American Sports Fans Leave Covid Fear Behind

13 Sep 2021

CLAY: I think that we have reached a real sort of, I would say, significant turning point in the nation as a whole. And what I would say is you have — and I’m among them every single week. I want to say in Fayetteville, I met a ton of listeners who were there for the Texas-Arkansas game. Incredible experience.

I’m gonna be, by the way, in Gainesville, Florida, this weekend for the Alabama game against Florida. In a couple of weeks, Buck is gonna be with me for his first-ever college football game. We’re going down to Tuscaloosa for the Ole Miss-Alabama game which looks like it’s gonna be incredible. But then also, in addition to being in Texas-Arkansas I flew back.

My 10-year-old is about to turn 11 on Wednesday, and what he wanted to do was go to an NFL game — the local team, the Tennessee Titans here — with his 10-year-old, 11-year-old buddies. So I took a big group of kids to that football game. And I’ve been to a bunch of college football games. I’ve now been to an NFL stadium.

The crowd began as the flyover was occurring and as they honored September 11th victims — this was obviously on September 12th — the crowd spontaneously began to chant, “U! S! A! U! S! A!” I tweeted out that video. You can go check it out. What I am seeing all over this country with college football fans and with NFL fans is, they’re showing up selling out their stadiums, not wearing masks, living a hundred percent their normal life.

Tailgating with friends, hugging, high-fiving, celebrating. Sometimes your team plays poorly. Reacting in the same way that you would before. I can’t get over the credible dichotomy between the way the blue check losers in the Joe Biden administration and their anti-science advisers behave, demanding that we have a vaccine mandate, and the way what I would say real Americans across the landscape are actually behaving.

Buck, I’m curious, ’cause you went to the U.S. Open for the tennis final, and they made a big deal about how they’re gonna require vaccine passports to enter and everything else. Virtually nowhere in football are they requiring them. But what was your experience going through to get into that arena to watch that event?

BUCK: So I love going to the U.S. Open. It’s one of the only sporting events that I make a real effort for, that I’ve made a real effort in the past to go to. I’ve been going since I was a kid. I mean, I used to go to NBA games too and the occasional Giants and Jets game, but that feels like eons ago now. But I’m going to the final between Medvedev, the Russian, and Novak Djokovic, a Serb.

Who is arguably, if he wins one more major — the U.S. Open, Wimbledon, French Open, Australian Open — the greatest tennis player of all time, at least by major wins, which is usually how people judge it. And I show up there — and just spoiler alert in case you didn’t see it (which I’m sure anybody who cares about tennis did), Djokovic got spanked. I mean, it was bad.

He had a tough time, three-set loss on center court. But as we’re going in, Clay, they’re yelling, “You must have your vaccine passport visible and your ID in your hand! You must!” They’re yelling this, and if you’ve never been there, there’s this big walkway with thousands and thousands of people just funneled toward the main grounds and then Arthur Ashe Stadium.

After they’re yelling at the top of their lungs, the people yelling this — as you’re getting closer — then they had someone to just wave and give the, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.” I am not kidding. I could have held up a soiled napkin. I could have had in my hands —

CLAY: And they would have waved you through, yeah.

BUCK: — a piece of junk mail saying I just won a million dollars or something and waved that and the security guards. By the way, I’m not making fun of the security guards.

CLAY: You’re not blaming the security guards.

BUCK: I’m with the security guards on this. I’m with them in that they’re not gonna do this. This is absurd. It’s gonna slow everything down. So I appreciate it. I want to high five the people who weren’t even really checking. But it is an extended finger in the center of the hand, so to speak, to all the people that are going, “Oh, we need vaccine passports everywhere!”

If you’re gonna do things like this, it is truly cosmetic theater. It obviously means nothing — and, Clay, we were outside. The main match is outside. This stuff doesn’t spread outside, not in any meaningful way. We can’t be held responsible for people that are afraid of lightning strikes all the time. I’m sorry. We just can’t live our lives that way.

CLAY: Well, and I think it becomes increasingly difficult to argue in favor of any kind of restriction when Americans are turning on their television sets. Even if you are among the covid fear porn purveyors or one of the people who’s still terrified that you’re gonna die of covid, when you’re watching a full stadium and they finally have done away with the absurdity of coaches on the sidelines having to wear masks. Or anybody having to wear those ridiculous shields, there is now no indication whatsoever that covid ever existed as it pertains college football and the NFL when you actually are in the stadium and you’re watching the games.

