National Champions (2021) Movie Script

Get your popcorn ready,
'cause this is about
to be a good one.
Down here in New Orleans,
you know we know how to party.
And around here,
we like to say,
"Laissez les
bons temps rouler."
The wait is over.
A sold-out Superdome
is the stage.
After a year of partially
filled or empty stadiums,
this should be
absolutely electric.
College football's Snickers
National Title game
has finally arrived,
and it is the matchup
of our dreams.
We have the 13-1 Cougars
going against
the undefeated Wolves,
and this is where
legends are made.
[Nick Wright] Wolves quarterback,
the Heisman Trophy winner LeMarcus James.
the best quarterback
to come into the NFL
since Patrick Mahomes.
[reporter] And you know who
agrees with me on that? Miami.
'Cause they're poised to
take him number one overall,
and I'm hearing for about
$35 million guaranteed.
for the Cougars,
you have running back
Cecil Burgess,
AKA the Haitian Hammer.
He's gonna run for,
eh, I don't know,
200 to 400 yards
every game.
That's how he set
the Big 12
all-time single-season
rushing record.
But the people
who really build
the college football
dynasties are the coaches.
We are not talking enough
about Wolves coach James Lazor.
Everybody knows the guy is
an elite program builder,
one of the best coaches
we've seen,
but he has never
won the big game.
Monday night is about etching
his name in the history books.
[Wright] You have
legacies on the line.
You have controversies
surrounding the sport as a whole.
Monday cannot get here
soon enough
for the college football
national title game.
[person coughs]
[person sniffs]
[tapping continues
[exhales forcefully]
[person] You hear that?
- The poppin'?
- [bones popping]
Was an elbow-to-helmet with
Michigan State's Will backer.
I-right, simple, 68 blast.
- [football taps]
- Wham.
Darn thing
ain't been right since.
[LeMarcus] Lead.
It was 1-41 lead.
Hmm, pretty sure...
If you were on the second level,
then you were lead blocking.
Michigan State ran a Chicago
53 with a robber in the box.
I mean, no way you got to
the Will back on the blast.
Could've been lead.
[LeMarcus sighs]
"The path
of the righteous man
is beset on all sides
by the inequities
of the selfish
and the tyranny
of evil men."
"Blessed is he who,
in the name of good will,
shepherds the weak through
the valley of darkness."
"For he is
his brother's keeper
and the finder
of lost children."
"And I will strike them down
with vengeance and furious anger
those who attempt to poison
and destroy my brothers."
[both] "And you will know
my name is the Lord,
for I lay my finger
upon thee."
[both imitate gunshots, grunt]
[gasps dramatically]
[both laughing]
You stupid, man.
That was an Oscar-winning
Ah, shit, ol' Quentin
sure can write 'em.
Yeah, he can. [chuckles]
Hey, you turn
your location services off?
Yeah. On the iPad too.
We can still call
this whole thing off.
Chalk it up
as a research project.
Get some grad credits
out of it.
Hell, I think we'd be
halfway to our master's.
Bow your head, man.
[grunts softly]
[LeMarcus sighs]
God, give us the wisdom to
see the path we must take,
and give us the courage
to brave it.
Make of us a light.
- Amen.
- Amen.
You're getting better
with that.
We're live.
We'd best
get a move-on then.
Coach's gonna become a heat-seeking
missile looking for you.
I just hope he understands
this ain't about him.
[commentator on TV]
Burgess, able to break away,
into the secondary.
- Breaks another tackle...
- Stop right there, Lukie.
- [keyboard clacks]
- Right there.
This is what I'm talking about.
Simple stretch sweep to 34.
Lukie, zoom on 34.
There. Right ankle dominant cut
around the left corner.
The best running back
in the country
is turning the corner
on an inside ankle lead.
Why? 34's left ankle
ain't right.
It hasn't been
since week ten.
Okay, real quick.
Cecil scores on this play, right?
Yeah. Eighty-yard sprint,
where he outruns a free safety.
Yeah, against Vanderbilt,
I could outrun a free safety.
So here's what we do.
If we move Cornelius to the middle,
we pinch in the OLBs,
we got our safeties thinking
run support first.
Cornelius will
eat his lunch,
and we will shut 34 down
for the night.
I got you.
Boys. Booster club dinner.
Five minutes.
- Yeah, yeah, they can wait.
- No, they cannot wait.
They're the team owners.
You're the guest of honor.
Luke can babysit the film,
right, baby?
Tell you what. You can
come back here tonight.
You guys can touch and watch
film all night long. How's that?
Seventy-two hours till
the national goddamn title game,
and I got to parade around
in this dog-and-pony show.
Heavy is the head that wears
the crown, my Lord.
All right, look, I gotta
go get dressed, man,
get ready for this dog-and-pony
show, as you call it.
Seriously, you're not going
to back me up here at all?
No, I'm not.
I just do your defense.
That's your own offense.
That's your life offense.
- [laughs]
- Defense right here.
I made these short and
sweet, like you like it.
I suggest you do the same
with your jokes.
- My jokes are hilarious, and people love them.
- Yeah. Mm-hmm.
Personal phone.
Give me the personal phone.
Luke gets the business phone.
Give him
the business phone.
Anything comes in,
you know where to find me.
You need to relax.
Let's enjoy the mountaintop.
I'll enjoy the mountaintop when we are
at the mountaintop. We're not there yet.
Let's go. Can we go?
Yes. Okay.
Lukie, set all staff
for 7:00 a.m.
Bed check on time.
On time.
Will do.
Bed check. Let's go!
[indistinct chattering]
- Hey, guys, get in y'all room, man.
- [knock on door]
- What up, Scotty?
- Yo, what up, Orlando?
- Is Walton in there too?
- Yeah, he in the bathroom.
Let's get some rest.
- Talk to you later, man.
- For sure.
- [laughing, chattering]
- [bottles clink]
- Hey, Coach, check them back there for me.
- Sure.
Yo, LJ, Em.
It's Scotty. Open up.
Come on, guys,
stop playing. Open up.
[foil crinkling]
[cell phone ringing]
That's bed check.
Yo, Scotty.
I'm already asleep, man.
Yeah. Sunday's snoring
like an ox.
Can you hear him?
[imitates snoring]
He broke his nose
so many times,
once he gets on his
back, I'm screwed.
Yeah. 8:00 a.m. sprints
in the bubble.
Got it.
- He buy it?
- Hell, yeah.
Thank God Snickers sponsored this
game and not some insurance company.
You hungry?
- [laughter]
- [Coach Lazor] I'm telling you,
I know they don't have boosters
this good looking in the Big 12.
- [all laughing]
- I know the Cougars don't look this good.
We have built this program
into a juggernaut.
Two consecutive
conference championships,
two consecutive
play-off berths,
- and now...
- [audience applauding]
...for the first time
in program history,
we are headed to our first
national title game.
All of you in this room,
you have supported,
pushed and prodded,
and sometimes much,
much worse.
- [laughing]
- But I appreciate it.
That's how you grow.
And I appreciate the opportunity
to have presided over this,
to help young men
become champions
on and off
the football field.
Go, Pack!
- [music playing on speakers]
- [indistinct chattering]
You're seriously pressing
your bet again?
Half a million dollars?
Come on, Roger, you know me.
It's for the title.
Go big or go home,
and I ain't fucking leaving.
Well, the apple sure didn't
fall far from the tree with you.
God bless
your daddy's soul.
- Old Fred used to like to bet the house in Vegas.
- [chuckles]
- He just liked the free drinks.
- Well, hear, hear.
Question is,
how in the glorious hell
are we gonna stop
Cecil Burgess?
Fastest I seen
since Herschel.
It's me,
I'm flooding the gaps,
bringing Mack
from the strong side
and feeding Cornelius
raw meat till kickoff.
Or we break in his room and Tonya
Harding that son of a bitch.
Now, aren't you sweet?
Well, as long as we got
LeMarcus back there
firing bullets, we'll be fine...
better than fine.
Coach, we was just talking
about LeMarcus.
LeMarcus who?
- [laughter]
- But I'll tell you what,
he was pretty raw
when we found him,
and obviously, he's developed into
something really, really special.
You think you can convince him he
ain't ready to jump for another year?
I'm just gonna support
whatever is best for LeMarcus.
- [Rodger] Amen.
- [Taylor] Coach, I got a kid in Little Rock.
Hell of an arm. Got to show
you some videos of him.
- [Coach Lazor] Love to see it.
- You remember the bad old days
when we were scraping
the bottom of the barrel,
begging JUCO transfers
with cases of Budweiser
and jobs
with the dealership?
[Coach Lazor]
Yeah, all too well.
- [Taylor] And all that changed once you got LeMarcus.
- [Rodger] Bullshit.
All that changed
when we got Coach here.
- Hey, Coach. Kevin McDonald.
- Hi, Kevin.
Director of Communication
for the CFP.
Good to meet you,
and thanks for everything.
Sure. Uh, we may have
a situation.
LeMarcus just tweeted this
earlier tonight.
It says he's boycotting
the game.
Reporters are
already swarming.
We're trying to keep them
off the players' floor.
Can probably do that
till morning,
but this can get
out of hand fast.
It won't.
Give me 20 minutes.
