the national interest

The NFL Is Losing Core Audience of Racist Right-Wing Talk-Radio Hosts, Complains Rush Limbaugh

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Rush Limbaugh argues that the NFL’s response to President Trump’s demand that it fire players who kneel during the national anthem will doom it to irrelevance. The effect Limbaugh identifies has not yet shown up in the television ratings or game attendance, and there is little sign that fans followed Trump’s request to walk out of the stadium if players protested the national anthem. Instead, Limbaugh draws his conclusions from a close study of one very statistically representative professional football fan: Rush Limbaugh.

“In many ways I think that I am fairly typical,” he told his audience. “I am smack-dab in the middle of the targeted marketing the NFL does to acquire and hold an audience, right smack-dab in the middle of it.”

It is true that, as an older white male, Limbaugh represents a major portion of the NFL fan base. It is also true that NFL fans lean slightly right of center. However, there are some aspects in which Limbaugh may be atypical. Unlike the median American football fan, he is a fanatical right-wing ideologue who works in Republican politics professionally. Limbaugh has also been fired by ESPN for being racist, which a majority of NFL fans have not.

“I’m trying to use myself here as what I think is a pretty right-down-the-middle example of the way people are going to react,” says Limbaugh. “There’s no way Trump loses in this. You may think so, but there’s no way he does.” The people have spoken!

Limbaugh: Racist Talk-Radio Hosts Are NFL’s Core Audience