“Rush the Racist?” is the headline over a commentary written by retired NFL receiver Keenan McCardell on the Washington Post‘s sports blog, the League–and the question many football fans might ask upon hearing the news that Rush Limbaugh is bidding to become co-owner of the St. Louis Rams.
That’s because Limbaugh has a long record of making racist remarks. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed written by FAIR founder Jeff Cohen and myself, we documented many instances of Limbaugh’s racism, including his admission that he once told a black caller to “take that bone out of your nose,” his assertion that “all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson,” and his advice to a group with a 90-year commitment to nonviolence: “The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.”
Last year Limbaugh referred to Barack Obama as “the little black man-child.” This past January, while discussing Barack Obama with Sean Hannity on Fox, Limbaugh said, “We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this is the first black president.”
So the prospect of Limbaugh owning a team in a league where nearly two-thirds of the players are African-American should be natural media buzz generator. As CBSSports.com‘s Mike Freeman wrote under the headline “NFL’s Greatest Nightmare,” “sometimes these column thingies write themselves.” (Unfortunately, Freeman’s column, also posted on the Washington Post‘s League blog, repeated an alleged Limbaugh quote about the merits of slavery that is unverified.)
Perhaps LimbaughÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢s most notable remark in the St. Louis context was his 1994 response to learning from a caller to his show that St. Louis would be extending a light rail system into East St. Louis–a community of some 40,000 residents, almost all of whom are black. Said Rush (The Way Things Aren’t: Rush Limbaugh’s Reign of Error, New Press, 1995): “They got a light rail system to East St. Louis where nobody goes?”
Reporters might ask East St. Louis residents what they think about the prospect of Rush Limbaugh owning their local football team.