Far-right commentator Rush Limbaugh supposedly is part of a group that is attempting to by the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams franchise. Limbaugh is a polarizing figure with a long and dubious history of making racially offensive comments about minorities (most notably blacks), women, gays and others who don’t seem to fit his vision of what the United States of America is supposed to look like.
Here is a statement from the player’s association (as posted by Media Matters for America) in regard to Limbaugh’s controversial bid to become an NFL owner:
NFL Players Executive Director DeMaurice Smith on Saturday made a move to solidify the union against a bid by conservative talk show radio host Rush Limbaugh as part of a group that aims to purchase the St. Louis Rams.
In an e-mail to the union’s executive committee on Saturday specifically addressing Limbaugh’s bid, Smith said, “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.”
Limbaugh and St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts are among six potential ownership groups that have discussed buying the Rams. League sources say the current sale price has ranged from $700-to-$750 million but that there did not appear to be an imminent transaction.
On Sunday, Smith briefly elaborated, “This communication is more about what we stand for than the reality of our role in any franchise sale. While it’s true the subject matter was related [to Limbaugh's bid], I do understand that the NFL does not present ownership bids to me or the NFLPA. I encourage our players to express their views.”
At least seven NFL players have publicly opposed Limbaugh’s interest in purchasing the Rams with Checketts. In Smith’s communication Saturday with his executive committee, the union leader encouraged players to speak their mind on all matters, including Limbaugh’s bid.
The Limbaugh apologists are out there (including Bill O’Reilly who lacks the guts to stand up to Rush) and coming to the controversial commentator’s defense.
Here is another statement Media Matters posted from the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, Jim Irsay:
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said this afternoon that the divisive rhetoric of prospective Rams minority owner Rush Limbaugh makes him unappealing.
“I myself couldn’t even think of voting for him,” said Irsay speaking from the NFL’s fall ownership meetings in Boston.
Asked if he’d spoken to other owners about Limbaugh’s candidacy, Irsay said, “I haven’t and I don’t think I would even go to the point of talking to Tony Dungy, Jim Caldwell, Dwight Freeney, talking to those men and seeing what their positions are. I’m very sensitive to know there are scars out there. I think as a nation we need to stop it. Our words do damage and it’s something that we don’t need. We need to get to a higher level of humanity and we have.
“I come from a different era where Marvin Gaye and John Lennon were speaking about [certain things] and we’ve been doing a slow crawl to some of the things they talked about. We don’t need to go the other way,” Irsay added. “We can’t go the other way where there isn’t forgiveness and understanding but we gotta watch our words in this world and our thoughts because they can do damage.”
It would be interesting tos ee the owners and NFL executives who would come out in support of Limbaugh or simply turn a blind eye on his part in this bid to buy the Rams.
NFL players are speaking out as well as evidenced by this New York Daily News article from which an excerpt is below:
Mathias Kiwanuka loves his former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, but the Giants‘ defensive end says he will never play for Spagnuolo’s Rams if Rush Limbaugh purchases the team.
Kiwanuka and the Jets‘ Bart Scott made it clear Thursday that they would never play for the Rams or any team owned by the controversial conservative radio host.
“All I know is from the last comment I heard, he said in (President) Obama‘s America, white kids are getting beat up on the bus while black kids are chanting ‘right on,’” Kiwanuka told The Daily News. “I mean, I don’t want anything to do with a team that he has any part of. He 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.”
“I am not going to draw a conclusion from a person off of one comment, but when it is time after time after time and there’s a consistent pattern of disrespect and just a complete misunderstanding of an entire culture that I am a part of, I can’t respect him as a man.”
Kiwanuka is right on the money and I would encourage people to visit the New York Daily News site and read more of his words on the topic.
The NFL players must speak out and be heard so that this bigoted and hate-driven divider is not welcomed as an NFL owner.