Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bum's Rush

So Rush Limbaugh is part of a group attempting to purchase the NFL's St. Louis Rams. So what? Should his politics prevent him from his god-given right to own part of a professional sports franchise? After all, NFL ownership is hardly a bastion of liberalism anyway.

Yesterday, I listened to a sports call-in show in which this was the topic of conversation. Kevin Calabro, the host, felt that Limbaugh was too "controversial" to merit NFL ownership. Many callers said that even though they listened to Rushbo, they didn't always agree with him (they generally didn't say what they did agree with him about), which somehow argued for the position that there shouldn't be a political litmus test when it comes to sports team ownership.

Except that it's not about politics or even controversy. It's about racism, a matter on which professional sports doesn't have a particularly proud history. Should a league that has a franchise named "Redskins" invite into its ownership fold a man who makes his living in part by promoting racial polarization? Wouldn't Limbaugh's presence as an owner be a slap in the face to the majority of players who happen to be African-American?

The majority of NFL owners are no doubt deeply conservative, even though they happily reap the benefits of participating in a socialist institution built around revenue sharing and a salary cap. For all I know, several of them listen to Rushbo regularly and share his views. But they don't inject poison into the body politic by public appeals to racial fears and prejudices...


R. I. P., Rusty Wier. Here, he performs his hit "Don't It Make You Want to Dance?," also recorded by Bonnie Raitt and many others:

7 comments:

Roy said...

Sorry to hear ol' Rusty's gone, but it isn't a big surprise; he'd been battling that cancer for a long time.

As for Rushbo... I have a sneaking suspicion he's not actually interested in owning a football team; he just wants to see how much more trouble he can stir up.

K. said...

I doubt that it will happen and I'm sure that he will get some mileage out of it. As I listened to the radio yesterday, the distressing thing to me was the terms of the debate. Who actually thinks that Rushbo or anyone else should have to pass a political litmus test to become a sports franchise owner? But given the history of race relations in this country and Limbaugh's own history of exploiting race, I don't have a problem with drawing a line at racism and people who thrive on it.

The Time article that I linked to seems to equate Limbaugh's poison with something as pedestrian as moving a sports franchise. Others -- and I heard this repeatedly on the radio yesterday -- try to position him as a harmless entertainer. At best that's wishful thinking: The entire thrust of his act is to do harm.

This isn't the most pressing matter facing the country. But those of us who love athletic competition should take exception to welcoming Limbaugh's racial toxicity into profession sports.

edwin sanchez said...

No one is really a fan of Rush especially in one of the most integrated American pastimes.

Foxessa said...

I am taking so much delight that the consequences of the rusher's many racist declarations, made whether or not 'merely' for his personal financial gain have bit him in his butt that I am even considering**** watching an NFL game!

****Note, 'considering.' As we all know, Bob, my patience for organized sports is nil. :)

Rastamick61 said...

Too bad fat boy couldn't buy himself a sports plantation fulla colored folk huh ? He's a fat faced racist slob and always has been. It's not that these owners are great men of principle but even they know how the shit on Limbaugh's boots would stink up their league and bring in flies they don't need.
David Brooks on Limbaugh in the NY Times : Over the years, I have asked many politicians what happens when Limbaugh and his colleagues attack. The story is always the same. Hundreds of calls come in. The receptionists are miserable. But the numbers back home do not move. There is no effect on the favorability rating or the re-election prospects. In the media world, he is a giant. In the real world, he’s not.

Repeat, in the real world Limbaugh is NOT a giant ! He's not even a dolphin...

K. said...

Or a Bill or a Seahawk, either!

Clifton said...

For the most part NFL owners are seldom seen and almost never heard from. They have the right formula for attracting fans from every cross section of America. They didn't want anyone bringing attention to themselves and away from the game.