At a campaign rally in Nevada on Sunday, GOP Presidential frontrunner and self-declared killer of terrorists Donald Trump lamented that the National Football League has become “crummy” due to the league’s efforts to stop head-on-head collisions. Trump, who has said he knows more militarily than actual soldiers despite never serving himself, cited the NFL as a metaphor for this country, saying “the game has become soft like our country.”
Following a game on Saturday night that featured numerous vicious head shots and plenty of flags, Trump told the audience that he no longer watches the NFL because it isn’t violent enough. He’d prefer it be like the old days when players could get away with extremely dangerous hits to the head without worry. Y’know, the kind that led thousands of players to sue the league for covering up and lying about the amount of damage they were doing to their bodies.
From the Washington Post’s transcript of the speech:
“It’s a Sunday, who the hell wants to watch these crummy games? I just want to watch the end. By the way — okay, let me go there for a second. Let me end that story. So we gave them Iraq, we’re stupid. We’re stupid. I’ll change things. Believe me, I’ll change things. And again, we’re going to be so respected. I don’t want to use the word ‘feared.’ What I just said about a game — so I’m watching a game yesterday. What used to be considered a great tackle, a violent head-on [tackle], a violent — if that was done by Dick Butkus, they’d say he’s the greatest player. If that were done by Lawrence Taylor — it was done by Lawrence Taylor and Dick Butkus and Ray Nitschke, right? Ray Nitschke — you used to see these tackles and it was incredible to watch, right?
Now they tackle. ‘Oh, head-on-head collision, 15 yards.’ The whole game is all screwed up. You say, ‘Wow, what a tackle.’ Bing. Flag. Football has become soft. Football has become soft. Now, I’ll be criticized for that. They’ll say, ‘Oh, isn’t that terrible.’ But football has become soft like our country has become soft. [Applause] It’s true. It’s true. The outcome of games has been changed by what used to be phenomenal, phenomenal stuff. Now these are rough guys, these are rough guys. These guys — what they’re doing is incredible, but I looked at it and I watched yesterday in particular. So many flags, right? So many flags. And I could imagine a guy like Lawrence Taylor and Dick Butkus, who was really rough, and some of these guys sitting there watching. ‘Wow, what a beautiful tackle.’ ‘Fifteen yards! That’s — the game is over.’ You can’t kick a field goal any more.
It’s become weak and you know what? It’s going to affect the NFL. I don’t even watch it as much anymore. It’s going to affect the NFL. I don’t watch it. The referees, they want to all throw flags so their wives see them at home. ‘Oh, there’s my husband.’ [Laughter] It’s true. ‘He just broke up — he just gave a 15-yard penalty on one of the most beautiful tackles made this year.’ Right?”
The celebrity billionaire, who has likely never played the game but did own a USFL team in the ’80s (and helped wreck the league), did point out that he still loves New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. (I think we know why.)
The funny thing is that while Trump states unequivocally that the game is boring and nobody is watching it — including himself — the ratings for this weekend’s Wild Card games were higher than last year’s, and the NFL continues to improve in popularity despite the attempt to make the game safer. And, let’s face it, based on what we’ve seen this past weekend, the game is still plenty violent.