Long considered essential to American culture, football is destroying itself, and it’s not just over social justice mania. The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick says the sport is in an idiot-induced freefall, as evidenced most recently by a brawl after a college bowl game Friday and unbridled anti-social behavior on the NCAA and NFL levels.
Football “started with broken windows and will end with a sport in voluntary ruin and pandering neglect,” Mushnick claimed. “Football, at all levels, has surpassed its untreated broken windows stage. It is approaching free fall. And not a soul in charge with a net.” Players, coaches and the media are all contributing to the sport’s alarming decline, he argues.
As a case in point, Mushnick led off with Friday’s Armed Forces Bowl college game between Mississippi State and Tulsa. At game’s close, “a brawl erupted that soon escalated into mass tribal warfare — roughly 45 versus 45 student-athletes, kicking, stomping, punching one another. It was the latest ‘Breaking News!’ that football is no longer a sport, but a clash between the easily influenced, mindlessly violent antisocial.”
Mushnick pondered how many of Friday’s football rioters were wearing social activism messages, such as “Respect.”
“Heroic” Mississippi State coach Mike Leach responded after the melee by excusing the bad behavior away: “So what, that’s just football.” Mushnick noted that during Leach’s previous coaching job at Washington State his teams led the nation in the dubious statistic of most player arrests in a five-year stretch.
Mississippi State won its 2019 rivalry game against Mississippi because an Ole Miss player was flagged for doing a dog urinating in the end zone mime, prompting Mushnick to ask the “quick-fix artists hollering to pay college athletes (as long as it’s not their money): How much would Moore have been paid to lose that game?”
Also last season Nevada and UNLV football players engaged in gang warfare as fans pelted them with bottles in another ugly specter. On Christmas Day 2020, Utah’s Ty Jordan died of a gunshot wound, and, the year before, one of his teammates was arrested on a rape charge. These outrages are no longer commanding headlines. Now they’re a dime a dozen, Mushnick said.
Mushnick zeroed in on several classless NFL players and disgusting behavior without even mentioning Cleveland’s Myles Garrett's 2019 conking of Pittsburgh’s bare-headed Mason Rudolph on the noggin with his helmet. Without focusing on the repulsive Black Lives Matter protests.
Professional thugs coming under Mushnick’s fire included the Ravens’ Marcus Peters, the Rams’ Jalen Ramsey and the Giants’ Golden Tate. He’s being kind because the NFL’s criminal list is actually very lengthy.
Football coaches and broadcasters are enabling the ugly sideshows, too. TV broadcasters are screaming for reform while pandering at the same time. During the Armed Forces riot, ESPN studio host Matt Barrie said, “And look at this! Afterwards there was a fight! Love it! That’s what makes it special.”
When Peters played for the Rams in 2018, he was fined for grabbing his crotch during a game. His coach, Sean McVay, credited him with creating “a light-hearted moment.” “Yep, one for the whole family!” Mushnick exclaimed.