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Why Does the Left Have to Politicize Football?

October 15, 2009


Editor’s Note: See NewsReal’s previous posts on the Left’s attacks on talk radio host Rush Limbaugh’s attempt to get into the professional football business here, here, here, and here.

I like my coffee black and my NFL football straight, to paraphrase “Broadway Joe” Namath. In a recent blog critical of the International Olympic Committee (“Jazzman Fails to Sanctify“), I wrote “my worst nightmare is the NFL getting involved in partisan politics like the IOC.” Sports are supposed to be what Jay Nordlinger calls a “safe zone” from politics.

I have been a sports fan since I have been conscious. Sports provide me an emotional release. I have all the DirecTV sports packages. This time of year is fun as we are in the middle of the NFL and college football seasons and the playoffs for Major League Baseball. Two New York teams I am fans of, the Yankees and the New York “Football” Giants, are having great seasons. Plus, I was raised a Dodger fan (my Mother rooted for the Brooklyn Dodgers) and they are in the playoffs … and I’m also a lifelong Notre Dame fan (my Father was a Notre Dame fan) who play USC at home this week. This is a great weekend to be a sports junkie.

This does not make me unaware of politics in sports. I just prefer to root for players in the context of their roles as players, not as “spokesmen” or “role models”. I appreciate team play and devotion to winning in an athlete. I don’t care what their politics are and don’t want to know. Ownership is also part of major league sports. Bad or good ownership, in a sports sense, really does matter. Owners are part of the game. Dan Rooney, inherited owner of the reigning Super Bowl champs, the Pittsburgh Steelers, thanked President Barack Obama during the Lombardi trophy presentation last year. (I had repressed that memory until the Limbaugh-NFL controversy emerged.) Fans are used to star players thanking God, or their parents, etc., after a big victory. But it was a bizarre sight to see an NFL owner thank a president for winning the Super Bowl.

If you believe Rush Limbaugh was rejected in his role as a minority bidder for the St. Louis Rams because of his 2003 comments about Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, you are being naive. True to my “safe-zone” roots, I thought Limbaugh was off base when he implied fans and sports writers overrated McNabb because they wanted a “black QB to succeed.” My view is that real NFL fans don’t think that way. Nor do they have “to try” and not think that way. They just don’t. If Eagle fans root for, or hate, Donovan McNabb, it is not because he is black or white. It is because they think he is either a winner or a loser, period. Fans could care less, one way or the other, if “a black QB succeeds.” They just want their team’s QB to succeed. Limbaugh was making dumb football commentary, even if it is the case some sports writers may have “secretly” thought that way, as Allen Barra of the Wall Street Journal contended at the time.

This is about payback for Rush Limbaugh, not “racially insensitive” comments about McNabb, himself no stranger to “racially insensitive” comments (McNabb rips T.O. for wanting white QB).

The Left decided to go after him. So they dragged out the usual hypocritical race huckstering suspects, like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, to create enough controversy to make the NFL reject any bid involving Limbaugh. The last thing sports leagues want is to be politically controversial. So they strung Limbaugh out to dry. Of course, this is the same league which just reinstated the “Lord High Dog Executioner,” Michael Vick, as the back-up QB, ironically, for the Eagles’ McNabb. The NFL chooses selectively as to when “sensitivity” matters.

One more thing. Don’t think Steelers owner Dan Rooney, now also Ambassador to Ireland, was not in the middle of this. Can the White House be far behind? What do you think?

  1. jbtrevor permalink
    October 15, 2009 7:16 pm

    why would anyone want to own the Rams anyway…
    How about a halfway decent team like the Pats or Steelers,

  2. October 15, 2009 9:50 pm

    The Left would politicize milk and cookies if there was some political gain to be made.

  3. October 16, 2009 7:35 am

    As an addendum to my own essay, we now read that “NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith served as counsel to Attorney General Eric Holder and was a member of Barack Obama’s transition team.” Smith, of course, was active in opposing Limbaugh. As I said in the closing paragraph…”can the White House be far behind”?

  4. October 16, 2009 8:31 am

    I have always been a college football fan and could never get that worked up about pros. I’ll watch a game if I am in front of the TV on Sunday afternoon but I might watch golf if Tiger is playing. This fiasco is going to hurt the NFL far more than it hurts Limbaugh. There is some maneuvering going on that is related to the union negotiations next year. It took years for the league to recover from the 1986 imbroglio. This time they might have outsmarted themselves.

