RUSH: It is not good news for the National Football League. The ratings are in for last night’s season opener, and it is not good.
RUSH: Last night the fans in Kansas City for the opener between the Chiefs and the Texans booed, and everybody there said they didn’t understand why! J.J. Watt, defensive end for the Texans, said he didn’t understand why people are booing.
I can’t believe he doesn’t understand why people were booing. “All we were doing,” he said, “is a message of unity.” No. That’s not… I can’t believe you guys don’t get it, but maybe I need to readjust my thinking. Maybe I need to acknowledge that they may not get it. They may not know why all this is going on, depending on their sources for news, depending on how and who and what it is that informs them on a daily basis.
RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, if anything can be gleaned from social media this morning, it is that the NFL, the National Football League, is in real trouble. Fans are livid. Season ticket holders… Again, this is social media. Remember, I am one of the most dubious people in the world on this stuff. My sources here are people who hang around on social media and are telling me what they’ve seen.
I have not ventured to Twitter. I have not ventured to Facebook. I’ve not actually… I’m gonna tell you up front: I’ve not seen any of this myself. But I trust the people telling me what they are seeing, and it apparently is not good. Fans are livid. Season ticket holders are vowing never to go back to a game and never to watch it on TV. So I sent a question.
“Wait a minute. Why would season ticket holders be mad? Are they mad because they’re not allowed to go into the games? Is it that?” This is one of my thought processes. “Okay. You got season ticket holders all over the league. In every city where there’s a team, you got season ticket holders. But only two stadiums are gonna have fans in them in Week 1.
One was last night in Kansas City. Jacksonville on Sunday will be the other one. Later in the season, other stadiums are gonna open. But Week 1, I think, it’s just these two. I was thinking, “Okay. Since they let 16,000 fans into ‘Airhead’ last night, maybe season ticket holders around the league are upset they’re not being let in.” I said, “Is that what it is?”
I was told no. They are mad over the protests, the whatever, the efforts here to acknowledge police brutality. “Well, why? They knew that was gonna happen.” Are there really people that didn’t think what happened last night was gonna happen? That there was gonna be some kind of ceremonial acknowledgment that the cops suck?
I mean, that’s what the NFL wants people to believe. That’s how the NFL wants to be seen. (interruption) Oh, why it is. Folks, don’t… (interruption) No, no, no. The NFL allowed this to happen last night. It means they wanted it to happen. The NFL is misreading its audience like I have never seen anybody misread its audience, and they have misread and misunderstood their audience since this all began.
Since the first Kaepernick taking a knee began, they have failed to understand. I think… I’ll tell you, I think there is a contingent in the NFL that knows who a large segment of the fan base is, and it embarrasses ’em. Oh, don’t doubt me on this. Don’t doubt me. I’ll guaran-damn-tee you. There are some New York liberals in the NFL front office who wish that the fan base was made up of people who live and die in the Hamptons and all that.
But the fact that they’re in Tennessee and Mississippi, Alabama and that they like the movie Dueling Banjos just embarrasses the hell out of them. A lot of NFL fans go bowling. That embarrasses the heck out of ’em. So I think there is a segment of the NFL executive council that does understand who the audience is. By the same token, there’s a lot of them that don’t.
And I think it’s true throughout the marketing departments of several major American corporations. I really believe that the NFL is like Pepsi or Coke or you pick your corporation. They literally believe that Twitter is America. So if Twitter is upset at the cops, then corporate America thinks, “We gotta show we’re upset at the cops!”
The NFL clearly wants people to believe that it’s not high on cops right now, ’cause they allowed a protest, or they allowed a ceremony that is oriented and rooted in dissatisfaction with the cops. They allowed it to happen. How are people supposed to conclude otherwise? Ratings for last night’s opener are down double digits, and according to social media, fans expressing their thoughts on this are incensed about the memorial service last night for criminals.
That’s how it’s being characterized. Here’s a story, this from Deadline.com: “NFL Season Kickoff Ratings Drop From 2019 as Kansas City Thrashes Houston at COVID-19 Socially Distanced Stadium — With the coronavirus pandemic still raging across [the fruited plain], this year’s NFL season opener was as different as night and day from the 100th season kickoff in 2019. For one thing…”
It goes on and talks about the game, how the Chiefs won and so forth. “In early numbers, the primetime NBC game scored a 5.2 among adults 18-49 and 16.4 million viewers between 8-11 p.m. ET. Now, those numbers … will certainly be adjusted upward later, but right now they mark a 16.1% drop over the … 2019 season opener…” Sixteen percent drop.
