Limbaugh, Obama, and the NFL
Joseph Ashby argues that something fishy is being ignored in the matter of Rush Limbaugh’s failed bid to buy the Rams.
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.
Despite the fact that Smith’s opposition was based on Limbaugh’s political commentary, the report failed to mention that Smith’s political connections (including those to whom he donated thousands of dollars) have a vested interest in Limbaugh’s discrediting.
Smith’s gross conflict of interest and apparent political targeting of Obama’s top foe is a huge story. Unfortunately the media appears too blinded by their prejudice of Limbaugh to report on it.
To summarize, we know that a former Obama official and political ally–who was chosen by the NFLPA specifically for his political clout and connections to the highest rungs of power in government–directly attacked Limbaugh for the radio-talker’s political commentary.
Historically politicians have been prone to vindictive and petty behavior, but never in American history has someone had so much power to pummel his political opponents as President Obama. With control over banks, insurance companies, car companies, media (sports media included) and unions (like the NFL players union), Obama tentacles seem to penetrate into nearly every corner of the nation.
Glenn Reynolds, from whom I got the link, doesn’t directly comment but does pass on this from a reader email: “BTW this is a big, big deal, and something Nixon ( or maybe Gene Talmadge or George Wallace in his heyday.) would have done. The difference is the press wouldn’t have played along then. Not because it was wrong. The press could care less about that ( Go look up Walter Duranty), but because Nixon wasn’t a Democrat. It’s all about power with the press…their power. You get in between them and it, heaven help you.”
Now, unlike Glenn, I am not a lawyer (or, as they say on the Internets, “IANAL”). But I fail to see a problem here.
For the sake of argument, let’s concoct an outlandish conspiracy totally unsupported by facts:
Attorney General Holder personally called Smith and says: “Hey, Rush Limbaugh has placed a bid to become a minority owner of the Rams. He’s been a real thorn in our sides. Do whatever you can to screw him over and paint him as a racist. I’ll send over some fake quotes that I saw on Wikipedia which will help!’
Smith: “Yes, sir, boss! I’ll also call up Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. They’ll help for free, since Limbaugh makes fun of them all the time.”
At this point, the story unfolds as we’ve seen it.
(Again, this is a completely made-up scenario. It strikes me as far more plausible that Smith and Holder — both African American liberal Democrats — came to dislike Limbaugh independently and needed no coordination whatsoever. Ockham’s Razor and all that.)
Would any laws have been broken? Would Smith or Holder be in violation of any professional codes? Would Smith be in any violation of his fidiciary duties as NFLPA head? None that I can see. Limbaugh’s a controversial figure believed by a not inconsiderable number of people to be racist. It’s quite likely, then, that some number of NFLPA members were antsy about Limbaugh as an owner.
Further, Smith is an attorney. Like many in his profession, he’s had numerous clients. Does having had a client in the past that might have some tangential interest in a matter being worked on for a current client usually require some sort of formal disclosure? I’m unaware of such a requirement but, again, IANAL.
This word, “prejudice,” it does not seem to mean what the original writer thinks it means.
Since Limbaugh has a career in public speaking that encompasses 2 decades, can a retrospective evaluation of his comments, even if flawed, constitute prejudice?
Of course it can’t.
DocJ: agreed with you that the conspiracy is a stretch. The legal question is an even bigger stretch. People who are reading too deeply into this issue are on the border of Charles-Johnsonism, where guilt by association tests the limits of reality. Limbaugh (love listening to him), as Poliblogger noted in some entry, is too much of a lightning rod for the NFL (which is also quite Conservative), whose business interests preclude it from going political.
One Fine Jay –
Your “too much of a lightning rod” theory is disproved utterly and entirely by the continued employment by the NFL / NBC of the creepy misogynist and serial fabulist (see, e.g., his infamous “Cornell” education claims) Keith Olbermann.
If the NFL’s business interests “preculde it from going political”, as you assert, then Olbermann would be watching Football Night in America at home with the rest of us, not a featured performer in the show.
