RUSH: Daniel, how are you, sir?
FLYNN: Outstanding. I appreciate you having me.
RUSH: Good, thank you for making time. Now, this is really close
to my heart — your book is The War on Football: Saving America’s
Game. You’ve called this war “the new smoking,” and I think you’re
exactly right. There’s a cultural war going on against football. But
why now? Has it been going on beneath the surface, and people
have just become aware of it? What’s the history?
FLYNN: I think what’s changed recently is the player lawsuits
against the NFL. And what a lot of your listeners and the people who
read The Limbaugh Letter probably don’t realize is that 10 percent
of the players suing the NFL never actually played a down in an official NFL game. These are guys who got cut during the off-season,
or they may have played in a few pre-season games, or made a practice squad. When you look at the guys actually suing the league, it
includes backup quarterbacks, guys who got kicked in five games,
replacement players from the 1987 strike.
RUSH: Wait! I did not know that 10 percent never played in a regular season game.
FLYNN: That’s right. When you know that, the dubiousness of the
whole lawsuit becomes apparent. The ironic thing is the players
hurt every league they weren’t suing, but they didn’t hurt the one
league they were suing. NFL revenues are approaching $10 billion
this year. They can afford a $765 million payment.
RUSH: I’ve heard that bandied about, but what are the profits
FLYNN: I don’t know what the profits are, but I know the NFL’s GDP
is bigger than Zimbabwe’s. The point is that the NFL is doing fine.
The youth leagues, the high school leagues, they’re not doing fine.
The league that sells parking spaces for $50 on game day is not going to have to worry about the suit — but the leagues that sell raffle
tickets and candy bars to survive have to worry a lot. Youth football
dropped 6 percent of their player population last year. For the first
time in almost two decades, high school football participation was
down. So the lawsuit and a lot of the publicity surrounding it has
really hurt football as a participatory sport. As a spectator sport,
football is doing fine. “Sunday Night Football” is the highest rated
show on television; people will still watch the NFL. But the question
is, will parents allow their kids to play a game that has been characterized as organized child abuse?
RUSH: That is a key. If you look at the total number of human beings who play football in America, the smallest percentage is the
NFL. You’re right, you’ve got millions playing in Pop Warner, junior
high and high school, even college — they don’t get paid, don’t
make any money from it, and that ends up being the feeder system
for the NFL. All those young players, parents, leagues, do look up to
the NFL. That’s the prize, the objective for those who have talent. So
whatever is happening in the NFL, be it safety procedures, helmets,
and so forth, tends to be emulated. You’d think that because the
NFL has made all this noise about making the game safer, it would
be comforting to people, but it’s not. You’re right, fewer young kids
are playing it.
FLYNN: It’s very strange. As football has gotten safer for players, the
Daniel J. Flynn
My conversation with QA &
A privilege to speak with this American Spectator
columnist, author of A Conservative History of
the American Left; Intellectual Morons: How
Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid
Ideas; Why the Left Hates America — and the
must-read new book, The War on Football:
Saving America’s Game: