“(Rush Limbaugh) can do whatever he wants. It is a free country. But if it goes through, I can tell you where I am not going to play.”

— Mathias Kiwanuka, New York Giants defensive end

For most modern athletes, taking a stand means deciding whether to wear Adidas or Nikes. It means endorsing Coke over Pepsi, Gatorade over Hi-C, Trojans over … well, you get the idea.

Hence, I am elated to see an increasing number of NFL players come out and say that, should Rush Limbaugh own the St. Louis Rams, they would not sign with the team. This isn’t really about Limbaugh … even though it sort of is. What it’s really about is the need for professional athletes to stand up and speak out. Too often, social injustices occur and the most famous among us say nothing. I think of Michael Jordan’s vapid “Republicans but sneakers, too” line. Or Earl Woods, Tiger’s father, once saying that his son was destined to change the world. He was right—he convinced a couple of people to buy Buicks and wear Nike caps. While Charles Barkley was once famous for uttering the inane “Athletes aren’t role models,” he defied that with this courageous, much-needed, pro-gay rights appearance on CNN.

Put simply, the idea of Limbaugh owning an NFL franchise is a joke. For years and years, he has devoted his time to keeping minorities down; to thrashing the rights of African-Americans and belittling their efforts to achieve. He has mocked, degraded and lampooned people of color in this country. Hell, just think back to his Donovan McNabb comments, which were light compared to his general blatherings.

This isn’t a war of conservatives vs. liberals. Trust is, probably 90 percent of NFL owners are right wingers. But Limbaugh, unlike those men, has thrown one grenade after another after another.

9 thoughts on “Principle”

  1. id love to see any nfl player turn down any money from any team because of a minority owner. these guys got no principles. thats why they r playing with non guaranteed contracts and no health payments for old retired players

  2. I listen to Rush and have read his books and think your characterization of Rush is really off the mark. His Donavan McNabb comments were as you previously noted were directed toward white sportswriters – who he thought were taking it easy on McNabb because they wanted a black quarterback to do well and let their desires affect their reporting. That seems reasonable to me, especially because at that time, there were fewer black quarterbacks in the NFL. You may disagree but I don’t think that is a hateful comment. Mark Cuban, on the other hand. ..

  3. So Rush Limbaugh was pointing out the racial foibles of someone else?

    Even if that was the case (which I strongly doubt) who cares? Was there some kind of groundswell of people upset that McNabb got off too easy? Guess what, he’s a quarterback–they all get off too easy.

    Why hasn’t Limbaugh made a statement that Favre gets off too easy because sportswriters want a Mississippian to do well? Its ridiculous.

    And if Limbaugh did want to show the hypocrisies of sportswriters, why would he choose to go after one of the Top Five quarterbacks in the game? Like him or not, McNabb has had a lot of success as a Philadelphia Eagle.

    Limbaugh’s point could have been better made if he chose Akili Smith or Shaun King. You know, a crappy quarterback. Of course, then he’d have to find evidence to back his idiot ramblings and well, that’s too hard to do when there’s percocets and oxy contins to be popped.

    Limbaugh is a fool.

  4. Rush Limbaugh is a charlatan, an oversized carnival barker. He tosses figurative molotov cocktails because it gets him attention which translates to listeners and then into money. It would be laughable except for his millions of listeners who follow him as if he were the Pied Piper of vitriol. Buy the Rams, Rush. Please.

  5. Regardless of whether you agree with Rush or not, if he becomes a Rams owner, anything he says in public will be associated with the NFL. And I don’t think NFL owners want that type of controversy and being in the position of having to comment on the political and social opinions of a fellow owner. Roger Goodell has enough problems without having a polarizing owner.

  6. Tom…you are right. Limbaugh’s comments will be associated with the NFL.

    But that won’t stop anything. As long as the money flows, the NFL doesn’t care who owns a team.

  7. Re: Rush’s comments about McNabb

    I disagree Byron, I think it is an important distinction that Rush’s comments were about white sportswriters – rather than an the ability of black quarterbacks. It is not something you can doubt – look at the transcipt – it is quite clear. Any analogy about a white quarterback is ridiculous. At that time, itt was pretty much conventional wisdom at that point that black quarterbacks had been discouraged if not discriminated against unofficially by prejudice of coaches. Whether this was true or not, I have no idea – but it was believed by many. So if a sportswriter who thinks this discrimination was wrong (which 100% would – including myself), it would make sense that they would want McNabb to succeed – as a model of a succcesful black quarterback, and perhaps that personal wish might affect their desire. It is a reasonable to me – but I can see how you can see it as a total horseshit point. However, it wasn’t racist.

  8. Matt, but Limbaugh’s comments aren’t true. Donovan McNabb wasn’t a good quarterback because white sportswriters wanted him to be good, or dismissed his poor performances.

    Donovan McNabb is good because, well, because he’s good. The numbers bear that out as well as the Eagles’ success.

    The reason why I brought up Favre is because by all measurements, for the last few years, Brett Favre has completely sucked. His numbers are down, his abilities in “big games” are atrocious yet if you read Peter King or listen to Jaws and Gruden or any number of writers/analysts Brett Favre is the same quarterback that he was 10 years ago. “Just slingin’ the ol’ pig skin like the kid that he is.”

    It’s bullshit. The Brett Favre knob slobber is the biggest case of hive mentality I’ve ever seen.

    Donovan McNabb (especially when Limbaugh made the comments) does not fit into that mold. At all. He was a top 5 quarterback and was treated as such.

    And it’s not as if Donovan McNabb was the first good black QB to come into the league. There was Steve McNair, Warren Moon, Randal Cunningham even Doug Williams.

    Where was the reverse discrimination when guys like Akili Smith stunk up Cincinatti or now when Jamarcus Russell has been terrible for the Raiders or Byron Leftwich or Seneca Wallace or Quincy Carter or any of the sucky quarterbacks (black or white) that have come down the pike?

    For some strange reason, Limbaugh chose one of the best quarterbacks in the league and instead of having the nerve to say he sucks–decided to take the easy way out and claim that while everyone else says he’s good, it’s a sham perpetrated by liberal guilt (ie reverse discrimination).

    I would have had a lot more respect for Limbaugh if he just said, “You know what, I think that Donovan McNabb is a bit overrated. If Tim Couch had his O-line and Brian Westbrook coming out of the backfield and TO to throw to, he’d be pretty good too.”

    But he didn’t because if he did say that, people could say that he was a football fraud. He had to muddy up the waters using race when there didn’t have to be any use of that. This is precisely why Limbaugh is a douche.

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