The Rushmore Report: Al Michaels Made This Joke During NFL Game – No One Is Laughing

A number of NFL fans were outraged Sunday night, but not because the players were kneeling during the national anthem. This week, their displeasure was directed at NBC sportscaster Al Michaels, who made an off-color joke during a game between the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos. It happened in the third quarter. And what the iconic sportscaster said has brought widespread condemnation.

Michaels threw out this bit of commentary: “Let’s face it, the Giants are coming off a worse week than Harvey Weinstein, and they’re up by 14 points.”

Later in the game, Michaels  apologized for the joke. “Sorry I made a reference earlier before. I tried to be a little flip about somebody obviously very much in the news all over the country,” he said. “It was not meant in that manner. So, my apologies. And we’ll just leave it at that.”

But that didn’t stop viewers from tearing into the sportscaster on Twitter.

Commentator Mike Freeman wrote, “Did Al Michaels just really say that?” Doug Farrar added, “Al Michaels is probably the best play-by-play guy in history. But that was a big, big lapse in judgment.”

Was this really a “big lapse in judgment”? Or are people overreacting – as is so often the case these days? Time will tell. What is certain, however, is that we live in a time when people are judged more by the words they say than by the actions they take.

In the future, expect Al Michaels to stick with his script.

About the Author

Erika Haas is a new contributor for Townhall and a recent graduate of Syracuse University.

The Rushmore Report: How Many Americans Can Name the Three Branches of Government?

I’ve long been convinced that an under-explored element of our deteriorating national discourse and paralyzing partisan tribalism is a creeping public ignorance about fundamental civics. How can we keep this republic if a rising percentage of its citizenry is unfamiliar with the core functions and structures of said republic? Yet, recent surveys confirm an amazing ignorance on the part of the American people.

A recent public opinion survey shows that 37 percent could not name a single component of the First Amendment. “Free speech” seems like it would be a layup, but only half knew it was a part of the First Amendment. Fewer than half knew the Amendment covered the freedom of religion and press.

Only 26 percent can name the three branches of government (executive, judicial, and legislative). For the record, conservatives are much more likely to know the branches of government than liberals.

Amazingly, there are more Americans who can name none of the three branches than those who can name all three.

America, we have a problem.

About the Author

Guy Benson writes for TownHall.

The Rushmore Report: Jerry Jones’ Ultimatum to His Players on the National Anthem

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has given his players an ultimatum regarding the national anthem. If a player chooses to disrespect the flag, he will not play in the game – and it’s as simple as that. “If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play,” he said, following his team’s loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday. “Understand? If a player disrespects the flag, then he will not play. Period.”

Jones’ comments came after being asked about Vice President Mike Pence, who left the Indianapolis Colts game with the San Francisco 49ers when more than 20 players from the 49ers knelt during the national anthem.

“I know this, we cannot – in the NFL in any way give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,” he said. “We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind that the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag. So we’re clear.”

Two weeks ago, Jones knelt arm in arm with his players before the national anthem at a game against the Arizona Cardinals. But he said respect for the flag is more important than any issues regarding team unity.

“We as a team are very much on the page together,” Jones said. “We made our expression. I’m very supportive of the team, but under no circumstances will the Dallas Cowboys – I don’t care what happens – under no circumstances will we as an organization, coaches, players, not support and stand and recognize and honor the flag. Period.”

He continued, “There is no question here if it comes between looking non-supportive of our players and of each other or creating the impression that you’re disrespecting the flag, we will be non-supportive of each other.”

“We will not disrespect the flag. Period.”

About the Author

Leah Barkoukis writes for TownHall.

The Rushmore Report: Twitter Bans Promotion of ‘One Man One Woman’ Book, Calls it ‘Hate’

On July 2, 56-year-old pastor Craig Stellpflug paid for Twitter ads to promote a tweet he posted about his new book titled One Man One Woman: God’s Original Design for Marriage. Stellpflug, a retired medical professional with a pastoral career, told The Christian Post that he received an email response from Twitter telling him his book could not be promoted on Twitter, as it “promotes hate.”

The tweet the author sought to post read, “One Man One Woman is about God’s original design for marriage carried from Adam and Eve in the garden to this day.”

Specifically, the ad was blocked because Twitter prohibits “hate content.”

Stellpflug said his book is “definitely not an anti-gay book” and that it is “not about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transexual movement.” He continued, “I suppose if I named my book One Man and Another Man Together in Marriage, it would soar past the critics and actually garner praise as some clarion call for peace and unity.”

He continued, “My book is not hate! It highlights conservative Christian marriage values – therefore it is ‘hate.’ Have we stooped so low in our country that my freedom of speech is squelched because I promote my Christian beliefs? I’ll tell you where the hate is. It is flaunted against the morality by the few as a tool to promote liberal agendas.”

About the Author

Samuel Smith is a writer for The Christian Post.

The Birth of McDonald’s

McDonald’s was born 115 years ago today. Sort of. Actually, Ray Kroc was born October 5, 1902. But it was Kroc who made hamburger history.

