Journalist says there’s a ‘swamp in football’

Football and politics might not be so different after all, according to longtime political journalist Mark Leibovich. 

Leibovich, a chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, told Hill.TV during an interview that aired Friday that there’s just as much corruption in football as there is in Washington.

"It’s just as much as a thick swamp of money and ego and B.S. in that whole world as there is in our world in Washington, where everyone sort of feels in the same game and you go to the same meetings, and parties and dinners and Super Bowls and drafts in this case and you just see the same usual suspects over and over and over again,” Leibovich told Hill.TV correspondent Jamal Simmons on “Rising.”

Leibovich is on tour promoting his new book, "The Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times,” which explores one of America’s biggest cultural forces: pro football and the big business that drives it.

The author added that like political reporters, sports journalists can often times perpetuate this culture. 

"I call it the 'nugget industrial complex' because like so much political journalism, it's about the tweet, it's about the little nugget of information...same thing in football, there's all these little nugget meisters, these little busy bodies running around trying to get the latest information," he said.

The author also cast doubt on whether NFL league owners are colluding to keep NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick out of the league following his controversial decision to take a knee during national anthem, saying time will tell but added that there’s a lot of in-fighting and competition in the league, especially among owners.

“They’re extremely clubby but many of them hate each other, they’re extremely suspicious of each other – it’s a lot like the U.S. Senate, they’re all keeping an eye on each other and probably wouldn’t hesitate to back bite each other,” the journalist told Hill.TV.

But Leibovich added that like Washington, football has long been in for a cultural reckoning amid ongoing NFL player protests.

In July, the league announced that it would freeze its new policy requiring players to remain standing during the national anthem, and is still trying to find a resolution with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA). 

“I knew there was a lot more I wanted to dive into and I talked to enough people – enough owners, enough players, the commissioner himself where I knew that this was a world like Washington a few years ago looked like it was sort of on the edge of some kind of reckoning and I sort of wanted to be there when it happened,” he said.

— Tess Bonn