Thus we must look elsewhere for explanations, and the naked (or veiled) exercise of political power is as good a reason as any for the NFL’s campaign against Limbaugh.
“Nice league you got there. Be a shame if anything happened to it.” The Chicago Way, if you will.
Benedict: Touche. Since I only watch about an hour or so of football a week, I had no idea that Olbermann remains associated with the NFL. I thought that lunatic was the king of an island of one on MSNBC and that’s it.
I’ve got to agree with Benedict.
I like Docta J’s (good call OFJ) rational and typically emotionless analyses; that’s why I come here. However, Obama and his administration defy a lot of conventional American conceptions of politics, in that his team has been more strongly influenced by utilitarianism and the awkwardly forced (and fake) synchronicity of modern Western Europe than previous liberal administrations. Socialism has been a slow, steady crawl for the Dems, but the idea of using real third-world revolutionary tactics hadn’t been truly broached until now. This administration doesn’t see itself as the most powerful group in the world because that is anathema to their goals.
These liberals are the first of my generation’s teachers and leaders to make it to the big stage, and they’re acting on everything they tried to force into my head, K through college. Scares me more than a little, because most folk just don’t accept the possibility of significant change in America, even if they’ve lived through it before.
When I hear Anita Dunn praise Mao, I don’t think that she wants to institute the Great Leap Forward. I do think that she believes melding Mother Theresa’s kindness (hey, we won’t kill them!) with Mao’s efficiency (re-education of impressionable adults, indoctrination of children). Part of that strange blend would be attacking a political opponent in every sense imaginable… just so long as you don’t kill them.
James are you suggesting Rush is a racist? I know you are too educated to listen to his program so you must draw an opinion based upon what others say. I usually get to listen to Rush during my lunch break. I think Rush looks at the whole picture. Some commenters only look at a small portion of what is a larger picture. You would have to be an idiot to believe this administration is leading us in a direction which history tells us is a mistake. When an Obama spokes person gives a speech to students expounding the virtues of Mao, who was responsible for the deaths of at least 70,000,000 people. You just might want to take another look James, before it is too late. Makes me think we need to revive the House Committee on UnAmerican activities
Thus we must look elsewhere for explanations
The short and concise one:
NFL/NBC: Keith Olbermann — still employed and in good standing in “sportsâ€ community
NFL/ESPN: Rush Limbaugh – fired (Oct `03) not in good standing in “sportsâ€ communtiy
Time to move on….
C’mon. Most people who have driven anywhere have listened to Rush, and if not you’ve seen clips whether on the news, internet, Youtube or the like. This whiny notion that we don’t understand him, because we don’t listen to him daily is just plain silly. I doubt your attending Operation Push meetings regularly, but you have an opinion on Jesse Jackson. Unless you speak Arabic you’ve never even heard Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his natural language, but I’m sure you have an opinion on the President of Iran. You can have any opinon on Rush that you want, but most of us find his opinions at least bordering on racist. And we have good cause.
“”Limbaugh’s a controversial figure believed by a not inconsiderable number of people to be racist. “”
Those making this accusation , don’t believe it for a second, this is just a way for people without an argument to discredit those with whom they disagree! As long as it works these bullies will continue using it.
If that makes you sleep better at night. Wish, wish it away.
The issue here is not whether the lack of disclosure was unlawful, but whether it was inappropriate. When a writer tells a story aboout DeMaurice Smith writing a letter on behalf of the NFLPA, isn’t there an ethical obligation to disclose to the reader his ties to the Democrat Party?
Surely, not in every story for the rest of his life? It’s public knowledge and his biography was heavily publicized at the time of his selection for the post. At this juncture, though, he’s NFLPA head and expressing a view that’s quite reasonable given a disproportionately black membership and Limbaugh’s baggage.
“At this juncture, though, he’s NFLPA head and expressing a view that’s quite reasonable given a disproportionately black membership and Limbaugh’s baggage.”
What a sad day for OTB.
Derrick – slightly off-topic, but Ahmadinejad’s Persian – he doesn’t speak Arabic, but Farsi.
