SBD/Issue 19/Franchises

Should NFL Accept Controversial Rush Limbaugh As Rams Owner?

Writer Says NFL Should
Think Twice On Limbaugh
While it is radio personality Rush Limbaugh's "right to take a shot at becoming part of a new Rams ownership group," his "American Dream is a potential nightmare waiting to happen" for the Rams, St. Louis and the NFL, according to the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH's Bryan Burwell, who writes under the header, "NFL Should Think Twice On Limbaugh." Limbaugh's money is "green and plentiful and his politics are conservative, which means he'll pretty much fit right in with the rest of the gang within the NFL ownership's corridors of power." NFL owners "probably don't care about his politics," and with a "wink and a smile, they will surely welcome him to their club, because ultimately all they care about is whether or not his check will bounce." The owners "will all look the other way when it comes to Limbaugh -- forgetting his polarizing racial politics." But Burwell writes, "Bringing Limbaugh back into the NFL family will ultimately be met with the same disastrous effects from the last time it was tried. Remember the failed experiment with the ESPN NFL pregame show? ... That's why I keep scratching my head and wondering why so many people foolishly believe that at some point Limbaugh's mouth won't cause another embarrassing situation for the Rams and the league." Burwell added, "I wonder how Roger Goodell, the no-nonsense NFL commissioner whose primary personal directive is to 'protect the (NFL) shield,' will cope with an owner as potentially combustible as Limbaugh" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/8). CBS SPORTS' Mike Freeman wrote, "The league has made significant strides in putting its horrid racial past behind it. The NFL isn't perfect on the issues of ethnicity, but it tries. Allowing Limbaugh ... a seat at the owner's table would instantly undermine everything the NFL has worked decades to accomplish" (CBSSPORTS.com, 10/7).

BAD FOR BUSINESS? FANHOUSE.com's Kevin Blackistone wrote, "It is true that freedom of speech in the country is a protected right. Limbaugh can say whatever he likes and so can you and I. ... But that doesn't mean a potential business partner or employer can't refuse him like a restaurant does of diners who refuse to don shirts and shoes. They can and the NFL should." If the league accepts "whatever bid the group including Limbaugh puts up, it would be a slap in the face to at least two-thirds of its players, and that is selling short the other third." Blackistone: "It would be public relations suicide for the NFL to vote Limbaugh into its ranks and, I would hope, commercial suicide for it as well. At the very least it could be suicide for the Rams. What black player would want to toil for someone like Limbaugh if he didn't have to?" (FANHOUSE.com, 10/7). ClickOnDetroit.com's Rob Parker said, "As a black person, I would have a hard time going to a Rams game, paying money to a person who I believe has very little regard to black people." ESPN's Skip Bayless: "You could make a case maybe he could be a silent partner -- a so-to-speak ‘minority owner’ -- and stay out of the limelight” ("ESPN First Take," ESPN2, 10/8).

THE ULTIMATE WILD CARD: In St. Petersburg, Gary Shelton wrote, "I don't agree with all of Rush's politics. ... Still, I find the notion of Limbaugh owning an NFL team an intriguing idea." Shelton added, "Wouldn't the owners' meetings be interesting?" (TAMPABAY.com, 10/7).

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