Now, do you think it’s ’cause there’s no fans in the stands? Do you think it’s…? Why do you think it is? We’re not talking about people not going to the stadium. Only 16,000 were allowed in the stadium. We’re talking about people watching on TV. The easiest thing in the world to do is to go into your living room, your media room, wherever, and turn on the TV.
Fans did not do it. Fans in Kansas City booed during the on-field ceremony where both teams locked arms in the middle of the field. Now, during the national anthems — and yes, there were two. There was the national anthem and then there’s one called “the black national anthem.” The visiting Houston Texans stayed in the locker room for both anthems.
They were not on the field. When they came out of the locker room after both anthems had played, they got together in the middle of this field with their Chiefs buddies and they linked arms in a show of unity. A show of unity against what? Against America? Unity against police brutality, what was perceived as unity against America? I don’t think that’s what it is, folks.
I think what the fans were booing, they’re not booing unity. No, ’cause that’s not what was on display last night. Okay. So you got a bunch of players linking arms and saying, “We are sponsoring and we’re promoting unity.” No you’re not. Not one thing that happened last night is gonna make a smidgen’s bit of difference in social justice, in cultural behavior.
There’s not one thing that happened last night. There’s now signage in the end zone like, “Ends racism now” or “Black Lives Matter forever.” None of that is gonna make one significant change at all, and this is what the fans know. The fans are booing the politicization of sports. The fans are booing the support of a Marxist political organization called Black Lives Matter.
The fans know who BLM is even if the players want to try to act like they don’t. This is not hard to understand. It isn’t hard to figure out. I’ll tell you what. You know, only one player kneeled during the anthem, and it was a Chiefs player. His last name is Okafor, and I’ll tell you, I think the decision by the players not to kneel during the national anthem was an acknowledgment that Colin Kaepernick was kneeling for reasons far beyond police brutality, and they didn’t want to be associated with that.
I think at least the players understand. I think they understand that that Kaepernick is not just protesting police. He’s protesting America, the flag, and all of that, and they didn’t want to be part of that. The national anthem? It’s got nothing to do with police. Nothing to do with local police, national police, nothing to do with police at all. The fans in Kansas City.
Mr. Watt, you claim not to understand why the booing was, because you guys appeared to be behind and supportive of a communist, Marxist organization called Black Lives Matter, which is not a civil rights group. It’s not a fairness-between-the-races group. It’s not an equality group. It is a Marxist, communist organization that’s got everybody fooled, amazingly, somehow, since they’re very open and honest about who they are and what they support.
RUSH: We’ll go to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to do that. Hello, Dan. Great to have you, sir. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Honor to take your call. Mega dittos, and hope and pray for your speedy recovery, sir.
RUSH: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
CALLER: I think you’re beginning to see that the fans represent veterans and patriots in this country and the players for the major leagues as well as leagues themselves are playing for the sponsors.
RUSH: What do you mean “beginning to see”? I’ve seen this for what it is since the day it started.
CALLER: I just want to reinforce your idea, because that’s why we’re gone. That’s why we’re canceling those season tickets. That’s why we’re canceling those subscriptions. It disgusts us to take a political stance we don’t agree in.
RUSH: Yeah, but you know what? It’s amazing to me… It is amazing to me how… I’ll be very careful how I express this ’cause we’re not talking about stupidity here. We’re not talking about stupid people, and yet be it the NFL or be it… Take any American corporation which full-fledged gets behind something like climate change, which is a political movement that is hidden behind a supposed scientific certainty.
RUSH: Okay. Let me finish this thought on marketing and the NFL, because it’s something that I’ve mentioned it before, but it still stunning me. Marketing people supposedly are among us the smartest people in any corporation. Marketing is where you devise the plans that separate people from their money in purchasing your product or your service.
You make them eager. You make them want to spend their money on your product or service, and so you would think that those people, marketing experts — which will consist of advertising experts as well — would really have ways, would really have systems in place to identify what’s important to people and what isn’t.
