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.