Rush Limbaugh thinks that the NFL protests are part of a grand left-wing conspiracy aimed at diminishing the cultural value of “masculinity, strength, [and] toughness” in America.
During an interview on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show that aired Thursday night, Limbaugh theorized that “the left wants to do great damage to the NFL,” and is using players toward that end. He suggested the idea that players are taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality is a false flag.
“What does the NFL stand for? Masculinity, strength, toughness,” Limbaugh said. “So what are they doing to it? You go to college campuses now and you’ll find classes on how to take masculinity out of men. It’s actually happening, there are studies and courses in college to do this.”
Limbaugh — whose short-lived tenure as an ESPN NFL analyst ended back in 2003 after he made racially loaded comments about a black quarterback on television — described the NFL as “patriotic” because “you’ve got the flag, you’ve got the anthem, you’ve got uniformed military personnel — all the things that the left wants to erase from this country.”
“They don’t like displays of patriotism, strength, rugged individualism, and that’s why the players are being used here,” he said.
In fact, in recent days President Trump has repeatedly called for a boycott of the NFL “until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country.” But Limbaugh never mentioned that, and instead insisted liberals are the one attacking the league.
“They think it’s about police brutality, they think it’s about righting social wrongs and so forth — this is an attack on the NFL as an institution… lowering its profile and impact on American culture,” Limbaugh said. “We’re in the midst of a culture war, everybody knows it. The left is doing everything it can to erase elements of country’s founding, the traditions and institutions, and they don’t stop. And once they get their hooks in something — this is why I’m sad about it, they’re not going to let go of this.”
Ignoring that NFL ratings were actually up last week, Limbaugh concluded his rant by speculating that driving fans away from the NFL is “part of the strategy.”
“If you want to damage the NFL, what would you do? You would do something to cause its fan base to leave it. What’s happening?” he said.
Hannity, who characterized Limbaugh’s NFL analysis as “profound” earlier in the segment, indicated he agreed.
“This isn’t going to end well, is it?” he told Limbaugh.
Hours before the Limbaugh interviewed aired, President Trump — who used a racist dogwhistle about NFL players during a Fox & Friends interview that aired earlier Thursday — endorsed Hannity’s show on Twitter.
In the wake of a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville last month, Limbaugh tried to downplay the notion that America has a race problem. Instead, as he’s now doing with regard to the NFL, Limbaugh tried to shift blame to the left, namely “people like George Soros and any other number of international financiers whose objective it is to take the United States out and down as a superpower.”
“None of this that is happening on the left is random,” Limbaugh told his 26 million listeners. Rather, “[t]hey showed up in Charlottesville to create mayhem and cause hell.”