Booing Rush Limbaugh's Play for the St. Louis Rams
Rush Limbaugh's bid to become the owner of the NFL's most woebegone team finds few fans
Shortly after the news broke on Tuesday that talk-radio kingpin Rush Limbaugh had put in a bid to buy the St. Louis Rams pro-football team, sports and political bloggers began the chorus of boos. Winners of the Super Bowl a decade ago, the Rams have recently been stuck in the longest-losing streak in the NFL currently* and have seen a massive slide in value. Limbaugh, for his part, signed a $400 million dollar, 8-year contract with Clear Channel just last year. What will it mean if conservative talk-radio's most successful host gets control of the NFL's least successful team?
- Fumble Many writers were quick to recall Limbaugh's brief, ill-fated stint as an ESPN Football pre-game analyst back in 2003. Limbaugh resigned just a few weeks into the job after facing criticism from coworkers for his comment that quarterback Donovan McNabb was overhyped because "the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well." St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bryan Burwell advised the Rams' owners to weigh this incident when considering Limbaugh's bid: "So Rush Limbaugh wants to own the Rams. Well good for him. That's his right as an American. But I just wonder if the NFL has learned its lesson from the last little dance with him. Dancing with Limbaugh is like dancing with a snake. Eventually, the snake will bite you. That's his nature."
- Dead Ball The Washington Post offers many lengthy opinions on the story from various commentators in their League section, including this scathing one from CBS Sports columnist Mike Freeman: "For the NFL, Limbaugh as an owner would be as comfortable as a colonoscopy with a periscope. It'd be one of the great nightmares for the sport." At True/Slant, Michael Roston has come up 10 reasons why he thinks that Rush Limbaugh would be "the worst pro football team owner in the world." His case is based one some of the host's most damning NFL-related comments over the years. Highlights include Rush's apparent comparison of "black football players..to fighting gang members" and his amusement at a Michael Vick parody shirt showing a murdered dog-mascot.
- Pass Interference If Limbaugh's bid succeeds, author Dawn Knight doesn't want him to bring his talking points into the game: "To me, football is like church, and I'm for the separation of church and state. I'd prefer my football games without politicians and political pundits, thank you very much. I like to forget about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, healthcare reform, and the economic crisis for the sixty minutes the Colts are on the field." Yahoo! Sports blogger MJD is similarly hesitant to embrace the prospect of a Limbaugh bid because it will take the focus off the game: "His very presence brings politics into the football discussion...No one will be able to mention the Rams without mentioning co-owner Rush, who, depending on who you believe, is either a hate-mongering blowhard or the greatest American living today."
- Hail Mary Also weighing-in at the Post, NFL Reporter Les Carpenter goes against the grain to explain why Limbaugh's ownership could potentially be the Rams' salvation: "The Rams, who struggle to sell out and have tumbled behind the Cardinals, Blues and the University of Missouri in terms of sports interest in St. Louis, are desperate to matter again. Limbaugh will make them do that. If nothing else, he will be a story every day." At Forbes, Michael K. Ozanian agrees: "Would Limbaugh, a Missouri native who once worked for the Kansas City Royals, make a good owner? He certainly couldn't do worse than the Rams have fared under Chip Rosenbloom and Stan Kroenke." With rumors swirling that the current owners plan to move the Rams out of St. Louis in 2014, Jeff Roman says that Limbaugh's joint-bid with St. Louis Blues hockey team owner Dave Checketts would help lock the team down:
"Because of the NFL's ownership rules, Checketts can own two sports teams, but they both have to be in the same city. Considering that Checketts is a new owner of the Blues, he wouldn't be in a hurry to sell the Blues to move the Rams. Additionally, Rush Limbaugh is from Cape Girardeau, MO, so he will have a vested interest in keeping the Rams in St. Louis."
*Corrected, Wed Oct. 7, 4:30 p.m. : This post previously incorrectly referred to the Rams' losing streak as the longest in NFL history.