“(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.”
â€” 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 rightâ€”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.