“You would have to be an idiot to believe this administration is leading us in a direction which history tells us is a mistake.”
I don’t disagree. But in this context, I think it appropriate. Given who Limbaugh is, it is noteworthy that the person purportedly talking on behalf of the NFLPA also has political ties (and not merely tenuous ties) oppositite those the person he is criticizing. It certainly seems like it could affect the reader’s perception of Smith’s comments.
When an unreported facts would cause a casual reader to have a different perception about the reported facts, I think it unethical not to disclose those facts. To the casual reader, even NFL fans, I would guess Smith is not a known quantity. If Condoleeza Rice ever makes it to the Commissioner of the NFL (which was probably already unlikely, but seems even moreso now), you wouldn’t have to continue to mention her affliaition with the Bush administration or the Republican party, because most members of the moderately informed public would know that. Smith is not in that category I don’t think.
A couple of the black players on the Rams also said they’d leave the team if Rush bought the club. But they failed to disclose that they had given money to Obama’s campaign in 2008!!!!!1! And I bet tens of thousands of people across the country heard about Limbaugh’s bid and protested while secretly liking Obama.
Chilling. It’s like the mafia.
It would actually make me sleep better at night if the practice weren’t so prevalent.
Do you sleep better knowing there are bullies out there on the wall defending prejudice?
Do you want them on that wall? Do you NEED them on that wall? [lol]
Why can’t you conservatives follow your own mantra of personal responsibility and quit playing, as Larry Elder would say the “victocrat”?
Rush over the decades has made it clear he is a cleverly disguised mouthpiece of the right wing conservative “use the Nigg#$#” to scare the crap out of whitey as a way to force a divisive wedge between the American people.
Is it a coincidence that Reagan kicked off his campaign for Prez in 1980 in Philadelphia Mississippi home of the KKK and where the civil rights workers were murdered?
Or Bush the elder kicking off his campaign in 1988 at Bob Jones University, which at the time, banned interracial marriage (that means no snow white girls marrying jungle bunnies to put it honestly.)
How can you obviously intelligent people possibly excuse the blatantly “subtle” Republican/Rush racism.
Rush has gone on record as being against Affirmative action, the voting rights act, the civil rights act, MLK holiday, “Obama’s America”, etc.
As one of your treasured icons once said, “if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…it must be duck…”
Rush, like the supposed liberals he wishes to destroy, cries out like a welfare queen, blaming all those around him (Obama, media etc) for his own failures.
Look in the mirror racist/drug addict and take responsibility for the thuggish remarks over the years and realize that it is for that reason alone that you failed.
But, instead of being the upstanding-accept-responsibility-proud-Republican, he cries like an infant at his putative enemies.
“This is the latest assault on people who believe in rugged individualism and liberty and freedom who threaten the whole notion of state control tyranny and central authority which is typified by the Obama administration and the Democrat Party.
So, Jerry Jones, Woody Johnson, Robert McNair et al. are pawns of that dark skin spear chucker in the white house?
All those Marxist billionaires in the NFL, just can’t have a conservative in their midst?
Has this guy gone back to his Oxycontin days of irrational delusions.
And as for all the Rush defenders out there, I grew up in “lberal” west side LA, and I can assure you that if I had a dime for everytime I heard the word Nigger when Tom Bradley ran for Mayor in 73, I could’ve retired at the age of 12.
Those who defend Rush, I have found, more often than not ascribe to his subtle form of racism and cry foul when accused of it.
Rush’s remarks on McNabb were not made in a vacuum – it was a culmination of years of bs that he’d been serving up, only this time, it wasn’t a bunch of ignorant rednecks listening to his biased radio program – it was a nationwide television audience who were subjected to his bile.
His comments, “The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback can do well….
Yeah, Rush and what about the media wanting Jessie Owens to do well? or Joe Louis? or Jackie (the great Republican) Robinson to do well?
Or what about the media wanting Michael Phelps or Bodie Miller, or our darling little female gymnists to do well? Or our troops to do well? Or for corporate profits to do well (anyone read the WSJ?)
