Syndication One talk host Rev. Al Sharpton is leading a public effort to block Premiere Radio Networks talk host Rush Limbaugh from becoming an NFL owner. Sharpton is setting himself up as the defender of the NFL from alleged attacks by Limbaugh.
Reacting to news that conservative talker Limbaugh was part of a group seeking to buy the St. Louis Rams, liberal talker Sharpton sent a letter to Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the National Football League. Sharpton asked for a personal meeting to discuss the “myriad of reasons” why Limbaugh should not be allowed to become a team owner.
The letter noted past comments that Limbaugh had made about players Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb, both African-Americans – although that appears to put Sharpton in the position of defending Vick, who recently rejoined the NFL after serving time in federal prison for a dog fighting ring. And Sharpton also noted that the New Yourk Daily News had quoted Limbaugh as saying “the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons.”
According to Sharpton, Limbaugh’s comments have been “divisive and anti-NFL.”
For his part, Limbaugh has said that the attacks on him are exactly what he expected. On his radio show, he accused the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of slander by publishing a false quote in which he was purported to have endorsed slavery. And he also commented on Sharpton’s letter: “Now, this saddens me as well this disappoints me. I know Reverend Sharpton. Sharpton is better than this.”
NFL owners met Tuesday in Boston and the Washington Post reported comments from several who were skeptical of allowing Limbaugh in their midst. Goddell was quoted as saying “divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about.” Any team sale has to be approved by three-quarters of the owners.
RBR-TVBR observation: Whether or not Limbaugh’s past comments were, as Sharpton claims, “anti-NFL,” if Limbaugh becomes an NFL owner he will face restrictions as a league insider on what he can and cannot say publicly about teams, players and other owners. Limbaugh is not used to being restricted on what he can say in public. Neither is Sharpton, but then he isn’t seeking to buy a professional sports franchise.