Friday, October 16, 2009

Big Guy Comes Up Short of His "Dream"

It's 900 miles to Utah, some of it over and around mountains. But we went anyway to celebrate Mom's 95th birthday. The trip went well, and so did the celebrating. One of the trip's high points happened at a college volleyball match. Grandson Lance, age 5, took a look around the arena, which includes the names and logos of all the league competitors. He didn't think much of T.C.U.'s mascot, the Horned Frogs, which he misidentified as "Lizards". Well, they're both reptiles, so that's pretty close.

Have you been following the saga of Rush Limbaugh's quest to realize a lifelong dream to become an NFL owner? It's a story that shows the meeting of business, entertainment, politics and even race in today's society in such a way as we haven't seen since the first O.J. Simpson trial.
There isn't room to include all the details, and, to be sure, there is more than one version of what happened. But the story seems to begin with Dave Checketts, a sports executive who has had his hand in many enterprises with mixed results. Checketts approached Limbaugh as a potential minority member of a group that would buy the struggling St. Louis Rams.
But buying an NFL franchise isn't like laying out money for a pair of socks. The other owners have to approve the sale, and there's the sticking point. These aren't dumb guys by any stretch. They know Limbaugh as someone who lost a little gig on ESPN by introducing race into a discussion of NFL quarterbacks. He is fond of using the term "race hustler" on his radio tirades, which he applies without mercy to Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton and other non-whites with certain celebrity, particularly if they happen to be left of center politically. It goes without saying that Limbaugh's next compliment to President Obama will be his first.
It's not known for certain just when Limbaugh's name came up in Checketts' negotiations with the league, but when it became public, the roof caved in on the Big Guy. After all, over half of NFL players are African-Americans, and competing owners might not be thrilled with a colleague who blasts some debatable opinions to a radio audience in the millions every weekday. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, also no fool, told Checketts that Limbaugh would have to be dropped from the purchasing group.
Did Limbaugh try to turn bad news into a good story that showed his side of things while lambasting his cursed foes standing in the way of the fulfilling of his dreams? In a word - oh, yeah. Limbaugh's audience, the self-proclaimed "dittoheads" got a full fifteen minutes of outrage that included every Limbaugh nemesis mentioned above, including Obama, who had no input on the deal at all. El Rushbo claims that Checketts will have to fire him from the group, and blamed the "race hustlers" for the disappointment, as if they regularly gave orders to NFL owners.
OK, maybe it isn't hard for me to choke back tears for Limbaugh, but I, too, find an upside in this little drama. The dittoheads have something more interesting than tales of Limbaugh's golf outings (yawn) to listen to.


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