  5. Go, Saints! permalink
    October 16, 2009 8:36 am

    This weekend you’re going to see the ratings for EVERY NFL football game on TV plummet! No one is going to be watching any of them, especially since panty-waist liberals HATE sports – they’re so “violent!” College football will gain all sorts of fans this weekend, and to those of you new to the college football game, you picked a GREAT weekend to start watching!

  6. Ronald S.Foster permalink
    October 16, 2009 8:55 am

    I would like to see RUSH offer stock in that football club he wants to buy maybe with 20.000 listeners at say 50.00 bucks each it could help some.
    I would gladly send my check. Just let me know how to make it out and
    where to send it. Ron

  7. myna permalink
    October 16, 2009 9:19 am

    Obama is all over the place these days. The guy is creepy.

  8. CaptSpaulding permalink
    October 16, 2009 9:47 am

    Everything is politics with the Left. It’s their whole “we won’t tolerate intolerant” ideology.

  9. A Bit Concerned.. permalink
    October 16, 2009 10:33 am

    It gets old, you know.. As one who watched, listened and even has the audio, I am tired of hearing Rush made any comment on McNabb personally on ESPN. Rush was referring ONLY to the MEDIA’S “Overrated” opinion of McNabb’s performance because the MEDIA was interested in portraying McNabb’s performace (Not too good at that time) as more than it was. It was The MEDIA Rush was commenting on. But, I know.. Why look to truth when make-believe is sooo much more fun..

  10. John permalink
    October 16, 2009 10:42 am

    The ironic thing is if you scratch a majority of die-hard leftists about sports, they hate football — they think it’s too violent and too masculine/intense/militaristic (which is why people on the left loved George Carlin’s “Baseball/Football” routine from the late 1960s). If they had their way, football would be abandoned by the masses, stripped of their TV contracts and kicked out of their stadiums in favor of soccer, because that’s the gentle sports sophistcated Europeans and others around the world play.

  11. Scott permalink
    October 16, 2009 10:59 am

    Of course it is fine to have Keith Olbermann on Football Night in America, despite saying the most vile hateful things about anyone who does not put on knee pads before the Dear Leader like he does on his little watched MSNBC program. Don’t think the NFL could not pressure NBC to take him off if they wanted to. Rush was just going to own a minority interest in a team. Olbermann is forced on any football fan who may want to tune into a national pregame show.

    • fozzy permalink
      October 16, 2009 10:37 pm

      Scott – Pressure? All the NFL commish has to do is call the chair of GE and say, “That Olbermann gave me a funny look.” Next day, OB is the new special correspondent from Mongolia.

  12. 4Deuce permalink
    October 16, 2009 11:44 am

    It has gotten to the point that almost all of my escapist pursuits are being spoiled by its people feeling that someone (me that is) actually CARES about their political stance on positions. ALmost weekly I hear some mindless rantings of some overpiad. ego-bloated athlete or celebrity mouthing off on something political – and each week a new name is added to my personal list of Hollywood actors I will no longer pay to see, rock stars who I will no longer listen too or sports teams I can no longer root for – all because of big mouth/small minded celebrity actors, singers or athletes who think they have opinions more informed than those buying their admission tickets or music.

    Soon I will have to buy a pool table and just throw out my TV and DVD player. Celebrity adoration in America has gone around the bend and for so much ort it I blame a so-called news media that now seems to be unable to distinguish any difference between plunging unemployment levels with the news of the breakup of Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson. Somehow, these self important, ratings-obsessed “journalists” give both issues equal weight and air time.

    Please athletes, actors and singers: Just shut the Hell up – or make plans to get real jobs and run the same risks the rest of us real people do – because soon we will just stop buying those admission tickets to where you are performing.

  13. October 16, 2009 1:03 pm

    If you believe Rush Limbaugh was rejected, in his role as a minority bidder for the St. Louis Rams, because of his 2003 comments about Philadelphia Eagles QB, Donovan McNabb, you are being naive.

    Obviously. There’s a lot more than that to his racism.