At age 15, eager to be an ambulance corpsman in World War I, Kroc joined the Red Cross, lying about his age. Before he completed his training, however, the war ended, whereupon he worked for decades in various jobs. In 1954, as a salesman for a milk-shake machine company, the middle-aged Kroc visited a California restaurant that used an assembly-line approach to the preparation of food and offered just a few menu items.

The Multimixer salesman then sat down with the owners of the hamburger joint – the McDonald brothers – and hammered out a franchise agreement. The next year, he founded McDonald’s System, Inc., which by 1958 had sold its hundred-millionth hamburger. When Kroc died in 1984, there were more than 7,500 McDonald’s restaurants around the world.

Ray Kroc is a testament to what one man can do. So remember him the next time you order a quarter-pounder with cheese. One man. One franchise. World history.

The Rushmore Report: How NFL Players Should Respond to the National Anthem

This past Sunday, more people tuned into NFL games to see how the players would act during the National Anthem than to watch the games. My natural response to these players who won’t stand for the Anthem is to say, “Go find a better place to live, where you can make insane amounts of money to play a game.” But rather than address their feelings toward America, let me offer a better plan for dissenters to express themselves.

We will always have dissenters. And while it’s true that these 25-year-old men have little concept, for the most part, of the freedoms they enjoy and the price that was paid to secure that freedom, the dissent will continue. So, rather than trying to convince the unconvinceable, let’s offer them a better way to express themselves.

The irony is that these players – about 200, or 12 percent of the league – are kneeling during the anthem to protest the division they see coming from President Trump. In the process, they are causing more division. So their answer to division is more division.

So here’s my plan for dissenters . . .

1. Never compromise yourself.

If you oppose the direction of the President or the country, that’s your right. No one is asking you to compromise your positions. You have a fundamental right of dissent.

2. Learn the difference between nationality and specific leaders and positions.

To stand for the National Anthem does not mean you agree with every leader or position of the country. That has never been the requirement or expectation for those standing in honor of the flag. You are kneeling to express the fact that you disagree with President Trump, war, or whatever. Join the crowd. If the only ones who stood were those who agreed with everything the country is doing, I would have quit standing the day abortion became the law of the land.

3. Stand for the National Anthem.

You say you love your country. Show it.

4. Find other ways to show your dissent.

Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the anthem, while he did not vote. That mutes his voice. It should. If players want to make a difference, there are far better ways to do so than by disrespecting the flag. You want to make a difference? Do what J. J. Watt did. Make a difference. Anyone can take a knee for three minutes. It’s what you do when you get back up that counts. Don’t make a mockery of your dissent by protesting the direction of the country, then not voting. Stand up. Speak out. Give to a worthy cause. Visit a youth center. Go to the Boy’s Club.

Here’s the bottom line. If NFL players want to make a difference in this country and its leadership which they find so reprehensible, they will make a far greater impact by being known for what they are for, rather than by what they are against.

Anyone can take a knee. It takes real character to take a stand.

The Rushmore Report: America’s Most Dangerous City

The FBI has just released its annual list of America’s most dangerous cities. The city on the top of the list may surprise you. (It’s not Chicago.) The top five cities have two things in common. The city on top isn’t happy about it, as they’ve been there before. But the statistics don’t lie. They leave that to the city leaders who pretend they don’t have a problem. So here’s the list . . . five cities you may want to avoid on your next vacation.

Detroit has regained the title as the most violent big city in America, witnessing more murders last year than Los Angeles, which has four times as many people, according to new FBI crime figures released Monday.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig offered this defense: “Just because it’s coming out of the FBI” doesn’t mean it’s accurate. (He offered internal data to bolster his claim.)

Mayor Mike Duggan declined comment.

FBI data concludes that violent crime in Detroit has increased each of the last two years, and is up 15.7 percent in just the last year. A total of 13,705 violent crimes – murders, rapes, assaults, and robberies – were reported last year.

Rounding out the top five most violent cities are: St. Louis, Memphis, Baltimore, and Rockford. While St. Louis ranks second in overall violence, it is #1 in murders.

Nationwide, in 2016 there were 1.2 million violent crimes. Murder and manslaughter offenses increased 8.6 percent in one year. Also up were aggravated assault, rape, robbery, and property crimes, of which 7,919,035 were reported. A total of 10.7 arrests were made, excluding traffic crimes.

As for the two things the five most violent cities have in common: they all have strict gun laws and are led by Democratic mayors.

Hmm …

About the Author

The material and data for this column were provided by Tresa Baldas, who is a writer for USA Today. The closing sentence was my own commentary.

gun laws

democratic mayors

Little Rock’s High School Integration – 60 Years Ago Today

On this day in history, 1957, under escort by the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, nine black students entered all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Three weeks earlier, Governor Orval Faubus had surrounded the school with state National Guard troops to prevent execution of a federal court order – that the school achieve racial integration. Blocked at the door, the students endured intense verbal abuse from a white mob.

