Rush Limbaugh has been in the news lately because he's taken interest in investing in an NFL franchise, the St. Louis Rams.
Cue Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and every black sportswriter in the United States getting their panties in a bunch.
Limbaugh, a radio personality and conservative political commentator, has been accused of being racist by Sharpton and Co. That's a crushing-blow-of-an-accusation, considering the fact that over two thirds of current NFL players are black.
Before I go further, I want to let it be known I am by no means a fan of Limbaugh's, nor am I a Republican. In fact if I did vote, and I don't because America is a free country and I choose not to, I would vote democrat. In addition, I have never listened to Limbaugh's radio show or read any of his books. I could care less about his political views.
The problem with this whole situation is that it's no longer a sports issue. It has become a political issue, a racial issue. Limbaugh has said many controversial things throughout his career (you don't have to listen to him to know that). Sharpton and Jackson, metaphorical puppeteers of black people, will be damned if an alleged racist has such a high-ranking position in a franchise that employs so many black people.
There's one flaw with these racist accusations...Limbaugh has never gone on the record of being racist. When employed by ESPN a few years ago, he suggested (on-air) that black quarterback Donovan McNabb was being unnecessarily defended by the media because they desired to see a black quarterback succeed. An incredibly stupid thing to say on the air? You bet. A statement indicative of a full-blown racist? Not quite.
Further damning for Limbaugh is the stereotype (a relatively accurate one) that most black people exhibit liberal political views. In his favor, however, was the love-fest shown by media outlets not named FOXNews for Barack Obama and his presidential candidacy. So maybe what Limbaugh said about McNabb had merit after all.
The disdain and spite being shown by the likes of Jackson and Sharpton toward Limbaugh is laughable. These same men probably shot sticky wads of glee when "the Rooney Rule" was implemented by the NFL in 2003.
For those not familiar with the Rooney Rule, it requires that NFL teams interview minority candidates for head coaching positions before filling the vacancy. Apparently, 66% of the players being black isn't enough. Only a few blacks had head coaching positions prior to the rule's adoption...there HAD to be a racial conspiracy!
The irony of blackballing Limbaugh is that the Rooney Rule is more racist than Limbaugh has ever proven to be. Black people campaigned for equality during the Civil Rights movement, not special treatment.
Imagine if a white supremacist lobbied for a "Peyton Hillis Rule," which would require NFL teams to provide mandatory tailback tryouts for white players. The very idea of that rule would be met with harsh criticism, and rightfully so. If every starting running back in the NFL is black, there's a reason. If nearly ever head coach is white, there's a reason for that too, whatever it may be. The jobs should go to whoever is most qualified for the position, regardless of skin color.
Similarly, Limbaugh should be given a chance at ownership, despite the baggage he brings with him. If he wants to invest in a franchise, let the higher-ups of the NFL exercise due diligence and determine if Limbaugh is worthy of such a privilege. There's no need for pro-black figures to come out of the woodwork and say "Black players won't want to play for Rush Limbaugh." People play professional football because they're lifelong athletes who love the game and enjoy getting paid millions of dollars to play it. I doubt the interests and/or political views of the owner go through a player's mind as he blitzes the quarterback.
If black people want to avoid the stereotype that they all think the same, people like Sharpton, Jackson, etcetera need to shut up. I know they feel it's their job, their civic duty or whatever to speak out. However, they need to realize this is a sports issue, that's it! Rush Limbaugh isn't gunning to run the NAACP. He wants to invest in sports franchise, it's really that simple.
Now, the impossible has happened: Limbaugh, a generally slanderous figure, has become the victim. Nice job, Al and Company.