  14. purveyor permalink
    October 16, 2009 1:45 pm

    What has happen this week on the issue of Limbaugh and the refusal by the NFL of Limbaugh to participate in purchasing part of the ST. Louis Rams, the comments made by blacks and whites against Limbaugh, doesn’t narrow but widens the divide and hatred between whites and blacks. Unfortunately the leftist liberal Blacks just don’t get it.

  15. Russ Frandsen permalink
    October 16, 2009 1:57 pm

    One of the most popular sports in America, the most popular from a participation perspective, is also in the midst of a play-off race. Major League Soccer and the U.S. National team provide great entertainment and a great end of the season. they should be part of your sports viewing as well!

  16. PJF permalink
    October 16, 2009 2:37 pm

    One quibble Michael. Rush wasn’t taking about the fans overrating McNabb because of race. He was pointing out the fans where mad because he wasn’t living up to the hype and that the hype was purposely inflated by sports writers.

    Whether he’s right that sports writers did it because of McNabb’s race is a legitimate debating point and has nothing to do with fans.

  17. no kidding permalink
    October 16, 2009 3:00 pm

    On even a simple web posting defending Limbaugh, can’t the story be kept straight?

    The posting says Limbaugh “implied fans and sports writers overrated McNabb because they wanted a “black QB to succeed.” ” That’s not factual. Limbaugh clearly said it was members of the media that overrated McNabb because they keenly wanted him to succeed because he was a black quarterback. But he never accused the fans of falling prey to this kind of political correctness. To suggest he did does him and this debate a significant disservice.

    No one needs to point out the color-blindness of the fans. That fact could only be questioned by left-wing commentators.

  18. jms permalink
    October 16, 2009 4:37 pm

    Funny. I said the same thing about the auto industry. Why does the Left have to politicize the simple joy of buying a new car. Yet they insisted, and after a government takeover, a “prepackaged bankruptcy” that ripped off the boldholders and gave the companies to the auto unions, after unfairly closing mostly Republican-owned auto dealerships, they wonder why conservatives seem to have stopped buying GM and Chrysler and are buying Ford.

    It won’t be long before the Left is scratching their heads, wondering why NFL viewership is tanking in Red states.

  19. October 16, 2009 5:10 pm

    Come on Americans, when are you going to get sick and tired of being played by the media, and a minority of race pimps like the two jivesters name jesse and al??? Dont you think it’s time to start taking back what used to be ” all about football” from those with political agendas that have no bearing on one of our great pastimes???? Rush is a great sports enthusiast who has espoused his love for the game over and over. Any one who loves the game and goes tto the ball park doesn’t think twice about who the next person to them is, unless they are for the other team. Thus our attitude should be for any sports fan who happens to have the millions to be part owner. Football is Football and nothing else should matter for us true Sports Fans. So when are we gonna quit being chumps and suckers for those who could care less for our sport but use it for their own selfish agendas??? To play football takes a lot of courage-when do we fans start showing some of that courage too?

  20. Judy permalink
    October 16, 2009 5:29 pm

    No kidding,
    Lies, misrepresentations, distortions and other confabulations have never stopped the Left. They have actually integrated deceit into their belief structure. Ex: It’s only a lie, if I say that it is a lie. Why is so polically incorrect to have Rush as part of the buying consortium, but it is ok to have the Nazi collaborator and advocate George Soros in the NFL? Oh, that’s right, Soros is a Progressive and an ok guy in their play book.

  21. wah0995 permalink
    October 16, 2009 5:31 pm

    the left politicizes everything thing in life. people are broken down into a caste system the further breaks down into specific categories, such as sexual preference, etc..

    • Tootsie permalink
      October 17, 2009 11:36 am

      Congratulations! You have articulated the liberal dhimmicrat game plan: divide and conquer.

      It used to be we were all Americans. Now we’re hyphenated, color coded Americans.

      BTW, I love your use of “caste system.”

      Respectfully submitted,

      Tootsie’s Mom (the cat, not the movie character)

  22. TugboatPhil permalink
    October 16, 2009 7:53 pm

    I first became aware of the NFL the first time that Cowboys were known as ebing unable to win the big one (late 60s for you youngsters). When I went into the military I was unable to follow it all the time due to deployments. But whenever I had the chance it was a great means of escape from the problems of the world, even if it was only a few hours.

