Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Limbaugh, Confused About The NFL

Sports Illustrated has reported that Rush Limbaugh, reportedly a minority (strange word, here) partner in a potential bid to buy the St. Louis Rams, is out:

In a statement released Wednesday evening by St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts -- who is heading the group that hopes to buy the Rams -- he announced Limbaugh's official exit from the bid. It is believed that Limbaugh's controversial participation would have doomed the group's effort in the eyes of NFL owners. League sources told that Limbaugh's candidacy in any Rams bid had "zero chance'' of being approved by the league's owners. In his statement, Checketts said Limbaugh's participation had become "a complication and a distraction'' to the group's efforts.

According to league sources, Limbaugh comes with too much troubling baggage in terms of his outspoken views that often intersect the divisive issues of politics and race in America. In a time when the NFL is hoping to have complete uniformity among its team owners in anticipation of the tough collective bargaining negotiations to come with the players union, there was little interest within the league to associate with an owner who is paid to give his highly charged opinions on the radio for hours each week....

There was swift reaction to the idea of Limbaugh being involved in NFL ownership, and much of it was not favorable. NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith last weekend sent a letter to the group's board urging players to voice their opinion of Limbaugh's participation. And on Tuesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made it clear that Limbaugh would face a high bar regarding approval of his potential stake in the Rams.

"Divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about,'' Goodell said at a two-day NFL owners meeting in Boston. "I've said many times before, we're all held to a high standard here. I would not want to see those comments coming from people who are in a responsible position in the NFL -- absolutely not.''

Shortly before the apparent rejection of Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk-show host on his radio program contended

This is not about the National Football League. It's not about the St. Louis Rams. That's just a subset. This is the latest in a long line of attempts by the left to discredit any of us who believe what we believe. Sarah Palin, the list is as long as I wanted to make it. And I wanted to make sure that I thank you all for your support, and I wanted to make sure you understood that I know exactly what this is all about, and I want you to also understand, I'm not even thinking of exiting. I'm not even thinking of caving. I am not a caver. None of us are. We have been betrayed by too many who have caved. Pioneers take the arrows. We are pioneers. It's a sad thing that our country over 200 years old now needs pioneers all over again, but we do.

The day before, Limbaugh singled out a particular group of "left-wing radical activists":

These are left-wing radical activists who are sports groupies so they become journalists, so they get to hang around with players and all that. And they're nothing but left-wing ideologues. So they try to make this racial stuff stick.

If an ownership group headed by principal Chip Rosenbloom and including his sister Lucia Rodriguez had decided definitively to sell the St. Louis Rams and had accepted a bid from the Checketts group, three-fourths of the NFL owners would have had to approve a sale.

They would not include CNN's Rick Sanchez, whom Limbaugh excoriated today. Nor MSNBC's David Shuster or Tamron Hall, criticized yesterday, along with James Carville. Nor would it include Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, with whom "the State-Controlled Media (has lost) its journalistic character to hop on board with."

It would include Indianapolis Colts' owner Jim Irsay, who stated definitively "I would not be in favor of voting for him.....Sometimes when there are comments made that are inappropriate, incendiary, insensitive ... it's bigger than football." And NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Tuesday "Divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about. I've said many times before, we're all held to a high standard here. I would not want to see those comments coming from people who are in a responsible position in the NFL -- absolutely not.''

Notice Irsay did not charge that Limbaugh's statements about Donovan McNabb or about gangs in the NFL were racist- or even inaccurate. They were "inappropriate" (not sure what that means), "incendiary," and "insensitive." Nor did Supreme Leader Goodell, about whom one might recall this line from the legendary Animal Farm, accuse El Rushbo of bigotry- only being "divisive."

Which is not to suggest that Limbaugh's famous remarks, these and others, weren't racist. Or were racist. Rather, neither Goodell nor the owners care a whole lot whether Rush Limbaugh is a bigot. No, the concern was simple: Limbaugh would have been bad for business. The risk to the league's enormous profit would have been immense. The owners would have voted the Limbaugh group down because, ultimately, the bottom line of the National Football League would have suffered.

Of course, Rush Limbaugh would never admit this. It would be awfully tough for a guy to go on the radio three hours a day, five days a week, 40-50 weeks a year extolling the virtues of unregulated capitalism and concede that he was the victim of very wealthy individuals pursuing the profit motive he worships above all else. (Yes, worship.)

It's ironic that Rush Limbaugh would be tarred, justifiably or otherwise, by the implied accusation of racism. Aside from naked partisanship, the driving force behind the Limbaugh philosophy is furthering the hegemony of the wealthy. Everything pales in comparison to the evil of government involvement in the economy or regulation of business. Corporations are never too large; multimillion profits of chief economic officers, of health insurance companies or otherwise, are never excessive; whatever is done to labor unions or employees is always in the service of freedom and liberty.

We won't hear over the next two, or several, days that Limbaugh's bid to become part-owner of a professional football team was stymied by multi-millionaire owners or a league which has escaped government regulation by virtue of an anti-trust exemption. It will be the union, blacks, white liberals, the "state-controlled media," and all his other enemies, the ones who don't accept the Limbaugh dream of a nation completely controlled by those who have at the expense of those who haven't.

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