snerdley is saying, “If I were Goodell, I’d fire ’em. I’d get ’em out of the damn league.” That’s not gonna happen. That isn’t gonna happen. There are teams maybe boycotting their next games. If you fire Michael Bennett I’ll guarantee you Richard Sherman would lead a movement in the Seahawks and they won’t show up. Well, I mean the inmates are running the asylum in universities now, and look what’s happening there.
Have you ever heard of the latest at Pitt? University of Pittsburgh. “Pittsburgh Students Demand Disarming of Police, Free Tuition — University of Pittsburgh students are demanding that school officials disarm all university police while banning ‘city cops’ from campus entirely. A 15-point ultimatum issued during a Friday protest also calls for Pitt to divest from fossil fuels and private prisons, guarantee student workers at least $15/hour, and advocate for ‘federal cancellation of student debt and free tuition.’
“University of Pittsburgh students are demanding that school officials disarm all university police while banning ‘city cops’ from campus entirely. According to The Pitt Maverick, members of the school’s Fossil-Free Pitt Coalition and United Students Against Sweatshops presented a list of 15 demands to Chancellor Patrick Gallagher during a Friday protest.”
No cops, no armed university cops, no city cops on the campus, everybody gets free tuition, and all student loans forgiven. And the university must divest from fossil fuels, their investments and private prison. Now, the inmates are running universities. The young snowflakes, the students, there’s no argument about this.
And look what it has done to the University of Missouri. University of Missouri, no crowds at their football games, enrollment is way, way down. It’s a ghost town compared to what it used to be. Many universities around the country where there are snowflakes and social justice warriors, they’re running the place. And Snerdley says get rid of those players, get ’em out of the league. That’s not the way this is gonna go. Not the way this is gonna go.
I told you the NFL was gone two years ago. When I saw the sports media, which derives its living from this game, all of these sports reporters, commentators, when I saw them jump on this concussion bandwagon and start beating up and creating this image that this game is dangerous, it’s deadly, and the owners don’t care and the commissioner doesn’t care, when that started, when the media started bringing down the very league they cover, I told you two years ago, go back and find the original show, get the tape, it’s over.
We just don’t know it yet, we don’t know when, but it’s over, and it’s happening faster than I thought it would. I’ll tell you something else that’s happening in the NFL that nobody’s talking about yet. All of the mothers and dads at the Pop Warner level, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, not letting their kids play football. Why would you? You can’t watch a football game for the fun of it anymore. Football now is watching in fear that somebody may die. Somebody’s gonna get a brain injury and die. You can’t watch the game the way you used to anymore. That is the impact of this. It is over.
For all practical matters, the NFL is never gonna be what it was. Social activism has taken over. It’s infected. The media, being liberal social activists, have participated in this whether they know it or not. All of these players suspensions, taking your marquee players and suspending them for four games, six games, 10 games, 11 games, thinking that you’re impressing fans, any allegation of spousal abuse, doesn’t matter, we’re gonna get rid of you whether the cops charge you or not. Hello, Ezekiel Elliott. And the media reports this like they love it!
They love this kind of stuff. They love covering suspensions. They love covering court battles. Every that’s got nothing to do with the game. Now, I’m not saying there aren’t some bad actors here; don’t misunderstand. But they’ve always been there. And the fans accepted it, but now that’s becoming what the league is known for, the dangers, the risks, players have brain damage and are gonna commit suicide by the time they’re 50, that’s what people think when they watch games now, you can’t blame ’em. That’s why it’s how it’s been covered.
The movie Concussion. Mike Webster and the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s an evolution that nobody was gonna be able to stop. And, you know, once the left — this is a universal truth — once the left sees something that needs to be fixed, look out. They never fix anything. They just identify something and break it and then make it worse. Nothing is ever resolved. And they’re never happy with whatever result they are given.
RUSH: You know, there’s something else that’s hurting the NFL big time. Fantasy football is now ending up a negative, with no scoring, nobody’s having any fun in fantasy football. I mean, you’ve got the 49ers, I think the Colts, like two or three other teams have not scored a touchdown this year. The offense is down. You know what they’re saying is the reason? Get this. The reason, “Well, there aren’t enough practices in pads.”
Well, that’s what you guys wanted. I mean, in the latest contract negotiations the CBA, “For the purposes of safety and limitation of concussions and danger and,” there are original 14 padded practices permitted per season. NFL teams practice Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, with Wednesday being the big day. They have Monday go in, get injuries treated, maybe look at film from Sunday’s game. Tuesday’s the off day. This is on teams that are playing on Sunday. Tuesday’s the off day. Wednesday you come back, you’re given the game plan, you have your meetings, you go out and practice for two hours, that’s where you implement what you’re gonna do against the other team, any offensive, defensive changes.
