It's not official but early returns of talk radio conservative mega voice Rush Limbaugh's bid to become part owner of the St. Louis Rams is all but dead before arrival. It seems the money earned by the mouth that roars is not good enough for one of the most exclusive clubs in America.
"I've said many times before we're all held to a high standard here, and I think divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about," Goodell said at a National Football League owners meeting in Boston Tuesday. "I would not want to see those comments coming from people who are in a responsible position in the NFL, absolutely not."
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said, "I would not be in favor of voting for him."
DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, reportedly expressed his personal reservations about Limbaugh's bid in a memo to players on the union's ruling executive committee, and urged players to express their views about the matter publicly. The union has no formal role in approval of an ownership bid.
Jets linebacker Bart Scott said Limbaugh "could offer me whatever he wanted. I wouldn't play for him.”
Poor Rush. The man is a jock freak. There's nothing on the planet he could wish more for than a piece of an NFL franchise. God knows his money is just as good as any put forth by past and present NFL owners -- gamblers (Art Rooney), swindlers (Gene Klein), do-nothing inheritors (Baron Hilton), self-made tycoons (Jerry Jones , H.L. Hunt and scads more) -- all with enormous egos just as Limbaugh.
Limbaugh himself has said his bid to join a group of investors led by Dave Checketts, chairman of hockey's St. Louis Blues, is driving liberals nuts. It makes me wonder if his offer is nothing more than perpetuating his own colossal ego.
Sale of the Rams is in the earliest stage of the process. Ownership is taking bids. Whoever they choose to select must be approved by three-fourths of the 32 NFL owners.
The case against Limbaugh drummed to death by our sports media is his perceived shoddy record on race relations, outrageous vocal divisiveness over all issues political, economical and societal and a high personal visibility detrimental to the NFL.
The race issue. I'm not going to rehash his bigoted statements of the past. About 70% of NFL players are black. One of them, Mathias Kiwanuka, a black defensive lineman of the Giants said, "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."
The politics. There's good reason most NFL owners will remain mum on Limbaugh unless he is part of the ownership package being considered for approval. I would bet the cost of a Chargers' ticket in the top row of Qualcom Stadium that most share Rush's political views.
The hypocrisy. Al Sharpton (who once called a black New York City mayor the "n" word) and Jesse Jackson (who once called a white NYC mayor a "heine") both have made public protests about Limbaugh's bid for an NFL team on the grounds he is a racist.
Sports columnist Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune summed up Limbaugh's case best:
Given Limbaugh's record on the race front, the blowback was predictable. What's surprising is that such a divisive figure would have survived the scrutiny of a seasoned operator like Dave Checketts, the St. Louis Blues owner who is leading the hometown effort to buy the Rams.
There are at least four plausible explanations for this apparent oversight: 1) Checketts miscalculated the amount of uproar Limbaugh would cause; 2) Checketts' financing is so precarious that he cannot afford to be too particular about his partners; 3) Checketts has convinced himself that the only color that matters in the NFL is green; or 4) Limbaugh broadcasts what many NFL owners more quietly believe.