Guys, I'll see you right back.
A poet at a football game.
at a football game.
- [both chuckle]
- Anyway...
You look fantastic.
- Scotty, we sure this is the room?
- Yeah, Coach.
Okay, and they were here
at bed check?
- Yeah, they're marked off.
- What the fuck does that mean, "They're marked off"?
- Did somebody see 'em?
- No. But I spoke to LJ on the phone.
What the fuck?
You ain't seen nobody...
You don't do bed check
on the goddamn telephone.
You check the goddamn bed.
For Christ's sake.
Goddamn it!
Bailey's got my phone.
- Your work one.
- Yes. Thank you.
Jesus Christ, man.
We're in New Orleans.
Walking distance to the
Quarter with LeMarcus James.
You might want to actually check
that he's in bed at bed check.
When's the last time did y'all see him?
Come on, now.
- Huh?
- When he got off the bus.
Hey, LeMarcus, it's Coach. Just hit
me back here on the work cell, okay?
If you're out and about,
no problem.
Just, uh, checking in, okay?
We'll see you
for a.m. sprints, man.
- Goddamn it.
- There's the guy with the key, Coach.
I'm sorry.
All right.
LeMarcus. Emmett.
Goddamn it.
What the...
Well, I guess we just knock on
every goddamn door at the hotel.
We got to find him.
Let's go. Go, go, go.
Wake everybody up
if you have to.
[indistinct conversations]
[Coach Dunn] Come on, Cornelius,
open up the door. Hey.
- Fuck. Hold on.
- [bottle clinks]
What do you want, Coach?
What the fuck
is that smell?
That's Payton's ass
after Popeyes.
- There something you need?
- Look, have you seen LeMarcus?
Why the fuck
would I know where he's at?
- What's going on?
- It's nothing for you to worry about.
Just be ready for sprints
in the morning.
Nasty-ass kids.
[LeMarcus] Yo, Orlando.
How drunk are you, man?
I haven't drank
in four months.
Where's your phone?
In the room, like you asked.
But what the fuck
is this, LJ?
It's exactly what I said.
I ain't playing
until they pay us.
What? You broke again?
- You hurt?
- I'm done.
They're here making billions
while the rest of us make scraps.
Me and you, we could sell our names.
What about everybody else, huh?
Whoa. Wait, wait, wait.
Hold up, hold up.
So you gonna sit
the national title game
so some punt-coverage
Wayne Burnett gets...
- A real piece, yeah.
- [chuckles]
LJ, you need
to think about this, bruh.
You and crazy-
gonna get laughed
out the building.
And if you're lucky, what?
You gonna post on Twitter,
and the whole fucking machine gonna
go, "Okay, okay. We give up.
LeMarcus doesn't want to play.
Let's just make him happy."
- I ain't who you think I am.
- [scoffs]
So you weren't the one
who gave us all 'Rona
after fucking half the
campus during quarantine?
You ain't tested with your
own piss in three years.
All your cash going up in smoke
or to that shit in your ears.
So you standing on stage
for one protest
for Instagram and pussy
don't make you Malcolm X,
Ain't nobody marching
in the streets
for the number one pick.
Look, man,
you're a great quarterback...
and I'm gonna keep it 100
with you:
one of the best
I've ever seen.
But this shit?
You gonna embarrass
yourself, bruh.
Look, man, you ain't
gotta come with me.
All I'm asking is that
you don't come out against me.
All right.
I'll watch this show
as long as you want,
but I ain't gettin'
a hundred yards from it.
Good luck.
[country music playing
on speaker]
[heavy breathing]
Mmm, I cannot believe
that you are here,
you little sneak.
You know
you love surprises.
I do. I do.
I just...
I just wish you had a seat
next to me at the game.
That's not exactly
the reason I came.
Fine by me.
I'm gonna take the job.
Get a break
from the university.
Hard to turn down
a year teaching abroad.
Yeah, I get that.
I totally get that.
I just had one little,
tiny little question, Mr. Poet.
Or is it "philosopher"?
What about us?
We're a hotel-room
Well, now you're just
being a dick.
- You know what I'm saying.
- Fuck you.
Come visit.
"Come visit." Grazie.
I don't know.
Maybe I want more.
You all right?
Fucking nerves, man.
Just breathe through it.
You got this.
You're fresh as ever.
Habibi, this is a long way
to Frenchmen Street.
Yeah, we like taking in
the sights, Ned.
[Ned] Okay. Your money.
We're sure
walking the talk now.
What, you want out?
Shit, I'm going
back to the farm.
You're the one who's got
everything to lose.
Glad we huddled
up on that.
Keep her running, Ned.
We may have to dine and dash.
LeMarcus, Cathy Levy.
Nice to meet you.
- Yeah, nice to meet you. This is Em.
- Are you okay?
Peachy, yeah. Just, uh, ankle gets
a little stiff if I sit too long.
Thanks for agreeing
to do this.
Are you kidding?
Thanks for calling.
[indistinct chattering]
Whenever you're ready,
go ahead and take a seat for me.
Holy shit.
Damn, you look good
ten stories high.
Just had to put that
in the background, huh?
Here goes nothing.
Go get 'em.
Wait, wait.
- [sighs]
- [Cathy] You ready?
We're recording.
[coughs, clears throat]
"I'm personally asking
all players
in Monday's
national title game
to join me in this protest
and resulting boycott,
in order to demand that
the NCAA and its affiliates
end their practice of unpaid labor
for the majority of their workforce,
a practice which results in $18.9
billion a year in total revenue
for a system which,
in turn,
only spends $3.6 billion
on athletic scholarships."
Where does the other 15-plus
billion dollars go, you ask?
Well, I'll tell you:
to an extremely lucrative
"The president of the NCAA
received a salary
of $3.9 million last year.
The commissioners of the
top five power conferences
receive an average salary
of $4 million each year.
The latest ESPN contract
for TV rights
to the college football
is $7.3 billion
over the next 12 years."
That's over $600 million
a year for three games.
That's the reason they're expanding
the play-offs to 12 games.
My coach, James Lazor,
receives an annual salary
of $5 million,
plus up to a million dollars
in on-the-field bonuses,
the national title game.
You see, all of this money
is predicated on one
underlying principle:
free labor.
It is un-American,
it is exploitative,
and it speaks to the darkest
spots in the national soul.
Now, it is not enough for some of us to
be able to use our name and likeness,
which, make no mistake,
costs them nothing.
So our demands
are as follows:
the creation of non-revocable,
player-controlled trusts
for every Division I
varsity athlete.
Number two,
the NCAA will form
and contribute to a
player's disability pension
for Division I athletes
who are injured
from college athletics."
- Shit.
- "And number three,
the NCAA will
officially recognize
and collectively bargain
with the players' union,
submitting to all federally
mandated laws and guidelines
of a unionized workforce."
In this, the NCAA
will recognize players
as employees
and not student athletes.
Thank you.
[clears throat, sniffles]
He said he'd be
right over, so...
[smacks lips]
Got a lot on his plate.
[door opens]
Hey, there he is.
All right.
Good morning, Coach.
Thanks for coming over so quick.
This is Wes Martin from the Big 12.
He's gonna be our enemy for
the next 48 hours. [chuckles]
- Kevin McDonald from the CFP.
- We met yesterday.
And Mike Titus, Senior VP,
Championships, D-I football.
James, we've actually met.
Yeah, at the Outback Bowl
two seasons ago.
- That's right. You have come a long way.
- Looks like you have too.
[chuckles] Yes, indeed.
Please have a seat.
Real, uh...
- Real mess we got here.
- [Coach Lazor] Well, not really.
I just need to get with LeMarcus
and talk things through.
These kids don't fully
understand what they're doing.
A coach and his quarterback.
No closer bond.
You were a quarterback yourself
back in the day, am I right?
Coaches are just players
who can't play anymore.
You still don't know
where he is?
- What?
- [Kevin] Where LeMarcus is.
We're broadcasting this game
in 160 countries.
They're all tuning in to watch
him go against Cecil Burgess.
I love these marketing guys.
You know that LeMarcus and Cecil
both play offense,
so they won't be facing off.
- I know how the game works, Coach.
- Look, LeMarcus is around.
He's probably
in the hotel somewhere.
I just haven't had a chance
to get with him yet.
Coach, I think it's best if
the NCAA took the reins here.
We're more of an impartial jury.
We just want a great game.
- Well, I think that's what all of us want, right?
- Yes, it is.
That's why we were hoping you could
shed some light on this young man.
What's his character?
He's a good kid.
He's just, uh...
Like a lot of kids his age,
maybe he's a little too fond
of the spotlight and its perks.
Hell, if I was the best QB in the
country, I think I'd be bouncin' 'em
out of my apartment
three at a time, huh?
[Coach Lazor] LeMarcus
is not a troublemaker, okay?
I want to be very clear on this.
LeMarcus is a good person.
He's just a kid
with too much power
who, I don't know,
had a bad tweet.
- And interview.
- [person clears throat] Okay.
Well, you know,
Coach is gonna right this ship.
- He just needs a little more time, right?
- [Coach Lazor] Yep.
- [Kevin] You think somebody got to him?
- "Somebody"?
Like an organized labor rep,
an ACLU lawyer?
Maybe the Russians.