He had to use the veiled race card of “black QB to do well” (red meat to his supporters) and he cannot be given the benefit of the doubt due to all the nigger baiting he had done in the past.
P.S. to all you closet racists out there who may write in about me using the “N” word, go f yourselves…be honest and admit that when your friends say it, you don’t object or correct them.
They are not members of the media reporting the story, so who cares if they don’t say anything. And, notably, I am not even saying that Smith has to say it himself. My quote was directed only at the people writing the story.
What a sad day for OTB.
What a typical friggin’ day for friggin’ dittoheads…
I doubt you were upset when Rush was bullying Michael J. Fox because a handicapped person dared to speak on an issue. I doubt you were upset when Rush was bullying Republicans who dared criticize him. You aren’t a bit concerned about bullying in general just if it happens to someone that you like. The fact that a big bully like Rush got bullied for once doesn’t bother me one bit.
You guys can’t be this willfully ignorant. If John Boener, minority leader to the REPUBLICAN PARTY, was trying to buy in, nobody would care one bit. This isn’t about Rush being a Republican, this is about him being a racist wanting to own a team in a league filled with the people offended by him. The fact that none of you can see the difference just points to your denial.
Will the whining of the angry right ever cease? Signs point to no…
“You can have any opinion on Rush that you want, but most of us find his opinions at least bordering on racist. And we have good cause.”
Who is us?
“I doubt you were upset when Rush was bullying Michael J. Fox because a handicapped person dared to speak on an issue.”
As I recall, Rush was critical of Fox because he let slip that he acted up his disability when speaking to groups and when in front of the cameras.
Rush a racist. Only if you listen to sound bites taken out of context and, in this instance, listen to the media making up quotes.
“Derrick – slightly off-topic, but Ahmadinejad’s Persian – he doesn’t speak Arabic, but Farsi.”
There are Iranians who say the Arabs, meaning the extremists, have taken over in Iran.
Us includes the NFL players, media members and others you’ve heard speak out and spell out for you the fact that Limbaugh’s racist tone is divisive and unwanted. You can close your eyes and cover your ears, but he’s about as unpopular as any figure in the US.
Rush has been quoted, there’s Youtube footage, audio tracks and the like detailing his racist views on others. You can dither around about a quote that neither side has fully proven is true or false, but the record is there. This isn’t about one thing he’s said.
Why is that unlikely? Limbaugh is getting this treatment because of the vile words that have come out of his mouth…Condoleeza Rice has never said such odious things…
By the way, those making the false argument that Limbaugh is being treated “unfairly” while Keith Olbermann is still involved in the NFL are comparing apples and oranges, as this conservative writer argues…
Also, to echo Derrick’s point above…
It is quite amusing for anyone to whine about bullies attacking Limbaugh, considering he is one of the biggest bullies among current public figures…
It’s not working here.
“Us includes the NFL players, media members and others you’ve heard speak out and spell out for you the fact that Limbaugh’s racist tone is divisive and unwanted. You can close your eyes and cover your ears, but he’s about as unpopular as any figure in the US.”
Talking points. Where did you get them?
lolz, Rush is not a Racist, or divisive, or controversial, he just gives liberals their own bullshit back, and they don’t like it!
You know why?
It because liberals make up their bullshit, and when RUSH USES IT AGAINST THEM IT IS FUNNY BECAUSE THERE IS TRUTH IN IT, I.E. LIBERALS BELIEVE THEIR OWN BULLSHIT SO IT IS THEIR TRUTH AND RUSH IS TRUTHFUL WHEN HE COMICALLY POINTS THIS OUT~!!@!@!
It’s why most of you hate him liberals, and because he is a conservative, and because he is a rich white people who isn’t a liberal.
You know what take and get the bone scraped out of your head were your brain is meant to be, or better yet take Obama’s pole out of you ear…..
The thing that is deeply disturbing here, and only mildly comical, is that James and his right-leaning follower have to defend a guy like Rush. Why? Because an NFL franchise is important to the future American politics?
