Friday, October 16, 2009

Those Liberal NFL Executives

Now it's not only Rush Limbaugh. The controversial talk show host on Thursday giddily quoted Tony Dungy, former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, about the interest of an ownership group including Limbaugh to bid for the St. Louis Rams:

You know, I guess it bothered a lot of people, it really didn't bother me. I think anybody should have the right to pursue whatever they want, they should go through the process just like anyone else and there would be 28 owners that would vote and I think the process should be able to go forth. I don't like it when people say "because of this he shouldn't be allowed to do that." We don't have any minority ownership in the NFL right now, and I think, you know, that just strikes me as the same thing, because of the way this guy looks, because of the way he sounds, because of his political bent, that he shouldn't be allowed to own a team, I think that's something that the 28 owners should decide and not the general public.

Rush was oh, so excited that a black man would come to his defense. Of course, Dungy (who is wrong about Michael Vick, too) was confused when he equated rejection of El Rushbo because of his controversial statements, past, present, and future, with that of minority ownership. Dungy's suggestion that Limbaugh was eliminated from consideration in part "because of the way this guy looks, because of the way he sounds" is passing strange, if not ignorant. Rush (yet again) has taken off a lot of weight- for which he deserves credit- and looks relatively good; and his voice is certainly entertaining, if not pleasing.

But if Dungy's remarks about Rush Limbaugh were surprising, or at least unexpected, not so the editorial comment of the Wall Street Journal. The unofficial, though nearly official, voice of unregulated corporate power in America wrote

We suspect Mr. Limbaugh during his broadcast yesterday put his finger exactly on what is going on here. He said that NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith was using Mr. Limbaugh's controversial status as leverage against the league owners in the union's difficult negotiations over a collective-bargaining agreement....

What happened here, and is happening elsewhere in American life, is that Mr. Limbaugh's outspoken political conservatism is being deemed sufficient reason to ostracize him from polite society.

It's those and narrow-minded and intimidating liberals again, the National Football League being, according to Limbaugh, "an outpost of racism and liberalism." It is, of course, the profit motive- never questioned by Limbaugh or The WSJ- at work. Still, let's look at those "liberals"- the NFL owners- who didn't want any part of Rush Limbaugh. No, not at their statements- but at their actions, as reflected by campaign contributions. (Note to U.S. Supreme Court- giving money is behavior, not speech. Please use a little common sense.) In this piece, which includes an interesting chart (but the Los Angeles Rams?), Robert Schlesinger of U.S. News and World Report reports the Center for Responsive Politics

combed through contributions to federal candidates and political committees from 1989through 2009, and tallied all contributions from NFL team owners, executives, players, coaches, and so forth (the teams themselves are of course legally forbidden from making contributions). According to the center's figures, NFLers contributed $6.9 million during that 20-year span, of which 78 percent ($5.45 million) went to Republicans and 21 percent to Democrats ($1.48 million).

The team most generous to Democrats was, ironically, the team- the St. Louis Rams- which Rush wanted to be a part of owning. However, most teams, including the five largest overall givers, contributed more to Republicans than to Democrats.

Liberals, indeed.

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