- That's a fucking joke, guys.
- Huh. Come on, guys.
Look, LeMarcus, from sixth,
seventh grade on,
they're big men on campus.
He and Emmett,
they still think this is playtime here.
They don't understand
the world stage.
They don't understand
the implications here.
They just asked
to collectively bargain.
They want to destroy the
student-athlete designation.
Not the demands of some kids
spitting in the wind.
You telling me I don't
know my own players?
I'm saying
you might be in denial
about what is actually
happening right now.
Come on, Wes.
That's over the line.
- [Wes] Is it?
- Yes, it is.
Coach, what they're asking for is
bigger than football or one game.
- Understood.
- It's our entire amateur athletics program
in the country.
That's 24 sports for
young men and women, gone.
Hundreds of thousands
of students,
student athletes,
being denied
a college experience.
[Kevin] We're 40-somethin'
hours to kickoff here, guys.
We need to make sure
everybody's suiting up.
There hasn't been a single
defection from our side.
- It's theirs that's falling apart.
- [cell phone chimes]
Hey. Nothing's
falling apart.
Okay? Everybody relax
a little bit.
- [Wes] Three wide receivers just tweeted, "We're in."
- [men sighing]
With a hashtag that's going
viral: "Fix the system."
Your other two stars,
Bishop and Cornelius, could be next.
Orlando Bishop
is my one and only captain.
He is team first.
He's not going anywhere.
And Cornelius, frankly,
can't stand LeMarcus.
He wouldn't follow him into
the Garden of Eden. He'll play.
One linebacker ain't plugging this hole.
You're taking on water fast.
Hey! He got blindsided just
like the rest of us, all right?
There's no reason
to keep attacking him.
Here's an idea.
Lean on the sophomores and freshmen
who have something to lose.
They won't want to risk
the eligibility over this.
You'd love that,
wouldn't you, Wes?
We all know I can't field
a competitive team
with a bunch of 18-year-olds
that haven't played
a meaningful snap
since high school.
Fuck that. I'd rather not
field a team at all.
I'm afraid
that's not an option.
We wouldn't need any options if
I could get with my quarterback
instead of sitting around
this circle jerk.
[clears throat]
Thanks for coming, Coach.
You bet.
- Thanks for coming down.
- Don't lecture my guy.
Thought you had your conference under
control, Everly. We got nothin'.
- [Everly] We got time.
- [Wes] Time is the one thing we don't have.
[Everly] We got a little bit.
We'll be fine.
All right.
The Death Star awaits.
The Cougars are staying
on the 17th floor.
There's a stairway
around the back.
Let's go get this done
and get out of here.
Keep it running, Ned.
We'll be back in 20.
- [hip-hop music playing]
- [person] Eat, nigga, eat!
- [knock on door]
- I'm nice. I'm nice.
- Watch this bucket right here. Bucket!
- [pounding on door]
Hold on.
Hey, don't fuckin' cheat.
Hello, Roc.
Emmett Sunday, esquire.
You may know me
from such hits
as Last Stand
at the Texas Stadium,
- Destruction at the Peach Bowl...
- That's not funny.
- I'm number 82.
- Yeah, the tight end. What the fuck do you want?
The one and only.
Mind if I come in for a sec? Thanks.
Hold on. You just gonna
walk in my room like that?
Cecil, what's going on, man?
Emmett Sunday. How you doing?
- Just gonna turn on...
- Why you turning on my light like that?
- I'm just gonna turn off this TV.
- Yo, white boy. [sighs]
Chill out and let me know why the fuck
you in my room before I fight you.
Cecil, you mind if I show
you something for a second?
- It may help make my case.
- All right, man, go ahead.
He's been replying
real quick. Hold on.
- Yeah, there you go.
- Hold on.
Nah, nah, nah.
This way first.
- Get the fuck out of here.
- I ain't fucking with you.
- Yo, this is LeBron, nigga. Look.
- That's LeBron.
- LeBron DM'd these fucks.
- That's the king.
Oh, shit! He just said
"What's up?" to you.
Yeah, 'cause
he knows you're here.
How the fuck you get
LeBron to DM you?
We're buddies, man.
And I was thinking,
Clutch just started a new
football division to rep,
and I was thinking, hell, maybe I
just put in a good word for you two.
Fly over to LA, the land of big
lips, fake tits, and sunshine.
- I love fake titties.
- I know. Me too.
And you sit down with LeBron and
Maverick and have a conversation.
Grab lunch with LeBron in LA? You know I
love tacos, nigga. Hold on. How we do that?
It's a little weird.
I need your phones.
- My phone?
- I just need your phone.
Fuck it.
Hey, it's LeBron. Here.
- Come on, give him your phone.
- Come on, Cecil.
I ain't gonna do anything
weird with it. Come on.
You can keep my phone
as collateral.
Collateral and shit.
I'ma pocket this bitch.
Don't move.
Yeah. Yeah.
- Bruh, LeBron. LeBron, though.
- [Emmett whistles]
What's happening, fellas?
- Surprise, surprise.
- Shit.
- Not LeBron.
- So, what's up? I know y'all seen it.
- Yeah, we seen it.
- [LeMarcus] What y'all think?
Hoping y'all gonna join us.
And skip out
on the title game?
Man, you out
your fucking mind.
- [Roc] For real.
- [LeMarcus] Yeah, probably.
It's gonna take a little crazy
to get it done though, ain't it?
Yeah, but he's Kiper's
number one back.
Going eighth to Baltimore
at the latest.
He ain't risking that
fucking with y'all.
Hmm. Buffalo should
take him at three.
- They're going tackle.
- Maybe Miami gets smart and takes you at one.
- Then where you gonna go?
- Me? Shit. CFL after this, probably.
- [snorts]
- [LeMarcus chuckles]
Yeah, Saskatchewan
or some shit like that.
- [Roc] Saskatchewan?
- Listen.
They're still gonna find a way to
play this game without me and Emmett.
We gonna need you.
The Haitian Hammer,
running wild on all those TV promos.
Come watch him put up 500 yards in a
single game. Hell, I'd go to see it.
Yeah, maybe then he goes
number one.
But if he sits, they gonna
Kaepernick him like you.
- Hmm.
- Come on, bruh. You might fall out the first round.
Do y'all even know what the
rookie minimum is down there?
Probably not, but they taking backs
in the third or fourth round nowadays.
Four years and done,
we're back in the hood.
That is why we gotta stick
together on this, fellas.
Think about it.
If we all sit,
what are they gonna do?
Hmm? It's called
collective action.
Fuck you learn
a big word like that?
Intro to Organized Labor.
[scoffs] A class?
He talking 'bout a class.
[chuckles] Only class you probably took
was Intro to Organized Dick-sucking.
- Flap your gums 'cause you're scared.
- Scared of what? You?
Scared you're gonna be teaching
high-school PE next year.
I know this is my last game,
same as you.
Fuck you.
I'm playing in the League.
[LeMarcus] Hey, look, we ain't
come here for all that, all right?
Look, me and E are serious
about this.
We just came here
to let y'all know.
Sleep on it. Pray on it.
- Look, I appreciate y'all.
- Yeah. All right, yeah.
All right.
- No hard feelings.
- Yeah, no hard feelings.
Collective action.
Man, I hope we get to play those guys.
Go ahead, Ned.
If we don't get Cecil on board,
we're gonna need the whole squad,
or we ain't
playing shit.
We get the younger guys,
Orlando will come too.
Hey, get
Bob Reynolds a note.
Tell him we'll give him
the exclusive.
Copy that.
Wonder how many of these
we've gone through already.
- [siren whoops]
- [crowd cheering]
We don't want
nobody to know.
The press or anybody.
We don't even know that he sits.
Okay? Make sure
you keep them out.
[crowd continues cheering]
- We all present and accounted for, Scotty?
- Yes, sir.
LeMarcus James,
for those of you who are not familiar,
won the Heisman Trophy
this year.
Most famous player
in college football.
Picture's 130 feet tall
across the street,
and now you're telling me, what,
he's the fucking Invisible Man?
[Scotty] We're working
with hotel security, Coach.
They went out a fire exit without a camera.
That's how we lost 'em.
Well, the media found him,
didn't they?
I don't know. Maybe I should
ask LeBron James for help
instead of you
simple snowflakes,
who I feed, clothe
and pay six figures a year.
Or get a free
top-tier education.
This is a fucking
Find me LeMarcus James
and Emmett Sunday,
or I swear to God,
the next coaching job any of you
get within shitting distance of
is gonna be JV at the fucking
Little Sisters of the Poor.
Go! Get out there!
Go fucking find him, now!
- We'll find him, Coach.
- Goddamn it.
[softly] Goddamn.
Come on, fellas.
Eat up.
[LeMarcus scoffs]
Y'all can hate me
all you want.
I ain't the one
y'all should be hatin'.
Ain't me cashing out on
millions of dollars a year
while y'all can't pay rent,
can't put gas in y'all whips.
If you even have a whip.
For 55 years,
guys like you ate, drank,
fucked and played ball.
We're just happy with
a free education, right?
Nice free suit?
That shit'll keep us happy, right?
They know how to get us.
But not no more, okay?
This shit is capitalism
at its finest.
Greed at its worst.
