Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Is NFL treating Rush Limbaugh’s bid with fairness?

October 14, 2009

rushDuring his brief stint as a commentator on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown pre-game show back in 2003, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh was forced to resign after making this controversial comment about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.

“I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team,” Limbaugh said at the time.

In his resignation letter Limbaugh said “my comments this past Sunday were directed at the media and were not racially motivated. I offered an opinion. This opinion has caused discomfort to the crew, which I regret.”

In a league where almost three quarters of its players are African-Americans, including the head of the players’ union, Limbaugh’s attempt to become co-owner of the beleaguered St. Louis Rams, in his home state, has been met with swift opposition.

According to ESPN, DeMaurice Smith, the Executive Director of the NFL Players Association, has written an email to the association’s executive committee, detailing his opposition to Limbaugh’s bid. “I’ve spoken to the Commissioner (Roger Goodell) and I understand that this ownership consideration is in the early stages. But sport in America is at its best when it unifies, gives all of us reason to cheer, and when it transcends. Our sport does exactly that when it overcomes division and rejects discrimination and hatred.”

Commissioner Roger Goodell has already cast doubt on Limbaugh’s viability as an NFL owner, saying that “divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about.” Goodell said that Rams representatives told owners at a recent meeting that they haven’t fully committed to selling the team, which is being shopped by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

UPDATE: Have decided to turn comments off. Sorry about that but felt the debate was generating more heat than light.

(PHOTO CREDIT: Rush Limbaugh pictured in a file photo. REUTERS/Micah Walte)


I would much rather have a DOG KILLER LIKE Vick for an NFL owner, than a MORON RUSH LIMBAUGH.

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive

What a shame,this world has become so politicaly correct that a person can’t even notice the obvious without being called a racist or closed minded. And it is really funny to see all the true closed minded people of our country get all hate filled and cry when someone dosnt agree with them. People say Rush Limbaugh is racist because they havent ever heard him. He has Black Americans host his show when he is out. Proof his political views are just that”political” not racial. How dare he not agree with you! Who’s closed minded?

Posted by jhin | Report as abusive

myself and others think and thought that don errmcnabb was terrible. and why was he kept. he was just terrible, and t.o. and rush have paid for an attempt to show their feelings. rush wasnt an owner or in any position to harm don. he was giving an opinion that many of us feel. NOW IMPORTANT::: IF YOU TAKE AWAY WHAT RUSH THINKS AND FEELS, OR THE AVERAGE WHITE MALE WHO LOVES TO WATCH BLACK ATHLETES OR WHITE ATHLETES COMPETE. YOU WIL LOSE ALL OF OUR SUPPORT. BECAUSE AS MEN BLACK OR WHITE OR GREEN?? WE MUST BE ABLE TO RESPOND AND BE HEARD OTHERWISE WE WILL CONSIDER OURSELVES NOT A PART OF THIS PART OF SOCIETY AND REFRAIN FROM ALL ASPECTS. THANKS

Posted by zack | Report as abusive

Most people against Rush really don’t listen to what Rush says but only hear what they want to hear. We need conversation from both sides so that we really can resolve issues. Right now we have a Liberal dictatorship that is sending our country down in the toliet.

Posted by Rob | Report as abusive

So, just to be clear, we’re OK with a man playing in the league who earned money from betting on dog fights, and who has been convicted of killing dogs, than we are of a man who merely states an opinion via his first amendment right, as a team owner?

Posted by Copernicus Paul | Report as abusive

Ok you left nut jobs, if you ever heard Rush talk you would know he is not a racist. If you heard him talk with an OPEN MIND then you would see, but all you do is listen to the other LEFT NUT JOBS and side with them. Maybe you should step away from the cool-aid and listen for yourself and not to what people are telling you to listen to. I think he would make a great owner of any NFL Team. Do the RIGHT thing and open you minds and listen to the truth try this it may help

Posted by jen | Report as abusive



Posted by xinunus | Report as abusive

I don’t nor have I ever supported Rush Limbaugh. However,this being said, I support his right to purchase the Rams and denounce those who feel they have the right to prevent it. This is America, although I don’t know what this really means anymore.

Posted by mike chat | Report as abusive

first of all i hate seeing the term “reverse racism” because it doesnt make any sense. it doesnt matter the ethnicity of the racist or the ethnic group to whom he/she refers. the word “reverse” makes it seem as if it is more or less acceptable in one direction versus another.

to rush supporters, you are right that there are plenty of people who say and believe much more racist things than rush has ever said. i just think his comments do an unjustice to athletes in general. comparing football players to “the boods and the crips” is just ignorant. there are thousands of people who resort to drugs, theft, violence, gangs, and criminal behavior. but professional athletes spend every day in the gym and on the practice field. they go home at night to their families. they dedicate themselves to be great at something, and their service is valuable to our society as millions of people appreciate this form of entertainment. these guys set a better example for human beings than rush does. he just enjoys controversy.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Rush loves the game of football, he admires and respects the talent of the football players, he travels to different stadiums to follow the game. Rush deserves to be part of football.

