Bob Franken

The NFL and Limbaugh: Unnecssary Rushness

I mean, what was Rush Limbaugh thinking? Did he really believe that his comments about race that many consider outright bigotry would be forgotten…particularly in a league where two thirds of the rosters are African-American?

Was he really surprised that superstar Donovan McNabb had not forgotten Limbaugh’s assessment just six years ago that he was “…overrated… because “.. what we have here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback can do well—black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well.”

We he really surprised that McNabb and some other of the players were suggesting they would boycott the team, wouldn’t show up to play? Is he surprised now that the people who want to buy into the NFL have dumped him?

This was one of those rare cases where Congresswoman Shelia Jackson-Lee had made an understatement on the House floor. Rush Limbaugh ” is not”, she said, “someone who brings people together”.

That is true. Unless we count the fact that Limbaugh has brought Democrats together in opposition to his dream of getting a stake in a football team. Uniting Democrats is no easy task, just ask President Obama.

Limbaugh is not an understatement type either, thundering “I wonder if Ms. Jackson Lee to have any regard for the truth. Does she have any regard for hoping, desiring to sound intelligent and knowledgeable, or is she content to be happy and proud to go the floor of the House of Representatives and make a fool of herself?

The question here was who was making a fool of whom?

This was not a free speech issue. The man can say whatever he wants, no matter how mean-spirited. He’s gotten rich doing it…wealthy enough to buy into a football team. But people have a right to hold him accountable for what he utters. That’s what’s happened here.

After all these years of thumbing his nose at sizable segments of our society, his targets were getting back by symbolically using another finger to signify their feelings about his buying into the sports arena. After all, how good would his offense be if it only ran to the right?

OK. That’s a bad joke. But Rush Limbaugh’s involvement in the NFL would also have been bad joke, an unfunny one. This is probably where I should acknowledge that it was another Franken, now Senator Al Franken, who wrote the best-seller “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot”

Being an idiot doesn’t always disqualify someone from owning a sports franchise. Those of us who are Washington Redskins fans know that all to well. But Dan Snyder has never been accused of being a racist. Incompetent yes. Racist no.

That is the charge against Limbaugh, at least one of them. The owners of the other teams, who would have a say in whether Limbaugh can become one of them, made it clear they were thinking long and hard about whether they want to add the kind of turbulence he would have brought to the league. Put another way, it was really really hard to conceive of Rush Limbaugh as a team player. Or owner. So now it’s a Rush to the exits and his next uproar.

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