No, because they they are hitched to Rush and defending him is important to the future of Republican politics.
Is Rush your hero James? I think you’ve said not, and yet you have to come back to defend him again and again. Poor you.
(As an aside, I don’t watch/listen to Rush or Olbermann. I can definitely get that Olbermann is mired in something … caught in a outrage-oratory feedback loop … but I don’t need to defend him. He isn’t important to my future.)
I don’t often do this,a nd I hope James will forgive this… but I have some video posted you’ll want to see, along with my comments in full here.
As I say in my piece… This is not about race, and never has been This is about politics.
Well sure, and as long as you are hitched to Rush, you’ll care about attacks on him.
If they’ll make such things political tell me how I’m to be assured my liver transplant won’t also be made a byproduct of my political thinking… that my non-support for the currently politically correct mantra won’t prevent me from getting healthcare, when the politically correct run healthcare.
Health care is a much more important question to me than what’s up with Rush.
I mean, let’s pause and just consider this topic again for a moment. Do you think I woke up this morning and thought “gosh, I wonder what’s going on with Rush Limbaugh?”
No, I really don’t care. There are many serious issues in our world and Rush is in my book not one of them. Health care is. The state of the economy is. Asset allocation in a time of quantitative easing is.
But Rush, no. I would not be bringing him up if he were not already your focus!
God, the laughter the rightwing nutties provide.
Yes, innocent ol’ Rush was just walking along, smelling the roses and minding his own business of buying into an NFL team, when suddenly, out of nowhere, he was totally blindsided by critics making up all sorts of untrue allegations. Why, Rush never played the “Barack the Magic Negro” song on his show. (And besides, that’s hardly bigoted, much less racist anyway!)
Yeah, his critics really have no leg to stand on. It’s all made up.
Y’know, none of you rightwing nutties ever responded to Steven Taylor’s comment quoted in Joyner’s previous post on this topic:
I think Taylor is decisive here. So, why do you righwing nutties hate business and individual freedom so much? Why do you want the government to insert its dirty little hands into private business? Why, O, Why! Pray tell!
Oh sweet bejebus…I see we are now in black helicopter land…I thought conservatives were supposed to be against victimization? That certainly doesn’t seem to be the case with all the whining going on here…
LOL. They are–other people’s victimization, that is. When it’s their own–no matter how credulous or unbelievable–well, then, they’re all for all sorts of investigations and constitutional amendments.
Do I really need to remind you that the song was a pull-off of an op-ed bit written by a black guy?
Of course now, HE’s racist, too?
This side of the issue reminds me of 2004 when the left made such noise about the alleged connections between the Swift Boat Vets for Truth and the Bush administration. If you accept the logic behind that argument, then the argument that DeMaurice Smith was acting at the behest of the Obama Administration is equally valid. In fact, Smith was a prominent member of Obama’s transition team, whereas none of the SBVfT were closely tied with Bush. Goose and gander stuff for the intellectually honest.
J*S*S H F****N’ C**I*T!!! The man makes a living making a target out of himself? And some of you complain when people take shots at him?????
Rush may or may not be a racist, but one thing can not be denied: He has made more than a little bit of money by making racist comments.
Does that make him a racist, or an opportunist?
Which is worse?????
It’s like arguing with little kids, the liberals, lol….
LOL evolution is not racist, nor is Barrack the magic donkey who sat in a racist church for 20 years, the same guys who supports the racist genocide of abortion upon the “black race”(humans with a darker pigment), or African Americans if your a racist politically correcter who can’t see past the 3rd world poophole were someones ancestors came from because you have been taught to multicultural like thats worth anything more then some good food, lolz.
G.A.: Sounds like you’re listening to the voices in your head again. Time to take your medication.
No I’m listing to you guys lol, and making jokes about your tunnel vision and absence of the knowledge of the history, of things and people you believe in, belong too, and support..
And your response would be for me to get medicated after seeing one of your witch doctors, lol….
Dude that you only believe what is rewritten or made up is your flaw not mine, tho I do have many, being a victim half*** propaganda is not one of them.