Everybody around us got
private jets and private chefs,
and we can't even accept a
fucking free meal as a gift.
Yeah. Yeah, that's right.
That pizza slice right there,
double fistin'
with them shits,
that kid kicked out
of college twice. Shit.
And we out there every single day.
Blood, sweat and tears.
You remember
your ankle, bro? Hmm?
Remember when it swole up
like a watermelon?
They shot you up, and they made you
play, didn't they? Huh?
Think about how that shit gonna
make you feel in 30 years.
You ain't got no medical.
You got insurance?
What you gonna fix your broken body
with, huh? Duct tape?
Gorilla Glue the shits back together?
What we gonna do?
That's how y'all got to be
thinking about this.
Where do we want to be
in 30 years from now?
It starts right now.
It starts right here.
Who bought
all this Pizza Hut?
[LeMarcus] Look,
I'll be the first to say it.
Lazor's taught me a lot
about more than just football.
But what I began to realize
is I was being brainwashed,
just like all of y'all.
Scared of speaking up because it
was easy to go along to get along.
Don't let them tell you there
ain't enough to go around.
They got so much money, they don't
even know where to put the shits.
Y'all okay with that?
All right.
You okay with that?
[person] Guys, don't think
this isn't a two-way street.
Where do you green fucks
think you're transferring to
if I bury your ass on the pine?
I own your future.
Where the hell
is LeMarcus?
Let's be real.
There are 12,500
draft-eligible players
for the NFL
every single year,
and only 300 of us
get drafted.
That means
over 12,000 of us
participate in a
multi-billion-dollar industry
that won't even give us
health insurance.
And yet, they selling us
the pearly gates?
you got a resume?
Internship? Why not?
'Cause you been playing D-I football
for the last three years, right?
That's right.
And they make you work it
like it's a full-time job,
don't they? That's right.
What about all those bullshit classes they
make you take to stay on the field, huh?
Hey, you remember the Swahili
shit y'all was taking?
Swahili? How do you say,
"Do you want fries with that?" in Swahili?
Guess what, fellas. When y'all
get out there in the real world,
out there in the jungle,
it ain't no fun
when you broke as a joke.
Tell us where he's at.
I'm taking it back.
He at the W,
stayin' under a fake name.
Barack Gambino.
Barack Gambino, man?
Bank it.
And even if it means the death of
me, y'all can say,
"I got caught up with that crazy
motherfucker and his dreams of glory.
And if I can do it,
then we can do it,
and we could set ourselves up
and future generations to come.
Tell 'em about the barn, LJ.
'Cause there is a barn in
Galilee with grain filled so high
that they won't even
sell it all.
And you know what God says?
He says, "You poor fools.
You may think that you're rich,
but you are poor in the eyes of God."
Why? Because my people are
hungry, and your barn is full.
- Make it plain!
- There is a barn in Galilee
filled with grain,
and we out here starving.
God is with us.
He says there is nothing to lose.
There is nothing to fear.
I am here, and there is
nothing to fear!
[upbeat country music playing]
- Boo.
- [chuckles]
[both chuckle]
[upbeat country music
continues playing]
Come with me.
I plan to, baby.
I mean it.
Start a new chapter.
You really
want me there?
I do.
[softly] Really?
Beneath the burning sun
Under the sailor's moon
In the rain
And in the snow
On the field we run
On the field
We run together
We run together
We win together
We are the Wolves
We are the pack...
[all howl]
[announcer] Give it up
for French Montana!
[hip-hop music playing]
You like that?
You like that, baby?
That was for y'all.
- Keep 'em coming.
- You got it.
Hey, what's your hurry?
- Rodger.
- Brett.
I've been head of
the booster club since '98.
You ever seen
a national title game
in your own luxury box,
Lobster, filet mignon,
your heart desires.
It sounds awesome.
You wanna come with?
I can get you a ticket.
Are they even gonna play?
Oh, they'll play. Don't you worry
your pretty little head about that.
Gonna find me my quarterback,
and it'll be Easy Street.
Five hundred dollars.
And what does that
get me, Brett?
A room number.
What time
do you get off?
[chuckles] Not mine.
LeMarcus. Emmett.
It's Rodger and Taylor.
Open up.
- [knocking continues]
- [sighs]
I guess we have
to get another room again.
[Rodgers] Hey!
Just go get it before they
wake up the whole hotel, man.
[knocking continues]
Shut up and get inside.
Easy, big fella.
We come in peace.
How the hell
did you find us?
- A happy accident.
- What do you want?
[Rodgers] Just to talk,
that's it.
One minute,
and then we're gone.
Hey, you look like hell.
You okay?
We're owed.
You are owed?
Yes. We're owed.
Taylor. What I think my associate
is trying to communicate here
is that we're hurtin'.
We feel like
we're invested here,
especially after all
we've been through together.
Because you loaned me a car?
And helped refinance
your mother's mortgage
when she fell behind,
and also with your brother.
- Should we talk about the message...
- Don't... say another word.
And don't do this.
You don't give a shit
about us.
- All you give a shit about is your damn game.
- Now, now, now, Taylor.
LeMarcus, what...
what's going on here?
Me and you are buddies.
You love playing football.
Hell, I love watching you
play football.
An entire college campus,
40,000 kids,
thinks that you're
Jesus Christ incarnate.
What's going on?
You need money?
Just tell me
where to send the check.
What the fuck
don't you get?
You ever read The Jungle?
What has that got to do
with anything, LeMarcus?
The American Dream.
This guy Jurgis
from Lithuania,
he worked at the meat-packing
plant in Chicago.
Now, Jurgis was young,
he was bigger, stronger
than the rest of 'em.
So they put him
to work in the kill beds.
He worked so hard,
he couldn't bend his fingers.
He couldn't flex his knees,
broke his ankle.
After all those years,
he just kept on working,
and he loved it.
See, that didn't mean shit to the guys
who owned the plant though, did it?
'Cause they weren't about to
take care of no broke immigrant.
LeMarcus... [sighs]
You ain't that guy.
You're about to be
the number one pick
in the first round
of the NFL draft,
- and Miami is gonna pay you $35 million...
- Yeah, I know.
That's a whole lot of meat.
What about the guys who
ain't going into the League?
The guys who busted their head in
the dirt for the last four years,
only to wind up mangled and broke?
What about them, huh?
- So this whole thing's about you?
- It's about everyone, man.
What the fuck do you think
you're gonna do?
You can't square off
with the entire system.
You two cannot unionize college
sports, and that's a fact.
- It ain't two.
- What?
It ain't just two of us
no more,
and that's a fact.
[person] We have to
dismantle the structure
and do something
that's more equitable,
that's fairer
for these athletes.
I've got teammates
that I played
collegiate ball with
at Ohio State
that suffered some
career-ending injuries,
some life-altering
that struggle
and still struggle today
without any support
from the university.
It's very frustrating.
So I'm proud
to stand behind
LeMarcus James
and what he's doing.
Wilson, what do you think of the
situation with LeMarcus James?
Listen, Greeny,
I'm really impressed by LeMarcus James.
This guy's given up
possibly $35 million,
maybe the first pick
The reality is,
he's got so much to lose
but really so much to gain.
And I think that you and I
both know, Greeny,
that this whole system's broke,
and we got to fix it.
It's got to get fixed
[Greenberg] There you have it.
Directly from one of the great quarterbacks
in the history of the NFL,
Russell Wilson.
He won the Walter Payton Man
of the Year award in 2020.
- Russell, thank you.
- Always a pleasure, Greeny. I'll see you soon.
[Greenberg] In the meantime,
we've got other news to talk about...
I understand.
Yeah, we all know
what's at stake here.
I will get
him into this game.
You have
my personal guarantee.
Of course.
Well, thank you...
Yeah, he hung up on me.
[sighs, panting]
You're up early.
What, do you sleep in that power suit?
I might as well
at this point, right?
from the overlords?
I'd say my very early
retirement is being discussed
unless I change the optics,
and quick.
And if I go,
so goes your retainer.
[laughs] We can't let
that happen, now, can we?
We offer talks.
We hear their demands.
- We promise a committee to explore.
- No.
They've got 40 players now.
- [Mike] I heard.
- They think they can win this.
If we offer talks, then they will
never leave the table empty-handed.
- They're kids.
- Exactly.
They haven't lost enough to believe
that that's the most likely outcome.
They don't understand
that life is about losing.
I pay you for options.
What are they?
Well, I can only see two.
You either give them
what they want...
Second option?
We savage them.
You find everything...
every grain, every person.
You turn LeMarcus James into a
monster that no one could follow.
LeMarcus decided
to do this.
He waded into your waters.
We have to react.
Unfortunately, I don't have
the luxury to react, Ms. Poe.
But you do.
[LeMarcus coughing]
It's started.
They got their hounds loose.
[LeMarcus sighs]
And you know
they're gonna dig up more.
[crowd cheering]
[whooping, cheering]
[Emmett] We're gonna
have to move again.
No more running.
Let 'em come.
Yes, every player.
I don't care. Luke!
On the goddamn roof, for all I care.
Thirty minutes.
have you seen Luke?
I got nine players
and the cabal
of fucking idiocy around me.
I sent him to the store
for McConnell's ice cream.