I have been stunned during the entire life span of the man-made climate change politicization effort, that corporations have attempted to make customers believe that they are all green, that they’re clean energy, that they’re supporting renewables, even though they don’t do any of this. They just do it on the packaging of the product or they maybe will have some promotional items they give away at point-of-sale or what have you.
So they attempt to show their relevance and their ability to relate to people by supporting things they believe the customers support. So let’s take this now to the NFL, and it is clear… It’s been clear for years that a vast majority of fans of the NFL want no part of the politicization of the game. Whether that means kneeling during the anthem, whether it means players linking arms during the pregame and supposedly engaging in “unity.”
The fans of the National Football League want nothing to do with politics in their game, the actual playing of the game. When the game is played on Sunday, they want it to be about football. They don’t want it to be about a personal profile of Colin Kaepernick at every pregame show every Sunday. They don’t care. They want football played!
They want to watch greatness transpire before their eyes. They want their teams to win. They want their fantasy teams to excel. They don’t care about the politicization. They actively oppose it. How hard this to understand? And yet National Football League teams themselves — forget the sponsors for a moment. The National Football League teams themselves don’t seem to understand this.
Or if they do understand it, they have decided that it’s worth the risk because they’ve got a problem. Their players are 75% African-American, and without the players there is no National Football League, and so they’ve gotta keep the players happy. And if the players think that politicizing the game is something that has to happen or else they’re not gonna play, then the owners are kind of caught between a rock and a hard place.
So they have to make it look like they support what the players support. And they have to do it but hopefully in a way that’s gonna be as least damaging to their business as possible. But I don’t even see that taking place. I just… I’m literally amazed that the people in charge of understanding who the fan base is, who’s the audience…
The people in charge of understanding who it is that loves the NFL and watches it every Sunday and Thursday and Sunday night and Monday night, it’s not hard to find out who those people are. It’s not hard to find out those people want no part of the politicization of the game. It’s obvious they don’t consider the anthem to be politics. They consider it patriotic. They don’t consider the military doing ceremonies pregame political.
They consider it patriotic. It would be very easy for people that run the NFL to conclude that their fans love America and that their fans don’t mind America being honored. In fact, they like America being honored before every game. What’s the NFL doing? The exact opposite! The NFL is making it look like they think that most fans do not want any show of support for America.
In fact, that we have to do is show opposition to America. “Yeah! That’s the ticket. That’s how we’ll shore up the fan base. That’s what the fan base wants. That’s what Twitter wants! Twitter wants and the fan base want America exposed as a racist, bigoted nation,” and so the NFL is apparently willing to promote… (Ahem) I mean, it is senseless. It is their job to understand who the fans are.
It’s their job to understand who it is that’s responsible for all of those billions and billions of dollars pouring in. Yeah, the players are responsible ’cause they’re the ones that are performing great feats on the field that people are willing to pay to watch. Yes, yes. I get that. But it’s still the fans that are doing the parting about the money. Everybody else is being paid.
The fans are not being paid. They are the payee. The fans are the ones spending the money that enables all of that wealth to be transferred to everybody associated in one way or another with the NFL, and the people who are responsible for the creation of that wealth are the ones that are being ticked off, targeted for being ticked. It’s stunning to me!
This is not top-level marketing, if you ask me, and it’s not top-level advertising. It is exactly what happens when the left and liberalism comes in and takes over anything. They immediately politicize it. They turn it into a political weapon that they then put in their arsenal, and they use it to bludgeon people, to force liberalism on people, because it’s never a choice most people would make on their own, and the fans understand it.
So Mr. J.J. Watt and others who are writing… There’s somebody who wrote… Let’s see. Yes. Here it is. “So what about a plea for unity makes someone uncomfortable?” That’s not what makes people uncomfortable. There was no “plea for unity” last night. That’s what you wanted people to think was going on, but that’s not what was going on.
The players don’t need unity. The players already are unified. This is so easy to understand. The fans, the fan base, simply objects to the game they love being politicized. That’s all. And when you’re gonna have players link arms for the purpose of unity to wipe out racism, sexism, and bigotry in America, well, you have politicized your game, and the fans don’t want that.
You know, it used to be, ladies and gentlemen, that the media was the only business where the customer was wrong. You’ve heard the old adage, “The customer’s always right”? You run a business, you run a service, the customer calls and complains; the customer’s right no matter what. That’s how you deal with a customer complaint.
