2. There's no official word, so far, as to how much Limbaugh was contributing financially, but it doesn't appear to be all that much. Sources familiar
with the bid told the Post-Dispatch that they didn't anticipate any
problems replacing Limbaugh. A statement from Checketts,
printed in the Post-Dispatch, read:
"Rush was to be a limited partner -- as such, he would have
had no say in the direction of the club or in any decisions regarding
personnel or operations," Checketts said in a statement. "This was a
role he enthusiastically embraced. However, it has become clear that
his involvement in our group has become a complication and a
distraction to our intentions, endangering our bid to keep the team in
St. Louis. As such, we have decided to move forward without him."
Which actually conflicts with the original impression Rush gave in a
public statement after his partnership in the bid became known. Without
saying much more, Limbaugh stated that "if we prevail we will be the
operators of the team"--which seemed to mean he would be slightly more
than a silent partner.
If Limbaugh didn't account for that much money, it wasn't such a big deal to part ways.
3. The criticism came from all angles. Other owners, the head of the
NFL Players Association, and players themselves all spoke up against
Limbaugh. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was less than sympathetic in a
news conference, saying Rush's past comments about Donovan McNabb
getting more credit than he's due because of his skin color didn't
exactly sit well with him, the implication being that the NFL might be
better off without Rush around. The utter pervasiveness of the
criticism of Rush made the situation untenable.
4. Nobody really stood up for Rush. Only a few people said, "It's a
free country--let Rush do what he wants. I have no problem with this." His potential involvement in
the NFL was widely panned by both sports and political commentators,
and the general media narrative around the story seemed to be:
"Limbaugh has the right to say what he wants about whatever he
wants...and in a free country, that has consequences. The NFL and the
Rams are equally free to shoot him down just because they don't like
So the defense of Limbaugh amounted to a (perhaps slightly vindictive)
tautology, the premise and conclusion of which were: "Rush Limbaugh can
make people dislike him, but then they will dislike him." Not exactly
compelling or sympathetic.
5. Prospective owners have to get approved by 24 of the league's 32
front offices. With two owners already weighing in less than favorably,
the prospects of getting approved seemed bleak.
6. This would have been bad for Limbaugh, too. Almost every time he
said something controversial on the radio--which is every day--there
would be a story about it in the sports media, including what members of the NFL community had to
say in reaction. That kind of attention could have handcuffed Limbaugh
in the long run, and why would he want to deal with that? Anything that
threatens Limbaugh's freedom to say what he wants threatens his
ultimate bread and butter, and probably his essence as a human being.