Once again, Rush Limbaugh, who makes millions riling up his rivals, got crushed under the weight of his own words.
On Wednesday, the racially incendiary shock jock learned that he had been dropped from a group seeking to buy the St. Louis Rams, largely because he had become a distraction that threatened to derail the deal for the other members.
Dave Checketts, the owner of the St. Louis Blues who’s heading the group, released a statement saying that Limbaugh's participation had become "a complication and a distraction,'' to the group's efforts, SI.com reports. Others told the online news magazine that once African-American players, the commissioner and civil rights leaders targeted Limbaugh, his bid to own an NFL franchise was “doomed.”
"The league would be on pins and needles for three hours a day, five days a week,'' a league source said. "The NFL isn't interested in having its own Mark Cuban situation, where [the Dallas Mavericks owner] is fined for something he said, but then pays the fine, moves on and doesn't care what he says the next time either. The league wants the focus to always be on the game, not the opinions of any particular owner.''
Besides, another source told SI.com, Limbaugh was never really locked in as a part of Checketts group. The conservative commentator, whose radio contract is worth a reported $400 million, is being replaced with other interested investors, Checketts told SI.com.
On Tuesday, it was clear that Limbaugh was nervous about his chances to become a franchise owner. Speaking to his listeners, he challenged the campaign against him, saying that he had been accused falsely of being racially prejudiced. He denied claims that he had praised the assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or applauded the benefits of slavery, urging his critics to tune in to his radio program to learn about he real Rush Limbaugh.
But in the end, it was apparently the real Limbaugh that sacked the ownership bid.
Critics focused on other well-documented comments, such as saying that the NFL, which is composed of two-thirds Black players, “all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons"; that the NBA should be called the “TBA, the ‘Thug Basketball Association’ because it is the favorite sport of gangs”; his singing of “Obama the Magic Negro” (to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon”); his likening of the Rev. Jesse Jackson to the composite drawing of wanted criminals; and him telling an African-American caller to take the bone from her nose and call him back.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, who recalled Limbaugh’s 2003 comments that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated because the media wanted to see a Black quarterback succeed, made it clear that he wasn’t excited about the possibility of the controversial figure joining the fraternity of NFL owners. "Divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about,'' Goodell said at a two-day NFL owners meeting in Boston. "I've said many times before, we're all held to a high standard here. 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 didn’t mix words, either, saying he definitely was opposed to Limbaugh becoming an owner.
In a seeming last-ditch effort to convince his critics that he is not anti-Black, the radio show host asked why he would want to be part of a league that is 67 percent African American if he were a racist.
Quipped comedian Jay Leno on his show Wednesday night … “Maybe because you get a chance to own Blacks?”