    The strike year soured me, but when Jerry Jones trashed Tom Landry I said that was it. I’ve not had a favorite team since, although for 4 years I was really pulling for the Bills to win it. They were a lot of fun to watch. Best team that never won a title.

    The first Rush/NFL incident showed me what the sportscasting community was made of. Not one of those ESPN p*ssies even made an effort to back him up. Their idea of free speech ends with Disney’s signature on their paycheck. As soon as I heard about the Rush/Rams deal I knew what was coming. I’m sad to see that it actually happened.

    I know the alphabet networks will never do it, but the time has come for Fox News to STOP treating Jackson, Sharpton and the other race baiters as people with legitimate opinions. They both have more than enough skeletons in their own closets.

  23. Chipster permalink
    October 16, 2009 8:00 pm

    The NFL can take a hike!

  24. Chris permalink
    October 16, 2009 8:38 pm

    Check out College game day on ESPN tomorrow (Saturday morning) because Mark Cuban is going to be a “special” guest…wtf?

    College football was my escape, now I can’t even watch that without the progressive indoctrination!

  25. Fritz Becker permalink
    October 16, 2009 9:09 pm

    I’m hoping that someone finally tears these race hustlers down, if Reverend Al and Jackson had pulled this sort of stunt in Britain they would have had their clocks cleaned for libel years ago. What they forget is that Rush Limbaugh is a private citizen, he may be a talk show host but he does not hold a public office therefore there are many avenues open to him litigation wise that would not be open to a public official. Rush hasn’t specifically stated what he will do, but he has hinted that there are a few things on the boil behind the scenes to deal with this. To be frank it wasn’t the NFL that dumped Rush it was one of his partners that caved in to the race baiting blackmail.

  26. Jenna permalink
    October 17, 2009 6:29 am

    Liberals politicize everything and everything they politicize eventually fails. Before hanging their political laundry out to dry, the NFL should have considered the sharp decline experienced by other entertainment venues after liberals took over. Americans used to be huge movie fans, but most don’t care to go to the movies anymore because Hollywood would rather lecture us than entertain us. Entertaining movies are few and far between and we’re not willing to waste $20 to be depressed, annoyed and offended. The same with TV. It’s no wonder folks live on the Internet, where they can control what they see and hear. Entertainers used to perform for the pleasure of their audiences; now they perform for the pleasure of their favorite liberal politicians and social causes.

    Fans realize that the movers and shakers in professional football have political preferences, but we never wanted those preferences to interfere with our enjoyment of the game. Unfortunately, “all good things come to an end” has finally come to the NFL. Now that professional football has become political and nasty, many fans will react to it the same way they react to other entertainment venues that have been tainted by politics: with cynicism, distrust and eventually disinterest, which is not good for business, Mr. Goodell. When one black man is prompted to tell another black man to “go back to the porch” because they disagree about Rush Limbaugh’s right to invest his money in an NFL team, recovery is unlikely.

  27. October 21, 2009 10:36 pm

    Rush isn’t a racist. But libs. like to call people racists to stifle the discussion on the real problems. Blacks are approximately 12% of the population, yet they commit a disproportionate amount of the crime. Then you have the race hustlers Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who extort money from US corporations and do nothing to improve race relations in America. Now, if you are white and oppose Obama’s marxist’s/socialist policies you are called a racist. So, if you are white you might as well admit that you are a racist and then make your legitimate point about Obama’s policies or race relations in America.

    Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson said Rush Limbaugh should not be involved in getting the Rams because he is divisive and incendiary. TALK ABOUT THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK. These two race hustling extortionists are nothing but divisive. This was an all out affront by the libs against Rush Limbaugh because of his political views. Roger Goodell said Rush’s comments about McNab were divisive and would not be tolerated by the NFL. His statements about McNab were true; the media were pumping him up like they do with Obama. Dave Checketts (CHICKENSxxT) could not take the heat and dropped Rush from the deal. Goodell has a self-righteous attitude about the NFL, but I remember how the NFL treated and screwed over Jerry Clinton when he tried to get a team for St. Louis. Jerry Clinton did everything he was supposed to do, but he was lied to and did not get the team.


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