Why Denying Rush Limbaugh NFL Ownership Will Not Be Easy

Bryan FlynnAnalyst IOctober 12, 2009

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 10:  Rush Limbaugh during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Spyglass Hill Golf Course in Pebble Beach, California on February 10, 2006.  (Photo by Marc Feldman/Getty Images)

It is widely known that Rush Limbaugh along with St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts is part of a group to buy the St. Louis Rams if the team is for sale. This has set off a firestorm of players and the union against this purchase.

To be fair to all parties lets break this down from every perspective. First let’s look at Limbaugh and his radio and political stance.

Rush is a conservative, a Republican and a vocal opponent of sitting President Barack Obama. I have never met Limbaugh, but I have listened to his radio show.

Say what you want about him and his view points, but he does his job well. This makes people who listen love him and hate him.

To me Rush comes off as a wrestling character in the WWE. He does and says things to get a reaction out of people.

Radio Limbaugh might not be the real life Limbaugh. The man gets ratings from his show by the character he plays on radio.

That doesn’t mean radio Limbaugh and real life Limbaugh do not think alike. Unless you have met the man in real life you do not know.

Limbaugh has had his run-ins with the NFL. There were his comments on Donovan McNabb and the way NLF players looked. Here is a look at two of the more famous quotes Rush is known for:

"I don't think he's [Donovan McNabb] been that good from the get-go.  I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL.  I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well.  They're interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well.  I think there's a little hope invested in McNabb and he got a lot of credit for the performance of his team that he really didn't deserve.  The defense carried this team."

This was Limbaugh’s statement about Donovan McNabb after he was hired to be on Sunday NFL Countdown on ESPN. Rush gave an opinion like he was hired to do and there is nothing in that statement that is racist.

The whole city of Philadelphia at times—let me rephrase—since he was drafted, has not thought McNabb was a quarterback that could take them to a Super Bowl victory. In fact Eagles fans booed when he was drafted.

All Rush said was McNabb’s success was manufactured by the media. Limbaugh never said black quarterbacks are bad or they could not play quarterback. He did say the media in this politically correct country wanted black quarterback and coaches to do well.

ESPN hired Limbaugh to give opinions and when he gave one and it was totally blown out of context ESPN threw him under the bus. McNabb has never been the conversation of greatest quarterbacks of all time and never will.

Say what you want there is nothing in the statement above that is racist against McNabb or black quarterbacks. What Limbaugh was basically saying was that McNabb is overrated.

Limbaugh’s other statement made on his radio show:

“Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons.”

To be fair to Rush, what did the NFL do with all the do-rags and other gangster acts by players? That is right, they banned them.

It was not to make white people happy. It was to protect brand marketing. No sports league or product wants to be associated with gang violence. The comment was not necessarily racist but could have been said with more tact.

As far as other owners and commissioner Roger Goodell goes there is another problem with blocking Rush from being a part owner in the NFL. The Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney might have caused it as well.

In the last presidential election Rooney gave money and publicly supported Barack Obama. The league had no problem with Rooney’s stance. After Obama was elected, Rooney took an ambassador's job in Ireland.

Now that someone from the other side of the political spectrum wants to own a team, it would be hard for the NFL to say no. The league has opened the door for Limbaugh to own a team.

If not for Rooney supporting Obama in the last election the NFL would not have an issue of owners in politics already. Most of the outrage over what Limbaugh says or him owning a team is because of his political leanings.

The NFL might reject Limbaugh from owning a team, but they will have to find something other than politics and his radio show. Rush has been the center of controversy before, so he will not shy away from owning a team.

Last several players and the union have come out against Limbaugh owning a team. Most notability Bart Scott and Mathias Kiwanuka have publicly stated they would not play for the Rams if Rush was a part owner.

I have no problem with anyone taking a stance on principle. They can be athletes, actors, or singers.Tthey have the right to use their fame how they see fit.

There are two things that will keep players from doing a lot of speaking out or signing with the Rams. The union should watch out for both of these reasons.

The first is the “Michael Jordan” political stance. Jordan once said famously when asked why he does not get in to politics or take a stand on issues. The most famous athlete in the world said Republicans buy sneakers, too.

Players will have to start to worry that Republicans buy tickets, jerseys, and other things. The Dixie Chicks can attest to the backlash for taking a stand politically.

The last reason players will not speak out about Rush is having to eat crow later. NFL players have a three-year career average length.

A pro football player has to make as much money as they can before they are out of the sport. If during free agency a player has two contract offers and the Rams are offering the most money, will any player turn it down?

It is nice to have principles, but when it comes down to money everyone takes the highest offer.  Athletes from every sport have said they will never play for this team or coach or whatever and then go player for whom or whatever they said they never would.

Players will always go where the money is. Scott is signed with the Jets for the next six years and has been in the league for five years.

It’s easy for Scott to say he would never play for the Rams if Limbaugh is the owner. Unless he is cut Scott will never be a free agent again. Playing linebacker for 11 years in the NFL, Scott will not be a big free agent after his Jets contract is over.

As far as Kiwanuka goes, he will be in the league five years before his contract with the Giants is up. He will only have one chance to make big money in free agency. There is no way Kiwanuka will pass up more money from the Rams to take less money in his only big money free agency period.

It could happen and free agents will not sign with the St. Louis. The problem is no matter what an athlete says they will take the money no matter who the owner or part owner is.

The players, people outside the NFL are making a lot of noise about Limbaugh and all he would be is a part owner. Likely, Rush would be like most owners and keep his mouth shut about the league and players.

As a NFL owner Limbaugh will have to tone down his radio character and the owners are in a tight spot to deny him owning a team. Dan Rooney has opened the door for Rush to come in.

Players have to show the Rams, the NFL, and the country that when it comes down to it they will not take the money and run. Principles are nice but when it comes down to it they can be bought and sold like anything else.


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