Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bull Rush-ed

Despite my political leanings, and people's predisposed opinions of my associations given those leanings, I don’t care much for Rush Limbaugh. I say this not to as way to add credibility to what I’m about to say, it’s that I just don’t care for him. I simply don’t listen to him very often. But when I do listen I find him to be a bombastic megalomaniac. He's also a bit of "bomb-thrower"—saying outrageous things about his opponents or their ideals. On the other hand, he's an extremely astute political and media observer who makes salient points and arguments, too. He’s also fiercely loyal to his conservative ideals (sometimes to a fault) and whose bomb throwing often nails the target with accuracy.

Rush is also bloody wealthy. The $400,000,000 deal-plus deal he struck last year merely added to his wealth.

So he's got a bunch of money to spend. And what do guys with a lot of money do? They buy stuff. Like football teams. And Rush wants to buy a minority stake in the St. Louis Rams. I have no problem with this. Hell, Keith Olbermann of all people has no problem with this. The NFL, however? They have a problem with this and they’re intent on not letting Limbaugh buy a stake. Why? Well, let's get to the laughably specious reasons.

First, NFL commish Goodell went back into the playbook to dig up Rush's comment about Donovan McNabb ("I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well."). The comment got Rush fired by ESPN because many viewed as being racist. How it was racist to any observant and reasonable person who can read or that follows our media and culture is a mystery. Nonetheless, Goodell trotted that one out saying, "I would not want to see those comments coming from people who are in a responsible position in the N.F.L. — absolutely not" and “the comments that Rush made specifically about Donovan, I disagree with very strongly."

Not to re-hash this, but I have to since Goodell and others are bringing it up: Rush wasn't making a racist comment about McNabb; Rush was saying the media—specifically the east coast media, which plays a huge role in this country—was building up McNabb, not just The Next Great Quarterback, but as the Next Great Black Quarterback. (I guess they missed Warren Moon's career.). More to the point, as Slate’s Allan Barra deftly noted, “Rush Limbaugh didn't say Donovan McNabb was a bad quarterback because he is black. He said that the media have overrated McNabb because he is black.”

Barra goes on to make another fantastic point: “I don't know of a football writer who didn't regard the dearth of black NFL quarterbacks as one of the most important issues in the late '80s and early '90s…. To pretend that many of us didn't want McNabb to be the best quarterback in the NFL because he's black is absurd. To say that we shouldn't root for a quarterback to win because he's black is every bit as nonsensical as to say that we shouldn't have rooted for Jackie Robinson to succeed because he was black.”

So Goodell is taking offense to something he clearly doesn’t understand cowardly pandering to the predominantly African-American NFLPA who also took great offense to Rush’s potential ownership.

But the NFL wasn’t finished being stupid. Cue Colts owner Jim Irsay—whose father, Robert, moved the Colts franchise from Baltimore to Indianapolis literally in the middle of the night back in 1983.

Irsay said that Limbaugh’s bid would be met with opposition from the other 32 owners (three quarters of the owners are required to approve the sale). Oh really? Now call me silly, but I’m thinking a majority of those billionaire owners are likely Republicans/conservatives themselves with a few exceptions. So good luck in finding the 8 owners who likely could give a rat’s butt about opposing Rush’s minority ownership role.

Next, if the NFL is so damn concerned about “comments coming from people who are in a responsible position in the N.F.L.,” and the integrity of its franchise owners, then why hell doesn’t it do something about Oakland’s Al Davis, Cleveland’s Randy Lerner and the Fords in Detroit, all of who are pile-driving their franchises into the ground? Or what Dallas’ Jerry Jones and his repeated outbursts? Or Washington’s Dan Snyder? Hmm?

Yeah, crickets and tumbleweeds on that one, eh, Commish Goodell?

Finally, does the NFL even know who its audience is? Do they really think the majority of their audience are latte-sipping beat poets and community organizers? Maybe Goodell & Friends need a lesson demographic analysis. It’s more NASCAR than Nescafe, I can assure you of that.

Worst of all, this mindless and baseless opposition to Rush’s purchase reinforces the Saul Alinksy rule that if pick the target, attack and polarize it, you can win. And the frothing liberal left succeeded in doing what it has been trying to do for years: Defeat Rush. So Rush won’t get a part of the Rams. Or any team likely ever.

And the legacy of this “victory” for the Rush-hating left? You can violate every American ideal and free-market principles of ownership and force someone out buying something simply based on his or her beliefs or views.

Congratulations, you pathetic un-American cowards.

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