After NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell dropped a very strong hint regarding the league’s ultimate position on whether radio host Rush Limbaugh will be welcomed into the ownership club, we thought that Limbaugh might decide to simply declare victory and retreat.
He didn’t. And he says he won’t.
On Wednesday, in the first segment of his daily show, Limbaugh said that he’s “not even thinking of exiting” the process of attempting to purchase the controlling interest in the Rams along with Dave Checketts, owner of the St. Louis Blues.
And Limbaugh focused his frustration with the opposition to his ownership on the notion that liberals don’t want to see successful conservatives occupy mainstream positions, ignoring this quote that Goodell offered on Tuesday: “We’re all held to a high standard here and divisive comments are not what the NFL’s all about. I would not want to see those kind of comments from people who are in a responsible position in the NFL, no. Absolutely not.”
Limbaugh specifically targeted Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and those in the media who rely on Sharpton and Jackson as authorities in matters of this nature.
Regardless of whether Limbaugh is right or wrong in this regard, the point is that the guy who runs the NFL has made it fairly clear that Rush isn’t welcome.
The challenge for Limbaugh moving forward will be to use the opposition to his efforts as a sword against the likes of Sharpton, Jackson, and the media without framing the issue as a question of whether it makes good business sense for the NFL to embrace a prominent and polarizing political figure into the ranks of ownership. While he might persuade many on the former point (included plenty of those not in his usual base), any suggestion from Limbaugh that the NFL doesn’t have the right to make decisions based on the potential alienation of a large chunk of the fan base contradicts Limbaugh’s core views regarding the manner in which American businesses should be permitted to do their business.
And that’s what this ultimately is about. The league must decide whether it wants to do business with Limbaugh, just like it would have to decide whether to do business with Sharpton, if he wanted to buy a piece of a team.
But Limbaugh surely will never directly characterize the issue in that fashion.
That won’t keep him from periodically throwing darts at the NFL, as he did when pointing out that Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas now owns part of the Dolphins — and then playing a portion of the lyrics she sings in the song My Humps.
Still, the NFL has the right to embrace Fergie and reject Limbaugh, if the NFL so chooses. And any effort by Limbaugh to challenge the disparate treatment arising from the application of business judgment is not the product of conservative thought.
It’s a concept that typically is pushed by liberals.