Let Rush Buy the Rams

As you might guess, I've been following the "controversy" over Rush Limbaugh trying to buy a piece of the St. Louis Rams. And as you might subsequently guess, I think the opposition to his potential ownership is ridiculous and borderline slanderous. A litany of liberal sports columnists have said the NFL should reject him, which won't be necessary because the team he was going to bid with dropped him from their group. This opposition is based on some very dubious arguments:
  • Rush is racist. This argument is commonly made, despite the fact that there is no legitimate reason to believe it. Fabricated quotes have been an important part of the case these columnists have attempted to make that this is so. It is a demonstration of the state of modern media that these sourceless quotes, which are internet rumors, have received wide media play despite no proof they were ever uttered. These columnists clearly are making this accusation based on third-hand knowledge of Rush, probably from what they heard in the media. This is where the borderline slander is occurring.
  • The NFL doesn't want controversy. This is the league that let Michael Vick back in, and includes a number of players with felony records. If the NFL is an OK place for felons, but not conservatives, we have a problem. The league also has a group of owners that includes Jerry Jones and Al Davis. I'm sure I could dig for a few minutes and find plenty of dirt on some other owners in the league that is worse than some "controversial statements."
  • NFL players won't stand for Rush being an owner. If there is a substantial number of NFL players that are that concerned about and opposed to Rush (and I'm skeptical), I still doubt they would refuse to play in St. Louis for that reason. Professional athletes are whores; they would play for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's team, if he had one (and assuming they know who he is). What else are they going to do, find a different career, that pays far, far less?
I doubt that Rush being an owner would hurt the NFL in any significant way. And if Michael Moore or Keith Olbermann wanted to buy a team (not that I put these guys on Rush's level), I would not be opposed. I might not cheer for their teams, though, unless they bought the Vikings, and then I'd have to suck it up. But to say that Rush should somehow be disqualified from owning a piece of an NFL team is baseless, hypocritical, and just plain wrong.


  1. I've grown very bored of the casual use of "censorship" and "freedom of speech" to mean that anyone can say anything about anything without consequences. It seems to me that this episode illustrates the applicability of two values that conservatives trumpet: consequences and the wisdom of the market.

    Because of what Limbaugh has said in the past, his connection to this financial transaction made it more likely to fail. He was cut from the deal because his presence adversely affected the potential profitability of the deal for all involved. The market has spoken. Adam Smith's invisible hand bitch slapped Rusty, and hard. Get over it.

  2. I agree with Ted. Also, even though the link you provided convinced me that Rush didn't say one of the racist quotes I've seen him credited with, he's said enough other derogatory stuff about black people that he easily falls under my definition of racist. It wouldn't make any more sense for there to be an NFL team owned by Rush Limbaugh then it would for there to be a WBNA team owned by . . . well, Rush Limbaugh.

  3. I agree that there are consequences to what people say, which is why I avoided the words "censorship" and "free speech" in this post. What I'm saying is that the consequences here are based on false pretenses; Rush isn't racist, and his ownership wouldn't affect the NFL's bottom line.

    Despite what some might say, I don't think a racist would draw 20 million listeners in this country. If he's racist, then so are his listeners. We live in an Orwellian world if Rush is persona non grata but Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are considered to be legitimate players, with their track records.

  4. A fairly cursory search through YouTube (using YouTube because you can hear the words coming out of Rush's mouth) will reveal him claiming that South Africa was better off under white government and that black kids now get to beat up white kids with impunity because we have a black president (and other statements that are harder to nutshell).

    I'm not trying to say that everybody who listens to Rush Limbaugh is a racist. That never even occurred to me. I also don't think that everybody who listens to Rush Limbaugh is a huge jerk, even though Rush Limbaugh is huge jerk. (Example: the Michael J. Fox thing.) I also think Keith Olbermann is kind of a jerk, but because he's a jerk who's on my side, I enjoy watching his show. I don't think that makes me a jerk by proxy, anymore than I think listening to Rush makes you a racist by proxy. But similarly, you + most of the rest of his 20 million listeners not being racists won't convince me that Rush isn't.