And, Buck, the great masses of football fans out there — this is spreading virally now — the amount of chants of “F Joe Biden” that are occurring all over the country, including in the 9/11 celebratory Mets-Yankees baseball series. We put together a medley — don’t worry, they’re bleeped — of fans in crowds starting viral F Joe Biden chants.

CROWD: (Bleep) Joe Biden. (Bleep) Joe Biden. (Bleep) Joe Biden. (Bleep) Joe Biden.

CLAY: Does this sound, Buck, like the most popular president according to electoral math, the most votes of all time?

BUCK: More votes than Barack Obama.

CLAY: Yeah.

BUCK: Yes, of course.

CLAY: Eighty-one million people.

BUCK: I think what you have is finally people… There’s a little bit of a turning point that is occurring here, tipping point that’s happening where you have people are getting to the point of fatigue with the stupidity where it’s becoming more obvious.

And here’s how I say that. ‘Cause, Clay, you get to spend more time in red state America; I get to spend more time in blue state America, right? And blue state America, it has been this cultural and social signifier of your intelligence to double mask —

CLAY: Yes.

BUCK: — indoors, outdoors, to stand away from people when you’re in line and all these crazy things, to sit in the circle in the park that they’ve made for you. And I mean they actually draw a circle on the ground —

CLAY: Yeah, I’ve seen the pictures. It’s crazy.

BUCK: Yeah, they’ve got all this; this was a signifier. Now I am seeing people who granted there’s 700,000 Republicans or 800,000 Republicans in New York City. But I am seeing people that are just like, “I’m not gonna do this anymore.” I was on the subway going out to the game, subway back and forth, U.S. Open. Masks required on the subway. Of course I didn’t wear a mask, ’cause I’m such a rebel.

But I didn’t wear a mask, and I’d say about four or five other guys in the subway car. Interesting, it was always guys. I did not see any unmasked females in the subway. Only guys. Well, maybe that’s ’cause if somebody gets aggressive with you and you’re on the subway, a guy might feel more comfortable handling the “Hey, buddy, back off” thing.

But people are starting to say this. My coffee shop on my corner: “Masks even for the vaccinated,” it says. Required. Half the people and the staff not wearing masks. I think there is real fatigue with Fauciism that’s settling in, Clay, in blue states, right? It’s been in Nashville; it’s been in Tennessee and Texas and Florida. But I think even the libs — some of them. Some of them, not a majority, but like a good chunk of them are tired of this bull crap.

CLAY: Yeah. And look, Buck. I think it’s gratifying, right, my team got their ass kicked on Sunday. The Titans got destroyed by the Arizona Cardinals. But, man, I’ll tell you being in a stadium that was full again and being able to look around and not see a single person wearing a mask anywhere in my entire section.

Not seeing a single person lining up to get your tickets scanned, to come into the stadium and seeing that also taking place all over the country, right? Whether you’re a Giants fan in New York or whether you’re a 49er fan in San Francisco, places that you would anticipate fans would be more apprehensive and nervous and there might be more of a mask-related requirement. Now, maybe Lord Fauci is gonna weigh in here ’cause he couldn’t have been happy with all the NFL teams joining all the college football teams.

BUCK: I wanted to ask, “Why would he pick on the college football teams, Clay?” But I would also say, though, you know, if you were at the philharmonic or a soy milk-tasting contest — I’m just saying — you would see a lot more masks than you will at an NFL game.

CLAY: I agree, and I think that’s the answer of why Fauci’s picking on football, because football fans, I think in general, are the heartbeat of America. They’re middle-of-the-road people who are sane but also not fearful. I mean, if you’re gonna go watch guys beat up on each other playing football — hypermasculine sport — men and women, you’re probably not the kind of person who is fearful of what might happen to you on a day-to-day basis.

BUCK: You can break an arm. You can break your back. You can get paralyzed playing it. Football comes with risks.

CLAY: Football is far more dangerous to players than covid.

BUCK: And yet the people that are there watching, they understand that this is it. Everyone there on the field wants to be there and —

CLAY: Yes.

BUCK: — wants to be involved in this sport. And look. I’m hoping, Clay, ’cause at least right now they keep arguing things that are always in contradiction with each other. You know, “The vaccines work so well.” “Oh, my God, unless everyone around me is vaccinated, I’m gonna get so sick and die even if I’m 30 years old.” I’m starting to see people are understanding that this can’t continue as it is.

The only thing that would change that trajectory, in my opinion — it isn’t even really a case thing — is if we see the hospitalizations and the deaths start to go up considerably again, which would just be an indicator of not just vaccine waning in efficacy but effectively failing after a time period. And that’s the big question mark that we have to see how it plays out in the wintertime.


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