Over the weekend, an NFL preseason game between the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots was suspended in the fourth quarter after two players collided head first on the field, leaving one laying motionless. He was carted off the field on a stretcher and transported to a local hospital for observation before being discharged and traveling back to Foxborough, MA, with his teammates.
The decision to cancel the remainder of the game did not sit well with some sports fans. Jason Whitlock, host of BlazeTV’s Fearless, tweeted that football “died” in Green Bay on Saturday. “Football’s death wasn’t acute,” he said. “It was a slow, painful death that paralleled the rise of American feminism and the revolt against all things masculine. It’s really a damn shame.”
On Tuesday’s show, Whitlock joined Megyn to discuss what transpired, why he blames the “feminization” of the NFL and society at large for the situation, and what that means for men.
What Happened on the Field
With some 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, New England rookie cornerback Isaiah Bolden collided head-on with his own teammate, linebacker Calvin Munson, as they both attempted to tackle Packers wide receiver Malik Heath.
Bolden fell to the ground and did not move after the hit. As he was treated by medical personnel, members of both teams gathered on field – including head coaches Matt LaFleur and Bill Belichick. After a lengthy deliberation and sign-off from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the teams agreed to suspend the game.
Later that evening, the Patriots announced that Bolden had feeling in all of his extremities and was being held overnight at a local hospital in Green Bay for observation. He was subsequently discharged in time to fly home with the team. He posted a message on X (formerly known as Twitter) that he appreciated the prayers and was “more excited to be back with the guys.”
In January, a late season matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals was suspended and eventually canceled after 25-year-old Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field.
‘Safety Over Everything’
When speaking to the media after calling the contest, Belichick said “the big picture overrode the game.” LaFleur echoed the sentiment. “That’s a scary situation, one that you never want to see in our game,” he said. “I thought it was in the best interests for both teams [to suspend the game].”
As a former college player who has long covered the NFL, Whitlock said Bolden’s collision is “commonplace” in the sport. “We’ve been continuing with games for 70, 80 years despite injuries like that,” he explained. “There was an NFL football player [Chuck Hughes] who died on the field [in October 1971] and the game went on. Now, we’re in this new era of choosing safety over everything.”
He explained there is an important distinction between men and women that generally make the former more daring and the latter more cautious. “Men take risks and that has been our nature,” he said. “Women choose safety, and I think it’s an instinctive thing. When you have a womb, when a child develops inside you, you crave safety more than taking risks, more than freedom.”
Megyn admitted she sees that dynamic reflected in her own home. “As a mother of two boys and a girl, I know this is true and I know that I should be encouraging them to take risks,” she shared. “It’s so hard because especially when they’re little – my boys are 13 and 10 – all you want to do is protect them… our whole job is to keep them well.”
Her husband, Doug, meanwhile, is much more encouraging of exploration. “In our family, sure enough, my husband is more like, ‘They’re fine. Relax. You can do it,’” she said. “And I do think that’s the way nature intended it. I think we’re both biologically programmed more like that, at least when it comes to our children.”
While it might still resonate with some, Whitlock said those lines between men and women have blurred. “As the country has become more feminized and more matriarchal, men are now averse to risk and we’re starting to choose safety at all costs,” he explained. “And so they’ve normalized something in football now where, ‘Oh my god, there is a bad injury on the field. We better shut this down. No one can play.’”
A Reflection of Society
In Whitlock’s view, the NFL adopting this “softer, safety-first mentality” is “not healthy” and “not what men are supposed to do,” but it is a “reflection” of a society. “When you become secular and you have no idea what happens to you in the afterlife, you value this life more than you do life with God,” he explained. “You’ve now developed an unnatural fear of death or an unhealthy fear of death that will stop you.”
He believes that is not most men’s natural inclination but rather something that has been learned. “Our nature to take risks is actually a healthy thing and needs to be protected because that’s how we correct a lot of our problems,” he said. He pointed to some historical examples. “We would have never ended slavery… stormed the beaches of Normandy… got up on skyscrapers and fell to our deaths in search of progress… with this current mentality,” Whitlock noted. Instead of understanding that the “consequences of progress” could include injury or even death, he said “everyone is afraid to die.”
Megyn agreed. “Society is moving more toward ‘protect, protect, protect,’ ‘safe spaces’ as opposed to assess, take smart risks,” she said. “I don’t know what to do. As women, do we need to overcorrect? Do we need to check our instinct to be the safety mongers?”
The answer, Whitlock said, involves both sexes respecting their own tendencies. “[Women] shouldn’t do anything – men just need to be men and… draw some boundaries here,” he concluded. “When you start creating a culture where everything is evaluated on how safe it is… men [need to] stand up and be leaders and say, ‘I’m not going for this.’”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Whitlock by tuning in to episode 612 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.