Baby, you can't
be doing that now.
This is fucking serious!
Goddamn it!
You know what hurts the most?
He never came to me
with any of this,
after everything
we've been through together.
Are you...
Jesus fucking Christ.
Are you fucking kidding me?
I got a full-on rebellion
in my locker room,
I got the head of the NCAA
and both conferences up my ass
at the national fucking
title game...
- Now? You're gonna...
- Coach, we talked about this.
How can I say this again
in a way that you can get it?
I need to find myself again.
I need some me time.
Not you time. Me time.
Goddamn, you
fuckin' selfish...
Wow! Finish it.
Finish it.
I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
- I'm sorry.
- [scoffs]
I know the sacrifices
you've made for me.
Of course I do.
But please...
Okay, which place do you
want me to stay away from?
Where are you going?
The beach house?
I'm going to Rome.
Okay, I can stay away
from Rome.
You're not going
to Rome alone, are you?
If I hadn't stayed here
to explain to you
that I was leaving,
would you have noticed
I'd gone?
- I know. I get it. I get it.
- All I wanna know...
It's this fucking job.
Oh, God.
I swear to God,
I will make it up to you.
Okay? Please.
I swear to God,
I'm gonna make this up to you.
- It's just...
- James...
We just got
to get past this game.
Baby, I need you here
with me now, please.
Oh, um... You want Coach.
He's in the back.
Can you... please?
- Yeah, sure, sure. Sure.
- Thank you. Excuse me. I'm sorry.
Good to meet you.
Coach Lazor?
Morning, Coach.
Uh, Katherine Poe.
We met earlier?
Is now okay, sir?
It's kind of urgent.
[clears throat]
Everything all right?
Well, if there's
anything I can do...
What do you want?
You have a rebellion
on your hands, sir.
What exactly do you do?
- You're with the NCAA?
- I'm not. I'm outside counsel.
- And your name again?
- Katherine.
Katherine, would you mind just
fucking off back to your C-suite?
This is a private physical
LeMarcus had.
It's from July
for an insurance policy.
How did you get that?
It's a firm specializing
in medical data acquisition.
And this is an MRI
of LeMarcus' left knee,
which, unfortunately,
has no cartilage.
He's been hiding it
for five months.
His body
is a ticking time bomb.
It's only a matter of time before
that knee gives out on him.
He is never going to be
the number one pick,
not after the combine
and a physical.
He'll be lucky
if he got to go day two,
and he's known that
for some time.
I have seen nothing to indicate
he's got a bad knee.
He's 21. He could eat gunpowder
and then go run a marathon.
Now, look.
It's best
if this comes from you.
How disappointed you were to
learn that he's been hiding this.
Maybe, in retrospect,
you did notice the limp during practice.
What exactly are you saying?
Five months ago, LeMarcus figured out he
is not going to be the number one pick,
and he is trying to cash in
now before the teller...
- That is bullshit.
- Yes, sir. Before the teller window closes.
- LeMarcus would never...
- This is a shakedown, sir!
Pure and simple.
He is trying
to recoup his losses,
and he is going
to take everything
that you and your players
have worked for.
Let me ask you, sir,
how does a D-III quarterback
with a noodle for an arm who
runs a five-flat 40 time,
how does a guy like that
become the head coach
of not one but two
D-I powerhouses?
Because that guy
is a winner.
And this is your time
to finally capture
that national title.
Do not let LeMarcus
rob you of your legacy.
Now, we will leak this
to the smaller sites.
You will do a presser
for the networks,
and the aggregators
will take it from there.
I, um...
I have some remarks.
- If you want to take a look at...
- No, thank you.
I don't need
your fucking remarks.
This is my football team.
- They will play for me.
- Coach...
wake up,
before you don't
even have a team.
[inhales deeply]
[exhales sharply]
I know right now...
you think life is always
gonna be like this.
You're at the center
of everything.
And greatness
is right there,
within reach.
But that's not true.
This may very well be
your only fleeting moment
at the top
of the mountain.
Look at me.
I'm 60 years old.
I look like I'm 80.
I feel like I'm a hundred.
I got a wife that hates me.
Well, she just left,
I got a cock that doesn't
work without a fucking pill.
My best buddy,
since we were little knuckleheads
playing Pee Wee football...
My best friend, Clint,
just died of blood cancer.
Just like that.
Forty years ago, I was you.
I was you, men.
Quarterback of my little
college in North Dakota.
I had dreams, and I had
the energy to chase 'em.
- And now...
- [snaps fingers]
...I got one thing left,
one thing in my life
that means a damn
to me:
You men.
This room.
This is all I got...
and that's okay.
Believe me,
this is all I need.
Now, some of you are
looking at me like, "Well...
bullshit, Coach.
Come on, now.
You got money.
You're fucking rich."
Yeah, I got money I...
I couldn't even conceive of
when I was you men.
Believe me
when I tell you this...
is shit.
Money is a numbers game
played by people
in $5,000 suits
in New York City offices
for their own benefit.
There is no glory
in money,
no life-altering challenge
in money.
There is no confrontation
with your deepest fears
and therefore your greatness,
in fucking money.
Oh, my God.
What I wouldn't give
to be you men
right now.
One day away
from glorious battle
your band of brothers
in front of a hundred million
people all over the world.
The greatest glory
you are ever gonna feel.
Do you want
to give that up?
For those of you who were
thinking about boycotting,
you've made your point.
They are gonna have to change.
'Cause they heard you.
They are scared
It's beautiful.
It's fucking hilarious.
Change is coming.
Meaningful change.
Trust me on that.
Every one of you has worked
your whole fucking life
for this moment.
Don't rob yourselves
of your destiny.
Glory is at hand.
is yours.
Glory is ours!
Take it.
I heard
it was a great speech.
Now, let's prove to them that LeMarcus
is only doing this for his own benefit,
so you have enough players
not only to play this thing,
but to win.
Do you need a minute,
You need to
collect yourself? Okay.
Let's get it over with.
[indistinct TV chatter]
One miner's breakfast.
Breakfast of champions.
[newscaster] Now, I understand
we have some late-breaking news.
Yes, we're going
to a live press conference
with Wolves head coach
James Lazor.
[reporter 1] Coach Lazor,
when did you first notice,
LeMarcus James' knee?
Well, I had noticed
a slight limp,
uh, after week three,
but I just chalked it up to, you
know, the usual bumps and bruises.
So, I was, um...
I was disappointed
when I found out
that he'd been concealing
something more serious.
- I can't believe Coach is doing this.
- [reporter 2] Do you think
he concealed his injury
to protect his draft status?
I don't know. He's gonna have
to pass a very thorough physical
before the draft, so...
They found that MRI quick.
Their man's good.
[reporter 3] Do you feel he was
manipulating his teammates
to cash in
on the national title game?
I guess you'd have
to ask his teammates that.
Coach, do you feel
that this is a further example
of a form of modern-day
slave trade?
I-I'm sorry. I guess I don't
understand that question.
The physical. Like inspecting a
slave's teeth to determine the price.
Only now, it's his knees.
Well, if you call getting
a free top-tier education
and four years of first-class
accommodations and nutrition,
not to mention
a sizable living stipend,
and then toss in a once-
in-a-lifetime opportunity
to play
in a national title game,
if we're calling that
the slave trade,
then I'd love
to be a slave.
[reporters murmuring]
That's the last question.
Well, that
already went viral.
[reporters clamoring]
Call Greeny.
Tell him
we're going live.
Splash it
all over Twitter too.
I am joined now
by LeMarcus James,
who won this year's
Heisman Trophy
and has now rocked the entire
world of sports and well beyond
with his boycott
of the national title game,
which is scheduled for
tomorrow in New Orleans.
LeMarcus, I'm gonna jump right into
the question everyone is asking.
Are you boycotting this game
and demanding compensation
because of an unfortunate
medical condition
that could jeopardize
your status in the draft?
Good morning, Greeny.
The answer is no.
Unequivocally, no.
I have no cartilage
in my left knee.
It'll degenerate over time.
Maybe eight years, maybe 20.
But name me an NFL team
that wouldn't take
eight to 20 years
of elite quarterback play.
You see, the reality is,
this isn't about me.
This is about
our current system.
It's about my fellow
D-I athletes and teammates
who have fallen victim to,
quite frankly,
a plantation mentality.
[Greenberg] I wanna talk
about that mentality.
That's fucking rich.
'Cause clearly, that is at the
center of this entire conversation.
Your coach, just today,
said this is a system
he'd love to be a part of
and even invoked
the tragic word "slavery."
I have to ask you,
do you feel
this is a slave trade
of a different kind?
- [LeMarcus] Can I give you another comparison, Greeny?
- Yeah, of course.
This is the home of my best friend
and teammate, Emmett Sunday.
Emmett's father is a farmer
outside Lincoln, Nebraska,
and his mother
is a teacher's assistant.
They've saved up
a little bit for retirement,
but mostly, they just live
month to month.
One swollen appendix,
one turned ankle from insolvency.
Now, their son, Emmett Sunday,
has been a four-year starter
for one of the best college
programs in the country.
he'll play in a game
that'll gross over
a half a billion dollars.
Half a billion dollars
for a single game.
And Emmett
won't see a dime.
His football days
will be over.