  5. Ted: so it sounds like you are agreeing with those two conservative principles! Great.

    Actually, I agree that the NFL owners can do what they want in their own financial interest.

    But there are other concerns here. It has now been shown conclusively--so much so that even MSNBC has actually apologized to Rush (more to try and save themselves in the likely liable lawsuit that may come their way)--for publicizing the two quotes that were used against Rush that we now know were fake. They have traced both (through the URL used) to a law firm in NYC that specializes in gay rights, transsexual and transgender rights, and abortion rights. They posted the fake quotes to Wikipedia in 2006-7, and they were then used in a book to discredit conservations written in 2008. These two quotes were the infamous statements attributed on all the major news outlets (except Fox and the WSJ) to Rush about how good slavery was for the South, and how we should give a Medal of Honor to James Earl Ray after he killed MLK. Those were what was reported all over the news, and what killed this deal.

    Forget about Rush for a moment. I would think that descent people of any political stripe would think that was an outrage. Juan Williams (hardly a Repub or a conservative) has been making this same point, but he seems like a lone voice out of the supposedly open minded liberal side of the spectrum. So sad. Instead, those who do not like Rush are basically saying well, it doesn't matter that he was smeared in this case--because he is a jerk who I disagree with anyway. I am glad they are not on a jury somewhere. "Yes your Honor, we know he is innocent of the charges, but we are finding him guilty anyway because we disagree with his politics."

    The right thing to do is to just admit it was very poorly done on the side of the media, and move on.
    Argue against Rush for other reasons--this incident is the wrong one to celebrate.

  6. During the 3:00PM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC Friday, co-host David Shuster admitted that racially charged quotes he and other hosts attributed to Rush Limbaugh had not been verified: “MSNBC attributed that quote to a football player who was opposed to Limbaugh’s NFL bid. However, we have been unable to verify that quote independently. So, just to clarify.” Shuster did not formally retract the quote or apologize.

    I think we do need a definition of what racism is, especially if you are going to use it as a means of prohibiting personal business transactions. The current definition seems to be anyone who disagrees with the current administration. I think that is a bit "hopeacritical."

  7. Been on YouTube and can't find the exact quotes mentioned. He did make comments about South Africa moving away from free markets and capitalism, etc., and how they need to be careful or they would be worse off (economically) than when they were under the old White Government. If those are the comments referred to, or if the ones referred to are cherry picked from that discussion, then I don't think any reasonably person would really consider those racist. They are in fact correct.
    Anyway, I would love to see any of the actual footage (or radio stream) of anything one might consider racist. I think the fact that all 15,000 hours plus of his radio show is on tape, and has been pored over by everyone in the last couple of weeks, and no one can really find "the smoking gun" in respect to racism, shows there likely is not a smoking gun. We need to get to the point where we can disagree with people without calling them names in order to shut down the conversation. Racism is a highly charged word that is thrown around way too casually these days.

  8. From the latest news out of NYC:

    "the search for the Wikipedia Libelist responsible for damaging posts to the Rush Limbaugh account apparently has been narrowed to the IP address of a New York City law firm:

    The quotes were added by a user with the IP address of This address has been used mostly to make changes to the article about Rush, but also Karl Rove, Sean Hannity,.. James Dobson and Sara Palin from 2005 until earlier this year...this IP address is used as a gateway by the law firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler"

  9. From the website of the law firm that has been discovered to have made up the quotes attributed to Rush:

    "In addition to our Diversity Committee, a group of our attorneys formed PAC — Patterson Attorneys of Color — to assist with the enhancement of workplace diversity and the recruitment, retention and promotion of attorneys of color. Another group, Out at Patterson, focuses on issues relevant to the firm’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered, and Woman Lawyers at Patterson (WLAP) focuses on women's issues."

    Hmm, no political agenda hidden in here I suppose.

