During Oakland’s spectacular win against Boston tonight, ESPN carried the story that Rush Limbaugh has quit NFL Sunday Countdown because of the reaction to his comments about Eagles QB Donovan McNabb. I didn’t hear about this until yesterday, so if anyone is in the same boat, Rush said:
"The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well,’’ Limbaugh said. “There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team.”
When the usual interest groups started criticizing him, in typically obnoxious fashion, he added “All this has become the tempest that it is because I must have been right about something. If I wasn’t right, there wouldn’t be this cacophony of outrage that has sprung up in the sports writer community.” [Typical Rush: if people start telling you you’re a moron, you MUST be right! :rolleyes:]
Here’s my take:
First of all, who didn’t see this coming? ESPN hired Rush because he’s controversial. They were hoping to trade in on his controversial ways to boost ratings - hardly an unusual tactic. But I have to think that they had to be at least dimly aware that at some point, he was going to go too far and either he’d quit or they’d have to get rid of him. I’m sure they hoped it would last longer than… what, six weeks? But still.
The major controversy, I’m sure, will be “is the comment really racist?” He doesn’t say black QBs are all bad; he doesn’t even say McNabb is bad. He says he’s overrated. (No questioning the Eagles’ defense, but I disagree.) The comment is definitely racial in nature. The problem, to me, is the first sentence: “The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well.” By saying this, he implies that the QBs getting a boost from the (mostly white) media that they don’t really deserve. Which further implies the league’s black QBs need the help because they’re not good enough.
I think he deserved to get nailed for that, not just because it IS insulting, but because it doesn’t make sense. Warren Moon is black, and he was EXTREMELY successful. He’s one of the all-time greats, bar none. And Randall Cunningham was one of the NFL’s most exciting and well-known players a decade or more before McNabb. You could also infer from the statement that Michael Vick wouldn’t have got so much press last year if he was white, which I think it also a crock.
To me, Rush probably could have gotten away with this comment if he’d been talking sports on his radio show, where the audience tunes in because they agree with him (or are entertained by him, at least). It would’ve been controversial, but that’s his thing. It surely wouldn’t have cost him his job. His fans are different from the crowd watching ESPN; mixing sports and politics is dangerous. You can say that McNabb was overrated and I’m sure millions of people will agree. Saying he’s overrated because he’s black is just pushing buttons.
One other comment: I say kudos to McNabb, who said “An apology would do no good because he obviously thought about it before he said it.” Not that Rush moved to apologize; I just applaud the principle. Often, when someone makes a statement like this, they get an absurdly large benefit of the doubt. Rush denies his comment was racist, and I’m not going to disagree 100%- but he’s a professional commentator, and this was not a spontaneous remark. He knows what he’s saying and said what he meant to say.
What do you guys (and gals) think?