How Rush Limbaugh gave America its Sundays back
By: Neil Braithwaite
Ever since I can remember, from a young boy sitting beside my dad perched in front of the old black and white 25â€ console, to just last week watching my high-def 42â€ flat screen television, pro football has been the essence of my Sundays. Iâ€™m sure this is also true for millions of other men across this great land.
But for many pro football loving men this past week, that came to a halt faster than the Cowboysâ€™ Walt Garrison on the goal line when hit by Washington Redskinsâ€™ Kenny Houston on October 8, 1973. Go Redskins!
So what would persuade thousands of armchair quarterbacks to put down their remotes and walk away from their split-screen NFL Sunday utopias — cold turkey?
Was it because the pro football game has gotten so boring and predictable? Did all their wives finally put their collective feet down? No. Thousands of men addicted to the NFL are walking away from pro football this week as a direct result of what transpired in the media during Rush Limbaughâ€™s attempt to become a minority NFL owner.
Rush Limbaugh has attracted many male listeners over the years because of his staunch conservative views, unabashed humor and unapologetic manly attitude. It all makes for great male bonding. But the one thing that helps form a special bond between the big guy and many of his male listeners is Rushâ€™s love for pro football.
Rush is known for being a very passionate guy, so when he corroborated the story that he was a minority partner in a group trying to purchase the St. Louis Rams, he must have had some serious â€œgame dayâ€ butterflies. Rushâ€™s pro football loving listeners share his passion, so when they found out about his bid to become an NFL owner, they immediately began to root for their competitive friend to win. Go Rush!
Most Rush listeners know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would not only be great for the St. Louis Ramsâ€™ organization and its players, but also ultimately be great for the NFL. They know that Rush is a strong competitor and would bring that â€œmust winâ€ attitude to the NFL. His love and respect for the game, its players and organizations have been on display for all America since his radio talk show became syndicated in August 1988. If Rush had become an NFL owner, many of his loyal listeners would have to enlarge their sentimental NFL team base to include the St. Louis Rams just because of Rush. Go Rush — go Rams!
It was inevitable however, that Rush would get some flack about his stint as a commentator on ESPN and the whole Donovan McNabb story, but no one expected what ultimately transpired in the media because of his minority ownership bid.
In retrospect, the vicious and slanderous attacks that poured out on Rush from the likes of Al Shaprton and Jessie Jackson were to be expected. These two guys never miss an opportunity to sling a little racial slander and grab some limelight. But several liberals in the news media decided to get on board the slander train and thatâ€™s when things started getting out of hand. Then some current and former NFL players along with a select group of the sports media decided to jump into the Rush feeding frenzy and things really began to go overboard. This band of ignorant and slanderous liberals attributed unthinkable racial statements to Rush without any definitive proof. The angry mobâ€™s accusations ultimately led to Rushâ€™s removal from the group bidding for the St. Louis NFL franchise.
But the story doesnâ€™t end there. Not one NFL owner or representative came out to denounce the uncivil tone and unfounded slanderous attacks made against Rush, who, as if they were to ignorant to know, happened to be one of the NFLâ€™s biggest supporters and also a prospective owner. It was the ultimate responsibility of the NFLâ€™s commissioner, Roger Goodell, to grow a set and put a stop to this nonsense. But did Goodell step forward? No. In fact, he did just the opposite and climbed on the slander train himself by saying that â€œdivisive commentsâ€ would not be welcome in the league. Goodellâ€™s statement was reprehensible and became the straw the broke the camels back for countless thousands of Rush supporters. It was game over — adios NFL!
Unlike the NFL, in the game of life there are not always clearly defined winners and losers. However, in this tragic situation there are a few of each. The biggest losers are the NFL and the St. Louis Rams who lost an opportunity to have an awesome new competitor and minority owner. The merry host of media slander slingers also lost the last bit of respect anyone may have ever had for them. And America just lost a little of what makes her the greatest country in the world — civility, respect and fairness. Rush Limbaugh, on the other hand, became a big winner in the eyes of his loyal listeners for the responsible and dignified manner in which he handled the whole situation.
But the biggest winners of all are the thousands of families throughout America who just got their husbands and fathers back on Sundays. Picnic anyone?