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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rush, Perception and Reality

By now, most have probably heard this news.

Rush Limbaugh is expected to be dropped from a group bidding to buy the St. Louis Rams, according to three NFL sources.

Dave Checketts, chairman of the NHL's St. Louis Blues and the point man in the Limbaugh group attempting to buy the Rams, realizes he must remove the controversial conservative radio host from his potential role as a minority member in the group in order to get approval from other NFL owners, the sources said.

Conservatives are already calling Rush a sacrificial lamb. That maybe so. It's entirely without any rhyme or reason why a controversial guy like Mark Cuban can own a sports franchise while Rush Limbaugh cannot. It's entirely without rhyme or reason why a race baiter like Jay Z can be a part owner in a sports franchise whereas the racially charged comments by Rush Limbaugh are now deemed unforgiveable.

Still, in the world of the NFL, perception is reality. For reasons that are still unclear, it was Rush Limbaugh that drew the kind of controversy that was deemed unacceptable. It matters not that the most outrageous quotes attributed to him weren't actually said by him. It doesn't even matter that most of those now attacking Rush include race baiters themselves, and football players known for their off field antics as much as for their ability on the field.

None of this is fair, but fairness has nothing to do owning a sports franchise. The reality is that Rush attracts controversy. The National Football League is not a place for society's culture wars to play out. It's a place where the football games play out.

As soon as Rush's name came out, every political opponent and opportunist came out of the woodwork to attack him. Whether or not that's good for Rush, it's bad for the NFL. Ultimately, the best interest of the NFL trumps the best interest of Rush Limbaugh. The attacks on Rush may not be fair. Most that make them are hypocritical and selective in their attacks. Rush's controversial nature doesn't seem to be any different than several that own sports franchise. Yet, in this world perception is reality. Rush's attempt to buy a football has become divisive. The NFL doesn't need that and that's why he had to be pulled out.


Anonymous said...

First, perception is NOT reality, either in the real world or in the world of the NFL. Reality is reality. To give cover to the NFL by tossing an empty slogan like "perception is reality" indicates that for you words have no real meaning. If you concede that point, your post is worthless.

mike volpe said...

I'm not sure what that means. Do you think the NFL is going to get into the middle of a firestorm that will hurt their bottom line because it's the right thing to do? Now, who's not figuring out reality?

Anonymous said...

There's a reason they call it the No Fun League. They don't tolerate controversy, be it uniform modifications, touchdown celebrations (even when they involve prayer), or comments from their owners.

The NFL collective bargaining agreement expires this year, which means the 2010 season will be an uncapped year, and the 2011 season will probably be a lockout. At least one owner has already been heavily fined for commenting on the negotiations in the media. Rush Limbaugh IS the media, and ripping on unions is one of his favorite hobbies.

If you can't think of a rhyme or reason why Jay-Z and Mark Cuban can own teams but Rush Limbaugh can't, let's start with the most obvious one: Mark Cuban and Jay-Z don't own NFL teams, they own NBA teams.

I'm not entirely sure how Mark Cuban is even controversial. But even if he is, he's probably not even the most controversial owner. The Maloof Brothers own casinos, Clay Bennett bought the Sonics and then lied about moving them to Oklahoma City. James Dolan condoned Isaiah Thomas' sexual harassment. As far as Jay-Z, just because he's a rapper he's a race baiter? Its not like he has an image the NBA wants to cultivate, David Stern's dress code made that clear.

Now think about NFL owners. Al Davis is about as controversial an owner the NFL has. And the most he does is act senile.

Rush Limbaugh is another kind of controversial entirely. We're talking Marge Schott controversial. Have you heard any other sports owner, much less an NFL owner, say that Obama's election has created the need for re-segregation like Rush has?

Anonymous said...

I think Mike meant that, for many people, reality of an event isn't as important as the perception of an event. That is why Obama is now President. The perception that he projected during the campaign, that of a moderate, won over the reality of him being a far left radical.

It happens all the time.