At one point, Elizabeth Eckford was surrounded and threatened with lynching. After a tense standoff, President Dwight Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard and also sent in the paratroopers to enforce the court order. After Eisenhower’s action, the Little Rock Nine entered the school, where some white students made additional verbal and physical assaults on the newcomers. Melba Pattillo had acid thrown in her eyes, and Eckford was pushed down a flight of stairs. The male students in the group were subjected to more conventional beatings.

Change never comes easily. As a son of the South, I am embarrassed for segregation – and the reluctance to integrate. When I was a child growing up in Houston, we still had “colored drinking fountains” at the Houston Zoo. My junior high school had just eight blacks. And fights were a common affair.

In today’s culture, it is easy to see how far we still have to go. But when we look back a bit, we can rejoice to see how far we have already come.

The Rushmore Report: Ben Shapiro – Five Things I Learned at Berkeley

So, I visited Berkeley last night [last Thursday], and it was terrific. The students were engaged, and the police were finally allowed to do their jobs. Antifa stayed away. Sure, there were protesters – lots of them. That’s great! It’s a free country, and they’re free to say whatever stupid nonsense they want to. But overall, this was a big moment for Berkeley, which had been blockaded by violent leftists for nearly a year: a civil discussion involving a dissenting, conservative voice, allowed by the administration and defended by law enforcement.

Even at Berkeley, the First Amendment still lives.

Here are a few things I learned last night.

1. When the police are allowed to do their jobs, Antifa is powerless.

We’ve watched Antifa fight free speech in cities ranging from Portland to Seattle to Sacramento to Dallas to Berkeley. We’ve watched them get violent. But the biggest problem, by far, as been the unwillingness of local authorities to allow the police to do what they need to do. Last night, hundreds of police were brought in to protect our event, at a cost of $600,000. That’s because of Black Bloc and Antifa. But neither held sway, because the police quickly arrested anyone with a weapon or a mask, and prevented violence in the crowd outside. Good. Law and order is a precondition to civil society. It’s just sad so much law enforcement was necessary for a college speech.

2. Many students are infected by the microaggression mentality.

The notion of microaggressions suggests that if I attack your politics, I’m attacking your identity – and that such political attacks are a form of “aggression” equivalent to violence. Many doltish students stood outside and chanted just that.

3. Many on the left are willing to label anyone a white supremacist.

I, needless to say, am not a white supremacist. I devoted several minutes of my speech last night to ripping into white supremacism and the alt-right. I’ve devoted much of the last two years to doing so as well. That didn’t stop Leftish students from posting a banner opposite the building where I was speaking. It read: “We say NO to your white supremacist _______.” How far will some on the Left go in this direction? You see, I’m not really even Jewish. It’s just an enormous ruse. I’ve been undercover for some 33 years. The kippa is just a disguise to throw those wily actual Jews off the scent.

4. Students can handle it.

Yesterday, we had a bunch of people who disagreed with me who attended the lecture. That was great, and I personally thanked them for their attendance. That apparently didn’t stop a few from feeling supremely hurt by things they didn’t even have the stomach to hear. Overall, though, students are just fine. And all the administrative tut-tutting over the sensitivities of snowflakes is generally unnecessary.

5. Conservatism needs to be heard on campus.

The administration didn’t do a great job of ensuring that those who wanted to hear my speech could do so. They heavily restricted the venue, and then prevented those in the standby line from attending. The next step in ensuring free speech is ensuring that events are better handled by the administration so that those who want to hear an opposing view – and there were literally thousands who wanted to come – can do so.

Overall, the event was a great success. All the Leftist insanity merely brought a spotlight to conservatism, and to the necessity for free speech. Thanks so much to the Young America’s Foundation, to the Berkeley College Republicans – and more than anyone, the besieged police officers – who made it possible. This is what America is all about.

About the Author

Ben Shapiro is the voice of The Daily Wire, author of the most popular conservative blog in the world, and one of the most sought after young conservative speakers in America.

The Rushmore Report: ESPN Host Calls Trump a White Supremacist – Will She Face Same Consequences as Schilling?

ESPN just can’t help getting tied up in political discussion. Sportscaster co-host Jemele Hill started a debate on Twitter about potential Senate candidate Kid Rock, which somehow concluded with her calling President Trump a white supremacist. “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself with other white supremacists,” she wrote. Will she face the same consequences as conservative Curt Schilling, who espoused conservative views?

While Hill has yet to face consequences, ESPN anchors who have voiced conservative viewpoints have been shown the exit with barely a blink, some social media users noted.

Take Curt Schilling, for example. The former MLB pitcher turned ESPN commentator is a Donald Trump supporter who decided to speak out about the controversial transgender bathroom law in North Carolina.

After a quick review, ESPN informed the public that they believed Schilling’s behavior was “unacceptable” and that they had terminated his contract.

They have yet to make a similar announcement about Ms. Hill.

Scott Petrowski wrote, “Unless she’s fired tomorrow [she wasn’t], ESPN is admitting either they selectively enforce rules or that they don’t report on sports.”

ESPN may or may not be guilty of partisan politics in their hiring/firing practices, but there’s another moral to the story. No matter whether you’re liberal or conservative, if you’re a sports correspondent, please stick to the topic at hand.

About the Author

Courtney O’Brien writes for TownHall.