There’s 17 weeks in an NFL season. Each team has a bye week. One padded practice on average, and people are saying, “Well, if there’s only one –” and Belichick said it, the coach of the Patriots, “– if we can’t wear pads, we can’t tackle, and if we can’t practice tackling, we don’t get better at it.” Which is absolutely right. This came in a discussion of why are so many offensive lines so bad this year. And that’s because, “Well, they can’t practice.” And that’s what the players wanted, and it was granted because of the focus on injuries and safety, concussions and suicides and all that.
What all of this has caused, I don’t care, folks, whether you like football or not, all of this stuff, when you politicize things, it’s the left that does it, and when the left politicizes something, I guarantee you that they’re gonna destroy it. It happens in everything they politicize. Look at everything in life you’re cynical about and I’ll guarantee you liberal politics dominates it. Guarantee you. There’s exceptions in everything, of course, but liberal politics has overtaken the NFL. Every aspect of liberalism, the presumption of guilt on the part of the wealthy owners just because they’re wealthy and they’re white and the players are black, 75%, that’s not good. That’s not good.
And then you add the fact that now people cannot avoid it. They cannot help but watch football thinking maybe they shouldn’t be, ’cause it’s so dangerous. Whether it is or isn’t, if you condition your fan base to believe that what they’re watching is dangerous and therefore not good, they’re not gonna enjoy it. You’re always gonna have people that want to see the car wreck. But they don’t want to see the aftermath of it. And when you have people watching football who have as their primary focus the negatives they’ve been told about it, it’s impossible to get the ingredients necessary to be a fan back.
I’m just telling you. Standard, old-fashioned fandom is I don’t think possible in the NFL anymore. Not because of the way the game is portrayed, covered, characterized. Then you go to fantasy football, those people that don’t have team allegiance. They don’t care about individual teams. They draft players from every team, and they have their own team. Their running back may be from the Cardinals. Their quarterback may be from the Steelers. Their defensive unit may be from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So there’s no team allegiance among those people, but if there is no offense, if the players they’ve drafted are not scoring, it’s no fun.
So if you lose the fantasy football crowd, you’ve lost another element of the fan base that has been created with that unique way of becoming interested in the game. I always fall back to this position. And this is true of anything, not just football. Football used to be hard to find. Now, follow me on this. It was on every Sunday. But if you lived in an NFL city, every Sunday when that team was on the road, you had to watch that game. It was a league requirement.
When your NFL team was at home, your TV stations in the local market could not televise an out of market game when your team was at home because they wanted you at the stadium. And they figured — I’m going back 20 years now — they figured if another game from another market with a better game was on TV than the one in your town, you would watch it on TV.
So if you had an NFL team in your town, you maybe only got two games a Sunday. If your team was on the road, you’d get three. You’d get a 1 o’clock game or a noon game and then two games at 3 o’clock or 4. And depending on when your home team is playing on the road, you might get two one o’clock games and one late game. But the point is you did not get the best game of the week, by definition, unless your team was playing in it. And that meant it was special. That meant highlights were a big deal.
When you didn’t see — let’s say your team’s the Steelers, but you don’t live there. Well, you’re at the mercy of the networks and the league as to what Steelers games were televised into your market. And most of them would not be. So in order to see, you would have to wait for highlights or read your newspaper on the internet or whatever, but now whatever you want is whenever you want it, which is great, don’t misunderstand. But it takes away the specialness of it. You know, you look at Apple, they make and announce these new phones, but damn it you can’t have one.
You know this iPhone X? This is state-of-the-art, technologically way advanced. Without getting into detail, they announced this phone would go on sale, you could order it October 27th and deliveries would begin on November 3rd, ’cause they had two other new phones that went on sale last week and start delivering tomorrow, and they didn’t want those new phones to be cannibalized by the super-duper phone. So they announced the super-duper phone, but say “you can’t get this ’til November. You can’t get it ’til November.”
Well, some people don’t want to wait that long, and they want the iPhone 8 to sell, so they make it the only thing you can get. Well, guess what? The news is that they’re having so much production trouble, they haven’t even begun to manufacture the iPhone X yet, and they won’t until the middle of October. What this means is that November 3rd, 99% of the people who want one are not gonna be able to get one this year. This phone, you’re not gonna be able to get it with ease for six months. The supply-demand balance is gonna be so out of whack ’cause they can’t make them. Apparently they just can’t mass produce this phone yet, it’s that unique and special.
Well, that just makes you want it all the more. But at some point when it’s so far off that you can’t get it, you’ll stop striving, ’cause who wants to be that revved up? You take what’s available. But with stuff that’s there every day for the asking, for the taking, it loses some of its, for lack of a better word, specialness. I think this has happened to the NFL. It was unavoidable. I’m not commenting on decisions they’ve made. It’s just a fact of life. And when it’s instantly available anywhere and if it’s not up to snuff and if the quality isn’t there, you don’t have to watch it.