    I'm done for the day! Sorry to post so much--I am a geo bachelor today and have some free time!

  10. I didn't find exactly the same videos I did last time (the popularity of the "Rush Limbaugh racist" search on YouTube must have shuffled the results), but here's basically the same stuff:

    Here's the whole rant about the school bus incident (which turned out to be about who got to sit where, not about black vs. white) and, in the first 10 seconds, the illogical connection between a school fight and our current democratic/black president.

    Here's the first part of his Darfur and South Africa comments is near the end of this video; he first says that Americans who care about Darfur only want to intervene in the genocide in Darfur to keep black votes in America. The part where he connects that to South Africa being better off under white government (ignoring the lack of rights that 80% of the population had under apartheid) I could only find quoted on Keith Olbermann's show, but at least it was reported the same day and not third-hand from Wikipedia.

    I didn't even bring up his well-documented comments about Donovan McNabb from when he briefly worked for ESPN. I bet that's the one that really sticks in the craw of the NFL players that objected to Rush.

  11. Listened to both Rush videos---and I am confused.

    The first one is about the one white 17-year old who got on a bus full of black highschoolers, and none of them would give him a seat. The bus driver yelled for him to sit down, which he did, at which point he was beaten up by first one kid, then another, while all the others cheered and took pictures. I also viewed the actual tape, plus looked up the old news stories about it. They originally charged the two black kids with a hate crime. They eventually changed it to just assault because they said none of the other black kids would testify, and without that it would be too hard to prove, so they went with the slam dunk charge.

    This happened at the same time as a News Week article came out saying if you were white, you automatically were a racist. I don't know about you, but I am insulted by some East Coast reporter saying I am racist, or you are racist, just because of the color of our skin. I believe that is just the opposite of what MLK was referring to when he said some day we won't judge people by the color of their skin.

    So in this video Rush is basically using satire to say this white kid proved he was racist (like News Week said) by getting beat up.

    You can like or dislike this satire, but he did not say anything positive or negative about blacks--just made fun of News Week. Not sure what that has to do with racism.

    Incidentally, in this case do you agree with Rush, or do you agree with News Week? Are you racist because you are white?

    The second video is even more perplexing. It is a segment from Keith Olbermann using short 5 second clips of many people he does not like. Again, you may not like those people, nor some of the jokes Rush says, especially about feminists, but not sure what that has to do with racism.

    If you are referring to the Barrack the Magic Negro comment, you should again look up the comments or tapes of Juan Williams--the liberal, and black, TV commentator--who points out what anyone knows who listened to the ENTIRE Rush tape. There was a black journalist who was praising Barrack Obama as "the Magic Negro" in his articles, and Rush was making fun of the journalist who used the term, and the other journalists who were calling Obama that in a positive way.

    Of course, Keith Olbermann knew that, but only played 5 seconds of the clip and cut that part out. That is why Juan Williams took Olbermann to task for this clip. And again, Williams is a big Obama supporter.

    Again, I am not telling anyone to like Rush, nor agree with him. But as Juan Williams has said, that does not make him a racist. Just don't like him if you want because you disagree with him.

  12. Watched the third video. Still didn't see anything that would suggest Rush is racist. Although as usual with Olbermann he takes bits an pieces of quotes to try and make his point. Which by the way was not that Rush is racist, but that he is nuts.

    Incidentally, when Olbermann first started Countdown, and he had not become so bitter and nasty, he had my uncle on for a full hour interview. My uncle had been his favorite teacher for many years as he went through school. Keith O considers my uncle the man who most influenced him as he was growing up. My uncle just shakes his head now, and says he used to be a decent guy--he does not understand what made him turn into the king of hate speech. Oh well.

    I wish guys like him could just argue their points logically, not do all this attack stuff to try and get others to hate those who disagree with them politically. I disagree with everything Olbermann says, but I would never try and get someone to hate him, nor call him names like Olbermann is always calling people. Just do not think it is healthy for our public discourse. Can't convince people you are right using facts and logic, then just call them names! Sad guy.