Zero compensation,
zero medical insurance
for the injuries he's sustained,
some of them permanent.
And now, this...
is the Palm Beach
vacation home
for my coach,
James Lazor.
This is
his Chicago penthouse.
This is his
six-bedroom Craftsman,
where he stays
during the season.
His work home.
Now, Coach has profited
off a system
that is entirely based
on free labor.
We're not playing in any games
until those who actually play...
And not just the superstars.
All athletes, down to the special teams...
- Jesus.
- ...are considered and compensated.
- [Orlando sighs]
- Now.
This crazy motherfucker.
There you have it,
directly from LeMarcus James.
- LeMarcus, thank you very much.
- All right, LeMarcus.
[Greenberg] I appreciate the time.
We'll take a short break,
and be back with more
in just a moment.
What the calamitous fuck?
We've been goddamn
outflanked by two kids,
like we're
in Scooby fucking Doo.
Oh, you know what
the dipshit sidekick did
when LeMarcus
was grandstanding on TV?
- [Katherine] Sunday.
- Huh?
His name is
Emmett Sunday.
Oh, thank God
we got that all cleared up.
Emmett fucking-us-sideways
Sunday leaks my Nike contract.
Now every New York City
asking me where
$30 million a year goes.
Where does it go?
How the hell do I know?
You're the head
of the conference.
Excuse me?
You're the head
of your conference.
You should be able to answer a layup
like where your sneaker money goes.
Band fields.
- Softball stadiums.
- [cell phone chimes]
Turquoise-green Bermuda fucking sod.
Where else?
Orlando Bishop
just tweeted this.
- He's out.
- [Everly] That's cute.
We got four players
threatening to walk now too.
How are these two
even doing this?
I still think
Coach Lazor's the one
to talk LeMarcus
off this ledge.
He walks him back,
they'll all follow.
Where's your coach now?
He's, uh,
taking a minute.
He's tanking.
- He's fine.
- [Mike] What does he need?
- A divorce lawyer.
- [Everly chuckles]
[Everly] He's fine, I said.
Lazor or no Lazor,
we're putting two teams
on the field tomorrow,
even if we gotta dress
the damn cheerleaders.
Who's second in line
if Lazor can't go?
I guess, uh, Ronnie Dunn,
defensive coordinator.
- You trust him?
- Yeah. Company man.
Been at the university
since a player himself,
so, yeah, he'll take
marching orders.
- You sure?
- This a fucking inquisition?
I don't trust anyone with a
vested pension and Medicare.
Oh, God. You know what?
Fuck you very much.
All right? I need this shit
like I need a third tit.
I will march
my entire conference
right out that door,
put together my own
play-offs without any of you.
How do you like me?
You'd be in breach
of 16 different contracts,
squander a $100-million payday
for tomorrow alone.
Not to mention what I imagine
would be a full audit
of SEC expenses
under your tenure.
You know, to make sure that those
band fields, softball stadiums
and turquoise-green Bermuda
sod weren't really just
high-paid escorts
in New York City
at the Bemelman Bar
of the Carlyle.
Bouncing 'em out of your
apartment three at a time, right?
Fuck you.
[person] We're still
24 hours away
from the Snickers
National Title game.
- Only the biggest game...
- [person 2] Man, these guys
are already getting
free education.
Money is just
gonna ruin it.
They aren't ready for all that money.
I wasn't when I was 18.
[person 3] I don't know
if this man is a racist,
but what I do know
is that he made a fortune
mostly off the backs
of young Black men.
[Bailey] Question.
If I hadn't stayed here
to explain to you
that I was leaving,
would you have noticed I'd gone?
[indistinct chattering]
Coach! Coach Lazor!
- [person 2] Oh, my God. Look, it's Coach Lazor.
- [people clamoring]
- [person 3] Hey, Coach, can we get a picture?
- Sorry, buddy.
It's just really not a good time, okay?
Sorry, sorry...
- [clamoring continues]
- Okay, not now!
Hey, give him some space.
Give him some space.
No pictures! No pictures!
Have a good game, Coach!
[Everly] Now, I know for a fact
that LeMarcus and the guys,
they respect
the hell out of you,
and you would be the first
African-American head coach
to lead a team onto the field
for a national title game.
hopefully win the thing, huh?
Let's make history together.
The NCAA may have started
with this...
- [Emmett groans]
- ...imaginary pie-in-the-sky idea
that it was about amateurism,
and at one point it was.
But then there was a turn,
and it became about money.
- [knocking]
- Plain and simple. I thought this was America.
- [coughing]
- Yeah?
It's Coach Dunn.
[Emmett] You all
by your lonesome?
- [groans]
- [Coach Dunn] It's just me.
[door unlocks]
You two are really hard
to find.
It's easier to find Bigfoot
than to find you two.
Look, relax.
I won't tell Lazor.
[chuckles softly]
You know something?
I gotta give credit
to you two, actually.
I'm really surprised
you was able to pull this off.
But you got trouble.
Yep, they still gonna
play the game.
With 19 freshmen?
They don't care who plays
as long as it's on TV.
[Emmett scoffs]
The shit bowl.
[Coach Dunn] They shitting
their pants right now.
They got so desperate,
they approached me
and said
If Lazor doesn't show up,
I can bring the team
out to the field.
So, Coach is sitting?
[sighs] I don't know, man.
It's really hard to tell right now,
but it looks like it.
So, what you gonna do?
The first Black head coach
in a national title game?
It's a big deal.
I ain't no fucking pawn.
Hell, no, I'm not doing it.
I'm one of best defensive
coaches in this country.
I don't need
no fucking handouts.
Amen, Coach.
We feel the same way.
Even if this whole thing
goes up in a ball of flames,
we're not stepping
on that field.
Look, y'all. Have I ever told
you the Hannibal Lawson story?
- Who?
- Hannibal Lawson.
So, Han Lawson, to me, was one
of the best defensive tackles
in Louisiana
high school history.
He went on to LSU.
You know, a bright future.
He got his knee shredded
in practice.
And the result of that,
they took his scholarship away.
But Hannibal did
something interesting.
He hired a lawyer in a cheap suit
with some night-school degree,
and he sued the NCAA
for workmen's comp.
- Smart, right?
- Yeah.
Went all the way to
the Louisiana Supreme Court.
[Emmett] What happened?
[Coach Dunn] Yeah, they said he
was nothing but a student-athlete.
They didn't consider him an employee,
even though they were selling
hundreds and thousands
of tickets
every fucking Saturday,
making millions of dollars!
You're breaking your body every
fucking practice and every game.
And whenever they decide to take the
scholarship away from you, they can,
whenever the fuck
they feel like it.
That's a crazy,
sick system.
And maybe you two will change it.
I don't know.
But I want y'all to understand something.
There's a lot of Han Lawsons out here.
Survival of the fittest.
This little pigskin football
right here
holds a lot of weight to it.
It's more than a game.
It's a fucking business.
Hey, Coach.
Thank you.
Good luck, fellas.
- [sighs]
- [door closes]
We're gonna need Cecil
on board.
We both don't play,
the advertisers will start pulling out.
It's the only way.
[blues rock music playing]
[Rodgers] Take a little more
of the edge off.
Gotta let it out.
If you don't, it just stays inside
you, it becomes poison.
[Taylor sighs]
- Okay, what's the plan?
- Damn it.
I can't even focus
on that right now.
Well, you... you got to.
You gotta bifurcate.
Uh, I don't know what that means,
but I think I get the gist of it.
About to lose 500,000
'cause of LeMarcus.
- [Rodgers] Taylor.
- He fucked us.
- Put the phone down.
- He fucked us.
- Put the phone down.
- All right.
Coach, I know you don't want
to hear this right now.
I've been married
three times myself.
But the hurt goes away.
One day, just like that.
I'm telling you,
Bailey's my one and only.
And she's gone.
And it's my own goddamn fault.
[Taylor] Coach,
no offense at all.
Your love life,
that's your thing.
Your racial views,
that's your thing.
But we have a national
title in less than 24 hours.
- Can you please just focus on that?
- Fucking racial views?
First of all,
one goddamn reporter
baits me into saying
something stupid.
I know
you're not racist.
I'm just saying we got
the game to focus on, okay?
- That's all I'm saying.
- What fucking game?
- I don't have a goddamn team.
- Less than 24 hours.
I'm supposed to walk out of that
tunnel with... with freshmen.
- Nobody's askin' you...
- and go in there and get our ass kicked?
- You gotta figure it out.
- That's not competition. That's a fucking slaughter.
I'm doing what I can.
You gotta do better, Coach.
You're under contract.
Fuck that contract.
Are you talking to me about
the fucking contract right now?
I could walk
across the street tomorrow
and get another contract
if they find me in breach.
I don't give a shit.
I don't need the goddamn money anyway.
you're hurtin' right now.
Let's just give it
an hour or two.
See the state of play.
It's best not to make
any decisions feeling this way.
Tell you what.
It's the ones
that are closest to us
that hurt us the most.
You as good
as they say you are?
To which of my many talents
are you referring?
There was a fight
that no one knows about.
A real brawl.
A kid got hurt bad.
- I'll alert the authorities.
- Oh, they know.
He's blind in one eye now
and got a hole in his skull.