And if they then change the whole attitude from the game is the game to the game is a high-risk, very dangerous thing that may not be worth people playing because who wants to suffer brain damage that could lead to suicide, why do that, why support something like that? That’s what people are asking themselves now. And thank you NFL and sports media, because that’s the picture you painted of the game. They would say, “Well, we didn’t do it. We just reported what’s happening.” You did it with glee. Liberalism. It just corrupts.
So now, have you heard about this? In Cahokia, Illinois, which is not far from St. Louis, a football team of 8 year olds in Cahokia, all of them asked the coach to take a knee during the national anthem or before the game so they could emulate the pros. And the coach said, “If you feel it, do it.”
So now 8 year olds, at least in Cahokia, have been granted permission to emulate what they see from the Colin Kaepernicks in the NFL, and they kneel during the national anthem ahead of a recent game.
RUSH: Rick in Las Vegas, you’re next, sir, and it’s great to have you. How are you doing?
CALLER: Thank you, Rush. I appreciate you answering my call. I was listening to you earlier today talk about the letter to Roger Goodell from the football players.
CALLER: And in talking, you know, the downgrade of the viewership and stuff. I think if NFL grants them November Activism Awareness Month, they’re gonna really destroy their ratings because on November 4th this nightmare must end, the Trump-Pence regime must go, and there are protests that are being already started on November 4th that are gonna be like Occupy Wall Street. And I’m curious to see if the NFL’s gonna make a stand on this or not, if they’re gonna say “no” or “yes,” because it’s out there. The information is out there that they want this, and I would think the NFL would be taking sides.
RUSH: You know, there’s another reason I think this is being done. You cannot ignore this, in addition to everything else. What this is, in part, is a voter registration drive. This is designed to rally the anti-cop and anti-establishment forces to get them active politically. The NFL, players are already now beginning to protest on the field during the game.
It was Michael Bennett of the Seahawks last Sunday who, it wasn’t quite a hundred percent, but it looked to everybody that saw it like he was giving the black power salute after a touchdown or after some play. Much like the athletes at the 1968 summer Olympics, USA track athletes in Mexico City, one of whose name was John Carlos, I forget the other’s name. But that’s the raised fist. He did that. Fist was not closed, but a lot of people thought, a-ha. And I saw a story, “Activism makes it to the field in the NFL.”
What he’s talking about, folks, four players in the NFL have sent a letter to Roger Goodell, the commissioner, asking the league to permit social activism against police brutality and prison overpopulation of African-Americans during the month of November. Somehow these players want that signified, and they want it much like October is, you know, they wear pink for breast cancer and a couple of weeks they wear camouflage gloves and socks and so forth to raise consciousness of the military.
This is in direct contravention of why people watch. This is the kind of stuff people want to escape when they invest their time in sports. I want to repeat something to you. When I worked at the Kansas City Royals from 1979 to 1983, after every season — I was in the marketing department — we had marketing meetings league-wide, and this particular year was out in Scottsdale. And the organizers of the meeting were the people from the Oakland A’s, who had won the division that year, so they put together the plan.
And they got this Harvard socialist to come out and speak to us, marketing directors. And the guy, he knew you’re there to get more people more often in your ballparks. So he gave us his take on the psychology and sociology of baseball fans and sports fans in general.
He said one thing I have never forgotten ’cause it’s inarguably true. Back then, this 82 or 81 is when this would have been, but he said sports is the one thing, the only thing in which you can invest total passion without consequence. And he followed that up by saying, “Try that with a woman, or if you’re a woman, try that with a man.” And what he was saying was, you can tell your team every which way you know you love ’em. You can show them. You can show up. You can cheer. You can buy jerseys and memorabilia. And the team will never divorce you.
The team will never try to take your house. The team will never kick you out. The team will always appreciate you and love you. They may lose, but they will always — And to try it with a man or woman was, you know, people are afraid to totally open up ’cause they fear rejection. Your team won’t reject you. Well, I happen to think he was right. I mean, that’s the definition of a dyed-in-the-wool sports fan. Now you can’t do that. The simple fact is you can’t invest total passion in your team without consequence. There is consequence.
Your team will do all kinds of crazy things to tick you off and disappoint you and players playing the game will do it too. So it’s not as free and clear and pure and fun as it used to be, and it will not be so long as sports, all of it, continues to be politicized. And as I said, who does the politicizing? It’s not a bunch of conservatives trying to take over the NFL.
It is leftist liberal Democrats, they’re the ones that are trying to politicize everything, and in the process they end up corrupting everything, or much of what they touch. You can see it happening. You could see this coming three years ago in the NFL.