The bottom line is this, Rush’s enemies want to bring him down because he is against President Obama’s agenda and President Obama’s friends are willing to lie about quotes to keep Rush down and discredit him. If we let these people attack Rush and we don’t defend him and demand the truth about those quotes, who will defend us if they attack us if we speak against Obama? Do the honest and fair thing, demand CNN and MSNBC to prove the quotes are true or demand that they apologize to Rush Limbaugh.

Posted by E. Garcia | Report as abusive

Agree with “E.Garcia’s” comment

Posted by jim calkins | Report as abusive

oh the hypocracy. First I will say I am not a supporter nor a hater of Rush. He has right to his opinion. People have taken outrage to the words he has used. Nelly, Fergy for example are two entertainers that have stakes in professional sports teams. There “words” aka lyrics can’t be play in most publice arenas due to the vileness. What makes that different than Rush’s lyrics?

For the president of the players association to have such a stark opinion, I say mind to your own sheep. Since 2000 there have been over 500 NFL players arrested. DWI’s, Domestic Abuse, drugs, the list goes on….These players will time and time again support there peers suggesting everyone deserves a second chance. Why wouldn’t we consider a successful capitalist try to run a bottom of the barrel franchise? We have seen worse of late haven’t we?

Posted by Tim | Report as abusive

If Rush is not deserving to be part owner of an NFL team then we need to be allowed to publicly examine the political and personal beliefs of ALL NFL owners to see if they too are deserving.

Perhaps if we do not agree with their ideologies we should take their teams away and give them to some people who are more politically correct–depending upon how we decide to define it at the moment.

Frankly I don’t care what happens but as long as the transaction is legal then it is a dangerous slippery slope to start subjectively determining who is worthy of ownership of any kind in this country based on their ideology and political views. Rest assured, there is somebody out there who thinks YOU are out of the mainstream. Should they be allowed to bring pressure on you to prevent you from owning property??

Posted by Watts | Report as abusive

It’s funny that the NFL gives the thugs and troublemakers on thier temas second and even third chances when they screw up, but Rush will never ever be forgiven for somethig he said over 6 years ago.

Rush is being shot down becasue of his views. Period.

Posted by Hawkeye | Report as abusive

If Fergie can own a damn football team then Limbaugh sure as hell can!

Posted by J | Report as abusive

Who is going to tell the current owners that the current winning all cash bid has to be rejected and they will have to take a much lower amount and carry the financing? Rush will be good for the sport, he has already is.


Who cares if he is treated fairly! If he were a fair man, maybe…we reap what we sow, dude. Ahhh, karma. :)


The simple fact is, the ‘divisive comments’ limbaugh is repeatedly accuse of making are PHONY.


He didn’t say ‘slavery had its merits’ and he didn’t say ‘we miss you, James Earl Ray’… those are faked, slanderous nonevents… and almost EVERY MEDIA OUTLET has been repeating them as if they were real, and NOBODY CHECKED to see if they really happened.

So when Goodell says “divisive comments”, I for one want to know exactly what he thinks he’s talking about.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

Irony is Rush isn’t buying the team, He is a single member of a group of individuals trying to buy the team.

Posted by half truth | Report as abusive

Let Limbaugh buy the team. His political views are shared by many in this country and should not keep him from engaging in a purely business endeavor. I’m a bleeding heart LIBERAL compared to him when in comes to politics, but I respect his right to express his opinion. Leave the politics for the corporate sponsored pundits and let the Rams fans have an owner willing to throw his millions where his mouth is and bring them a winning team. If Limbaugh is that person, then give him a fair shot at owning the team. No one will care what he says or does as long as the Rams win.

Posted by Terence | Report as abusive

FYI the comments he made are not made up; you can find the clips of him saying the comments on YouTube. Not just audio but video too.

Posted by Mat | Report as abusive

Welcome to Free Market, Rush. NFL feels that you have the potential to cause the NFL to lose fans. And NFL also feels that the majority of your fanbase are already NFL Fans, so you bring nothing to the table. The NFL makes no money with controversy. Sorry, but that’s as “fair” as its gets.

Posted by NFLer | Report as abusive

Fairness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Is the man being treated as he has treated others? The simple answer is yes. It’s what he deserves.


are we totally losing our minds in this great nation of ours? Russ Limbaugh is probably the most famous name in talk radio yet liberals like to call him racist.I have been listen to him for 20 years and never heard a racist remark nor have i heard any lies comes out of his mouth.Russ would be a great owner and since he believes in the free market he may just help this miserable team they call the shams i mean the rams back to their glory years.look first in your own miserable liberal lives before you cast the first stone

Posted by bill Colorado | Report as abusive

There are some really wonderful and rather insightful comments made here with regards to the unfair treatment Mr Limbaugh has recieved at the hands of our way to far in denial liberal oriented media establishment. i don’t suppose that a wee bit of jealousy might be involved with his success allowing him to have aquired the funds necessary to even be part of a group bidding for such a franchise.

Posted by howell clark | Report as abusive