Well, if you call the media, you call a newspaper, call a TV network, news network, “Man, you guys are so biased; I can’t watch you anymore,” what do they tell you? “You’re stupid! You’re not smart enough to understand how we do what we do. We don’t even care. We don’t care if you watch our news. If you’re too stupid to understand what we’re doing, then screw you!”
In the media, the customer is always wrong. That’s becoming true now in the NFL. The customer doesn’t know what he’s doing. The fans are booing what they’re seeing, and they’re immediately wrong. They’re immediately wrong because they are too stupid to understand what they’re watching. “They’re watching unity. Yes! They’re watching the players come together.
“Fans just don’t get it.” That’s not brilliant marketing. I’m sorry, folks. It’s not how you build the base of customers, of fans, of voters, whatever. And I am flabbergasted watching all this transpire. Because marketing people are supposed to be experts at understanding to whom they are marketing the product. It’s why I suggest that there may be some people in the upper tiers of the NFL who are a little disappointed at who their fans are.
There may be some people in the upper tier of the NFL executive suite that wish their fan base was a little more sophisticated, a little bit more college-educated, a little bit more whatever. Don’t doubt me on this. So that’s my take on the marketing. I don’t think this is hard to understand at all, and they’re making it look like it’s impossible for them to get it.
The fans are not protesting unity. The fans are not protesting ending racism. The fans are not protesting ’cause they oppose unity. They’re protesting the introduction of politics into the game. They are protesting the fact that the game they love is demanding of them that they think a certain way, that they support certain things when that’s not why they watch the National Football League.
Yet now, it’s all changed, because the left has come in, and by virtue of taking over the NFL, they have corrupted it. I have a picture here last night of Trump’s rally in Freeland, Michigan. It’s such a contrast with the controversies that are befalling the NFL. (interruption) What? (interruption) Oh, yeah. I could fix the NFL in one week. Damn straight. Yeah, let me tell you.
I’d need access to the players, which I may not be granted. But, yeah. I think I could certainly improve circumstances now. It’s so clear where the mistakes have been made. I’ll even grant… I’ll grant the mistakes are well-intentioned. I’ll even go so far as to say that. But I think it’s just stunning that all these people involved have no idea why the fans are booing in Kansas City last night or why there’s all this negativism on Twitter, social media about it.
RUSH: It’s Open Line Friday, El Rushbo executing assigned host duties flawlessly as is always the case. That would be zero mistakes. We go back to the phones to Atlanta. This is Jerry. Thank you, sir, for waiting. You’re up. Hi.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, great to hear your voice.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Yes. Hey, Rush, tell me your thoughts on my observation as to why we’re seeing politics now in all the sports, why police have gone from heroes to being bad guys — and the observation is this. I think the left realized a long time ago that people are much more affected and influenced by culture than they are by politics, and you see everything they’ve taken over.
From all forms of media, they’ve taken over the schools, they’ve taken over now technology, and now they lastly have their eyes set on sports, and these are all, if you think about it, things that people are involved with every day versus politics they maybe follow once every four years, once every two years during a midterm cycle, et cetera. What are your thoughts?
RUSH: Well, I think that that’s largely true. It has been said that culture is downstream from politics, which, translated, means what you just said. It means that cultural influences are more immediate than political influences are. So if you take over cultural institutions like music and movies and books, which the left has done… They’ve taken over education many, many moons ago — a little Elizabeth Warren Indian lingo there.
If you take over, like you said, sports — if you grab hold of sports and acculturate it your way… But, see be you reach a point where at some point it’s gonna be pushback to it where all of a sudden people are going to say, “Wait a minute. I don’t want that to be politicized.” Because whether you’re talking about culture or politics, no matter how you get there, at the end of the day, you’re still politicizing something.
And look at what’s happening here with the NFL. You could make the case here that they are attempting to use the NFL and the NBA, Major League Baseball culturally to advance their political objectives. Point is, they have to politicize it, though, in addition to how they try to influence it culturally. When they do that, there’s now big-time pushback against it.
People do not want the politicization. (Say that three times. It’d be very difficult for a nontrained specialist. “Politicization.” Say it three times in a row. Say it three times with no mistakes. It’s hard to do.) To engage in the politicization of the National Football League is risky ’cause you can’t just do it culturally alone, as they are demonstrating. The Kaepernick thing, they tried to do it culturally.