But money talks,
and NDAs don't.
I'm listening.
[shower running]
[practicing Italian]
Oh, crap, I think I just called
you my pistachio. [laughs]
Your phone sucks.
Is mine in there?
It is here.
[Bailey] Ah.
You just got a text from
a guy named Mike Titus.
What? Crap.
I just must have grabbed James'
personal one again by accident.
[Italian accent] Can you bring it to
me, mi pistachio?
It's probably goin' ape-shit
right now.
After everything we've done
for LeMarcus.
Every single one of those kids
are spoiled brats.
Spoiled freaking brats.
Geez. [chuckles]
Oh, I cannot wait
to go to Rome.
There's this one place
that I want to eat at,
and they still have the bullet
holes in the walls from the war.
Do you see this?
Probably not, 'cause your phone stinks.
I've been helping LeMarcus.
You know, with his boycott.
That's why I'm here.
I don't get it.
He came to me after class.
And... [sighs]
...what was I gonna do?
Be another
tenured paper tiger?
Teaching organized labor
five days a week,
then hide behind my desk
when one of my own students
actually wants
to do something about it?
I helped him
with his strategy
any way I could.
It's funny.
LeMarcus knew
the rumors about us,
like everybody else.
Except your husband,
of course.
And you, calling LeMarcus
a spoiled brat,
especially when he has
so much to lose.
- Maybe you're more part of the system than you think.
- Get out.
[voice breaking]
Get the fuck out of here.
[door closes]
[whispers] Fuck me.
Oh, sorry. I think
we got the wrong room.
This room is Cecil's.
Come in.
We don't have a lot of time.
My name's Katherine Poe.
I come bearing gifts.
You need my phone?
You look rough.
Just a cold.
Where's Cecil?
They're in a suite
ten floors up, playing 2K.
No, wait.
[chuckles] You haven't
even heard my offer yet.
It's a pretty good offer.
A lot of wonderful things.
A lot of meat
on the bone.
What you got?
I send the best concierge
doctor in New Orleans,
Dr. Eric, to your room.
He gives you an IV, a Z-Pak,
you get plenty of rest,
you and your team
play the game,
and you go number one
overall in April.
All your dreams
come true.
I will personally
make sure
that the NCAA forms
an exploratory committee
to fully monetize
amateur athletics.
- "Exploratory committee"?
- Yeah, that's gonna be a pass.
[Katherine] No, wait.
You haven't heard the cherry on top.
Best part is,
you don't go to jail.
[scoffs] For boycottin'
a football game?
For the attempted murder
of K.C. Walton.
[Emmett] Wow.
For the last 48 hours, you guys have
been trying to destroy this man!
And what, you land
on outright assassination?
- For what, money?
- K.C. Walton is blind in one eye.
He has a crack
in his skull,
and he hasn't walked the same ever
since that fight outside of the, uh,
Gin Mill Bar and Grill.
So I spoke to his mother,
- and she jumped at the idea of being able to...
- [whispers] It's bullshit.
It's not bullshit!
She jumped at the idea of being
able to throw out that NDA
and burn that 100K
that was used to buy them off
if it meant that
she could find the guys
who hurt her son
and get paid again.
- You don't know what you're doing.
- Hey. No.
She ain't got nothin'.
Let's get outta here.
I got Reggie.
Your half-brother.
So you spoke to him?
Haven't found him yet.
When I do, I promise you,
I am going to piece together
what exactly happened
that night.
LeMarcus, wake up.
How do you think it is gonna
look when someone like Reggie,
who has two felony
possession charges
and assault and battery,
shows up
in front of an all-white jury
in Missouri
attempted-murder charges
to a guy who is
permanently injured?
One look at that jack,
and I'd be able to know
that he was the one
that kicked K.C.'s ass.
But guess what?
This is America.
[whispers] Nobody cares
about your brother.
[normal voice] The only one they were
able to spot that night in that melee
was one LeMarcus James,
star quarterback.
And so the state police
picked you up
and hit you with charges,
but some
deep-pocketed booster,
who I think
I just fucking met,
stepped in
and paid off K.C.
and his family.
Because that's what we do
in big football, right?
You protect the phenom
when he has a chance of bringing
home that national title this year.
Sound about right?
I suggest you let
Dr. Eric patch you up tonight,
and then we do a joint press
conference in the morning.
All the head honchos
up in the penthouse,
heads bowed,
agreeing that,
yes, there is a problem.
And then you play.
You win, and you get
to take that victory lap
you have been
dreaming about since...
since you stood
on the sidelines
watching your big brother
in north Virginia.
And then change does come
because of you, eventually.
And that is something
you both can be proud of.
I got a question.
Are you completely fucking
heartless, or just a little bit?
- Oh, my God.
- [Emmett] How do you live with yourself?
- Honestly, how do you live with yourself?
- [shouts] I am not heartless!
You do not know me!
You think I don't know
your struggle?
You think I don't know what you have
come from? That I haven't been there?
You think I don't know
what it's like
to be without heat
in your house?
That I don't know
what it's like
to not be able
to afford your jersey,
and you are
avoiding your coach
'cause you don't have
the $50 to pay for it?
[voice breaking]
I ran track at Duke, okay?
Full ride.
No big medals, no big wins.
But I took that money because it was
the only way I was gonna run myself
out of that
Red Hook project.
You think you know me.
You don't know me.
I had to fight and climb
and crawl to be here
because I did the work.
The NCAA spends $3.6 billion
on student-athlete
scholarships for kids like me,
like you and like you,
so that we can get a leg up.
And what happens
to all of that
when they start paying you?
What happens to volleyball
in Minnesota,
to soccer in Idaho,
to softball in South Carolina?
What happens to
all of those other sports
that are not men's football
and basketball?
You out here fighting,
and you forgot who you're fighting for.
You know, but...
[clears throat, sighs]
Hey, what do I know?
I'm heartless.
[door opens]
[door closes]
[crowd chattering]
[on TV] Hi, everybody, and good morning
from the Big Easy. I'm Steve Levy.
We are some 12 hours away
from tonight's Snickers
National Title game.
Now, I'm being told
that a midnight deal
may have been brokered
with LeMarcus James.
Details still remain
a little bit sketchy,
but there's a news conference
scheduled for a couple hours from now.
My sources tell me
that both teams
could be
at full strength tonight,
and that includes James.
You know what else
that means?
Strike up the band.
Fire up that old grill.
We're gonna have some great
football action for you to...
The 13-1 Cougars
against the undefeated Wolves,
the two best players
in the country...
Or will it?
Even with the rumors
of a late-night deal
with LeMarcus James,
many oddsmakers still doubt
he will actually play tonight.
So the question is,
can James Lazor's Wolves
win without
their star quarterback?
I'm not so sure.
Well, yeah.
He and LeMarcus have the same mother.
Yeah, they both grew up
in Virginia.
he played JUCO football,
but that fizzled out
after they cut him
for having
too many concussions.
I would start
with the state prisons.
Even try
mental health facilities.
We need to do
a social media backdoor too.
I doubt that
he even has an account,
- but we have got to find him.
- [knocking]
He is our pressure point.
Oh. Coach.
I got your message.
This thing
we're toying with,
it's Pandora's box,
you know?
I know.
Nobody gets hurt.
Nobody goes to jail.
- We just play this game.
- That's what we all want.
[Emmett] Dear Lord,
the trees are thick, and we've yet
to see a path through the wilderness.
Send us a light.
Show us the way.
Amen. [coughing]
I can't believe you've been here
this whole time and didn't tell us.
What? You thought I was
gonna miss the show?
[LeMarcus chuckles quietly]
I'm sorry.
No, hey, you don't
owe me anything.
You're the one, the two of you,
who had the guts and vision...
I meant about her.
Oh. [inhales sharply]
Yeah. Her.
[inhales sharply]
I made my own bed
on that one, so...
"Thou shalt
not commit adultery"
is the seventh Commandment.
Thank you
for clarifying that, Emmett.
You're welcome.
[LeMarcus] Look, Elliott,
we can't thank you enough, man.
Without you, we...
we wouldn't have even had
a shot to pull this off.
What's going on here?
Are we about to hold hands
and feel good
about your little protest?
'Cause I thought you guys
were in it to win it.
You know,
as if it were, say,
the national title.
Let me give you a little something
I stumbled across from my travels.
I believe that's your coach's.
Wasn't even wrapped
in aluminum.
Amateur move.
Yeah, but what's the point of this?
We can't unlock it.
Do you need to?
You know what's on it.
And you're a quarterback.
You know how to bluff the other team.
So you're saying
we keep going?
That's not my decision.
It's not even
about which one is right.
It's about, which one are you
gonna be able to live with,
no matter how it goes,
how much you suffer
the consequences.
I'm just letting you know
you still have some options.
- [coughing]
- It's off to Rome for me, comrades.
- Wait, you ain't staying for the game?
- Nah, opiate for the masses.
It's, like,
too much winning for my taste.
I'm so proud
of you guys.
You did this.
You alone.
And it was...
It was
fucking magnificent.
Veni, vidi...
- Vici.
- Vici.
- [door closes]
- [coughing]
[LeMarcus] Goddamn.
we're about due
for our surrender.
What you thinkin'?
I don't fucking know.
My head is pounding.
Where's that doc?
Yeah, I'll go get him.
He said he'd wait in the lobby.
Damn, you sick.
See if I can get you another IV.
I'll be back in ten.
[door closes]
[Mike] As soon as he gets here,
we'll have the coach and him reunite,
uh, pleasantries, and then we'll
get right to inviting the media in.
I'll give them a few minutes.
They'll go off to play.
[knocking on door]
Here we go.
[Everly] Hey!
- LeMarcus has risen.
- There he is.
All right.
Great to see you.
Can I get you something?
Some water? A Snickers?
- [laughter]
- I'm good, thanks.
[Mike] You were a little under the
weather, but you're better now.
- [Mike] That's good news.
- [Wes] Not for us.
[Everly] True.
[Mike] Um,
I just wanted to, uh,
get us to have
a little face-to-face
before we bring
the cameras in here.
I was just telling
the coach here
how impressed I was
with, uh, your conduct.
Very honorable.
[Coach Lazor] LeMarcus.
The team is back.
They heard
about this deal, and...
everybody else
is playin' this.
It's just you
and Emmett now.
These gentlemen are
giving you a committee,
and they are gonna address
all of your grievances.
time to put on
those pads,
join your brothers,
and do battle.
Everybody's countin'
on you.
I'm countin' on you.
You know, I assure you,
this isn't
a ceremonial committee.
We're gonna dig down
into these issues
and figure out
what's best for all of us.
All right?
Like the coach said,
we have a game to play.
- Let's get the cameras in...
- I didn't say yes.
What's that?
I didn't say yes.
What would it take
in your mind
to get to yes?
Well, our demands
haven't changed.
[Katherine] That's
the sealed case file
from that fateful night
at the Gin Mill.
The detectives investigated
for two weeks, and then...
...suddenly, K.C. Walton
decided to drop the charges.
A lot of movin' pieces
in there, LeMarcus.
This thing is a minefield.
- You find my brother yet?
- [Katherine] Getting close.
I'd really love to stop the
search and just have a beer,
watch a football game.
Well, why don't
we tell 'em, Coach?
We're a wolf pack, right?
We hunt together,
we starve alone.
Ain't that the creed
you always preach?
Why don't we tell everybody
how high up this really goes?
Stop. Just stop.
Look, you come out
of this now,
you're not just
a Heisman Trophy winner,
NFL first-rounder.
You're an icon now.
You've already accomplished that.
You're the Curt Flood
of collegiate athletics.
You're making
history here already.
They're gonna write books
about you.
Now, don't throw
everything away for-for
whatever this
self-righteous bullshit is.
Come on, man.
You've worked too hard.
[grunts softly]
We've worked too hard
for this.
Let's just go
fuckin' win this thing.
That's all that
really matters, right?
Just win.
So that's what I did.
I won every damn game I could.
Conference championships,
Heisman Trophy...
I won and I won and I won.
Until you were so blind, you didn't
even see the game I was really playin'.
You see,
in order to slay Goliath,
you gotta do it on the biggest
stage with the brightest lights.
Millions of people,
an entire system,
so desperate
for one more win,
they'd do anything,
give anything.
No matter how many bodies
you gotta stand on top of.
And then you got
your professor
who's fuckin'
the coach's wife...
to give you
everything you need.
And you win.
- You motherfucker!
- [excited chattering]
- You ungrateful bi...
- Coach, don't do it.
Goddamn you,
you fucking ungrateful...
Jesus fucking Christ,
My wife! My wife!
Oh, my God.
Jesus Christ, man.
Everything we've been through together...
I've done for you...
You were a pimply faced
little 16-year-old boy,
scared to leave home.
And I looked your mother
in the eyes,
and I said,
"I will take care of your boy."
And that's
what I've done.
Treated you like my own.
Like my own son.
How could you...
Goddamn, LeMarcus.
[breathes shakily] Why?
For all the ones
to come, Coach.
The ones
who ain't as fortunate.
Get this broken system
So no more of us
get banged up
and forced back
into poverty,
just like what happened
to Reggie.
You were the only one
who knew about that file.
And you stoop even lower,
and you bring Reggie into this?
What, to you he's just...
he's just some pawn
that you can use against me?
He was my brother.
He was a human being.
Reggie died four months ago
in Tallahassee.
He took his own life.
[quietly] Oh, Jesus. Fuck.
Y'all didn't know.
And what's worse, y'all don't even care.
There's always
some new batch of kids
that get you more wins
and get you more money.
I am not your son.
I'm a man.
Yeah, you are.
And I love you.
But I got
a football game to win.
[door opens]
[door closes]
[Mike clears throat]
Gentlemen, um,
would you step out
for a minute?
Give us some time?
You open up that minefield, it's
gonna be more than just me and Reggie.
On Coach's phone,
we got emails
from prosecutors,
law enforcement.
All of 'em were involved
in the cover-up.
Shoot, even the governor
chest bumps in the
locker room on game day.
Coach's phone, you'll find a text
where he promises to take care of it.
The martyr.
Willing to die
for the cause.
I find that courageous.
But what about Emmett Sunday?
You said you were
doing this for him.
Miss Poe?
[Katherine clears throat]
"It was chaos.
People everywhere.
Then all of a sudden,
LeMarcus James, the quarterback,
showed up
with someone else.
[clears throat] A big guy.
It was really dangerous.
Then the big white guy
flew through the crowd
and hit one guy
who dropped like he was dead and
threw another guy into a wall.
LeMarcus grabbed the man
the crew were beating on,
and everyone ran.
- Like I said, it was chaos."
- That was self-defense.
Maybe so. Maybe so.
But does it matter?
We go down this road,
they won't be putting you
on trial,
they'll be putting
your best friend, Emmett.
Now, do you have the stomach
to watch the sharks
rip him apart limb by limb
in front of the whole world
and leave him destroyed,
LeMarcus, you're standing
toe-to-toe with the behemoth,
and we haven't even
begun to fight.
College football is more
important than you,
me, Emmett,
or whatever really is
on that phone.
The American people
will let the state of
Missouri fall under the sea
rather than give up
Saturday afternoon,
drunk and roaring
for their alma mater.
We're inevitable
as the rain.
Now, you gonna put
on that helmet or not?
[crowd cheering]
[sportscaster on TV] ...gearing up for
the college football national title game.
The fans are buzzing
with excitement...
[Emmett] "Inevitable"?
Like what?
The rain.
"I'm inevitable
as the rain."
- Feels powerful.
- Mm-hmm.
It was.
[bones popping]
Gonna have to drain the fluid
out of this damn thing again.
You look better. Lighter.
Finally breathe
through my nose.
By the way,
that Doc Holliday head fake,
you playing like you were on your
deathbed, was sure good.
Lacked the nuance of Kilmer,
but, uh, I bought it.
I'll be your Huckleberry.
[both chuckle]
You sure they didn't try
to use me against you?
I swear.
'Cause if I find out
that you were...
Trust me.
They know this fight hurts them
way more than it hurts us.
All those people involved in the
cover-up, they ain't doin' shit.
[Levy] The Superdome in New Orleans
is ready to explode with excitement.
Tonight, it's the Snickers
National Title game.
Hi, everybody,
and good evening.
I'm Steve Levy,
along with Malcolm Jenkins,
and this one has
all the makings.
- This could be a classic.
- No.
[Levy] We're talking about
for years to come...
- Leave it.
- ...for a variety of reasons.
A lot of the controversy
still looms
with LeMarcus James bein'
missin' from the action,
as he continues his fight
against the NCAA practices,
- a stance that has gone crazy on social media...
- Whoo. Yes, sir.
...with the viral hashtag,
"Fix the System."
[Levy] How about
one million tweets
the last 12 hours alone?
My sense is,
this is only the beginning.
How do you think that translates onto the
field the next 60 minutes we'll see tonight?
[Jenkins] I think you'll see these
coaches have these teams prepared.
These players have worked
so hard to get to this moment,
that I think
they'll be focused...
At least we made
some noise, right?
...knowing that
this is everything...
Oh, that wasn't just noise.
The truth is out now
because of us.
And they can't hide it.
Now more people are gonna
stand up, a lot more.
And they'll know
right where to hit 'em.
Hell, yeah.
Man, we're like the Rebels
in Rogue One.
We die on the beach,
but the plans for the Death
Star make it off the island.
Nothing is inevitable
except the truth.
If I go down
Don't let me fall
For nothing
Give me all my time
I want it all
And, honey
I made it out
A hundred miles
I'm running
So if I go down
Don't let me fall Don't
let me fall For nothing
What is your right?
What would it cost to toss
All your morals aside?
Piece of the pie
Something foreign to drop
What would you put
On the line?
They say they can guarantee
All the money you need
If you trade in
Your soul first
When the money and ego
Bring out the evil In people
What is your soul worth?
Let us pray
Father forgive 'em 'Cause they
do not know What they've done
Came from the bottom
The slums
We got it straight
Out of the mud
Only because the pressure They
tried to put on me Was never enough
Mama was right When she
called me A son of a gun
So you'd better duck May heaven
forgive you For pressing your luck
I made it out
A hundred miles
I'm running
So if I go down
Don't let me fall Don't
let me fall For nothing...