Commentary: Pull up stakes on Rush

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 4:49pm

The old term “political football” took on a whole new meaning with word that conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was part of a group hoping to purchase the St. Louis Rams.

After some players commented that they wouldn’t want to play for a Limbaugh-owned franchise, and NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith voiced concerns on the matter, others stepped into the fray to publicly denounce the idea — everyone ranging from Colts owner Jim Irsay to commissioner Roger Goodell to predictable publicity-seekers Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

And so it ended up that the group headed by Dave Checketts, where Limbaugh would have been a minority partner, decided to move on in their pursuit of the Rams without the controversial conservative commentator.

Yes, Limbaugh’s views can be polarizing on certain subjects. His relentless attacks on liberals have at the same time made him entertaining, influential, antagonizing and rich.

There are those who even paint Limbaugh as the unofficial spokesman of the Republican Party. But he no more speaks for all Republicans than Jackson or Sharpton speak for all Democrats. The fact of the matter is, Limbaugh is not so much a politician, but an outspoken conservative who above all is — an entertainer and a businessman.

He speaks his opinions, and those opinions draw an audience and a reaction — no different than Bill O’Reilly, Keith Olbermann or any of the many others who make their living discussing and even railing on the ideas and issues coming out of Washington.

The fact that he has those who believe in him eating out of his hand, and those who detest his message going out of their way to sabotage and critique his every word is a testament to just how effective Limbaugh is at doing what he does.

But the NFL wanted no part of Limbaugh’s outspokenness — Goodell said as much earlier in the week.

The fact of the matter is Limbaugh would have only owned a small stake in the Rams. He would not have been the mouthpiece of the organization, only a minority shareholder.

But outside of George Steinbrenner and Jerry Jones, how many pro sports franchise owners can the non-avid sports fan really name off the top of their head?

Need proof? The Boston Red Sox recent blip of success has helped make them enormously popular among many who follow baseball on a casual, or even bandwagon, basis. Who owns them?

The answer is John Henry. But unless you’re a big baseball fan or have ties to the Boston area, I could have told you a conglomerate from Taiwan owned the BoSox and many of you wouldn’t have known the difference.

Heck, not many people knew that George W. Bush had once owned baseball’s Texas Rangers until he was elected President in 2000.

So based on that, what did it really matter that Limbaugh would have had a small stake in the Rams? If he had the money and wanted to do it, why not?

Does anyone associate Microsoft with the Seattle Seahawks? The same guy, Paul Allen, owns both.

Titans’ owner Bud Adams made his money in oil, but is anyone thinking about gas prices while watching Keith Bulluck make a tackle or Kerry Collins throw a pass?

It is possible to separate the two entities, even if you love one and despise the other.

Look at it this way. When I buy a new CD, it’s because the music of the artist appeals to me. When I’m listening to it, I’m not thinking about whether the drummer’s view of the health care reform matches my own.

But the guess here is that in the end, NFL owners steered clear of such a polarizing figure, choosing instead to stay the course in their usual vanilla way of doing business.
Imagine that, the NFL being too conservative for Rush Limbaugh.


11 Comments on this post:

By: courier37027 on 10/16/09 at 5:15

All that should matter are the ability of new ownership group to pay, willignness of Frontiere family sell and 75% of NFL owners on board for transaction. As far as some players saying they would not play for Limbaugh as part of ownership group, there are many who will take an NFL salary as long as the checks are good. In case you weren't paying attention, NFL players make good money.

By: dgallent on 10/17/09 at 7:08

This is not about Limbaugh, it is the rejection of conservatism and the attempt of a competing group to smear another competing group for the Rams. The bitter racist comments attributed to Limbaugh were completely false perpetrated by race hustlers Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson along with Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post & ESPN, who surprised me. Also complicit was DeMaurice Smith, head of the NFL players union, a former trial lawyer, Obama supporter, donor and member of his transition team.

The central figure in all of this is Dave Checketts whom I have know for almost 20 years. Checketts is the single most ambitious person I have ever met and his word at the time about anything is just that....what he meant then...only to change if circumstances get in his way. Checketts is an empty suit. After recruiting Rush into the deal, he then threw him under the bus.

Apparently the erroneous racial quotes came from a law firm in NYC. Checkett's mistake is that he did not elicit ACORN as a partner and pay off Sharpton and Jackson like 50 other American companies do each year to buy their silence (this used to be called extortion).

Thanks for uniting America, Barack Obama.

By: slzy on 10/18/09 at 10:13

i believe it was bud adams Father who made the oil money.

By: eastnashville37207 on 10/19/09 at 2:13

I for one will not buy the NFL package anymore in protest of the NFL's rejecting Rush.

By: pandabear on 10/19/09 at 7:25

I'm not republican or democrat,
but why would a sports franchise want to be
associated with a fat, loud mouth drug addict ?

By: Alphadog7 on 10/19/09 at 7:41

Those who oppose Limbaugh could have made their case a lot more clearly if they had told Sharpton and Jackson to stay home, and merely state that Limbaugh is a controversial personality, the NFL would rather not have him. For Sharpton and Jackson to accuse Rush of being a divisive racist is such an outrageous level of hypocrisy it became a joke. Add to that people like Jay-Z being an owner of the Nets and other controversial owners, the hypocrisy is getting really really nuts.

McNabb should be quiet too, he's just PO'd that Rush said he was overrated.

By: Time for Truth on 10/19/09 at 9:27

This is really no business of Sharpton and Jackson. Alphadog's point is well taken-glass houses and all. But if Checketts wants to put Rush by the side of the road, that's his right. Free market, right? Limbaugh's idiotic comment about Donovan McNabb is reason enough to make his NFL participation questionable and certainly makes players' reaction justifiable.

Limbaugh is an arrogant blowhard, and his worshippers accept his many misrepresentations of the truth as fact. He helped saddle the Republican Party with Sarah 'Caribou Barbie' Palin and he fills the small minds of ill-informed dittoheads with divisve nonsense. He has never done anything FOR our country, including armed services duty, but has certainly gained much from it.

Interestingly, Limbaugh, the champion of conservative selfishness and corporatism, was a loser boy who spent time on the government dime (as a recipient of unemployment) before he became a commentator. And Bush, the enemy of high taxes, had the value of the Texas Rangers and his eventual profit greatly increased as the beneficiary of a taxpayer-funded new stadium.

By: govskeptic on 10/19/09 at 9:30

This entire story has much more to do with politics than
football. The football portion was just a venue for the
Dir of Players Assoc. , Al Sharpton, and many media
players to take a swipe at an influencial political
commentator they terribly dislike. These owners like
our Health Ins. companies have a waiver for anti-trust
actions that keep them in a small but lucative cocoon.

By: pswindle on 10/19/09 at 9:39

Rush was his own problem. With years of smearing of folk, who would want to take a chance on him. A lot of the players were uncomfortable with him. He was not that important, and he was not worthj of the problem that he would create.

By: shenanigan on 10/19/09 at 12:11

Faces the facts, Rush sucks! they no doubt Limbaugh would destroy the Rams and do it with a solid white team,no blacks players for Rush.
If you're not a house servant then your not on any payroll of Rush

By: gwolfes on 10/19/09 at 8:31

My, my! Isn't it interesting that sitting opposite Rush is old friend Mark Cuban, who just happens to own the NBA Mavericks. Mark Cuban, who just happens to be somewhere to left of Karl Marx. Mark Cuban and leftists everywhere, including those above, always manage to reveal..... no, better word: expose...... themselves. And they never even realize they have done it.