While I was on vacation I heard about Rush Limbaugh being dropped from the ownership group that wants to buy the St. Louis Rams. In typical fashion, Rush is playing the victim card. He should be focusing his anger on his fellow investors in St. Louis who wouldn’t go to bat for him. Instead, he’s convinced that he’s been railroaded by some shadowy anti-conservative conspiracy, and some of his fellow right-wingers have swallowed the story. The funniest part of his rant was when he said, “This isn’t about me.” Much as I hate to feed the man’s bloated ego, this is exactly about him. It’s just that railing against the liberal establishment (whatever that might be) gets him more ratings points than admitting that Dave Checketts and company regarded him as a distraction.
Having said all that, I don’t have a problem with Rush Limbaugh becoming owner of the St. Louis Rams or any other NFL team. What are the arguments against him owning a football team? That he’d embarrass the league? He most certainly would at some point, but between Al Davis, Daniel Snyder, and the group that led the Lions to 0-16 last year, NFL owners don’t exactly have a sterling reputation. That players would refuse to play for someone with Limbaugh’s views? Some of them certainly would, but generally players don’t care about their boss’ stands on politics as long as the paychecks come on time. That sports and politics shouldn’t mix? Americans do like to use sports as an escape from divisive political issues. We’re not like Spain and Italy, where the soccer team or basketball team that you root for tends to say something about your political stance. If you’re from Pittsburgh, you back the Steelers whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat. The simplicity of that is appealing. If a Limbaugh-owned team won the Super Bowl, liberals everywhere would no doubt be chagrined. Then again, most NFL owners are conservative politically; they just hide it because they recognize that many liberals like football, too. Who’s to say that an out-and-proud conservative owner like Limbaugh wouldn’t inject some drama into the sports landscape?
In the end, though, the success of any owner is judged by wins and losses on the field, and there’s no right-wing or left-wing way to win a football game. If Rush has the cash, we should follow procedure and let the other NFL owners decide whether he should be part of the club. (Yes, put power where it belongs: in the hands of a few super-rich white guys.) And if they say no, then Rush can blast away at them on his radio show.