An Open Letter To Rush Limbaugh

Dear Mr. Limbaugh,
Well, you’ve really put your foot in it this time. As I’m sure you’ve admitted to yourself by now, your comments on ESPN last Sunday regarding Donovan McNabb and why in your opinion the NFL media overrates him were a big mistake. You’re a big enough guy–though not so much in the literal sense any more: congratulations on the recent weight loss–to admit when you’ve screwed up.
Mind you, I’m not saying you should pay any attention to the babblings of the usual suspects as they pander to the illiterates (of all ages, genders, and ethnic makeups) among their would-be constituents by demonstrating that they can’t read either. No, we both know that you were not racially insulting Donovan McNabb–you were suggesting that the NFL media might be actively race-conscious in deciding what athletes they wish to promote. Let’s be blunt, Mr. Limbaugh–you’ve done the men and women in question (including some of your new coworkers) a grave injustice.


Now, we both know that the NFL itself has shown itself to be more than a little willing to pander in the way you’ve suggested, by by mandating a ludicrous process where teams must make a show of considering minority candidates even when it is obvious to one and all that the team had a particular candidate in mind all along (as has always been typical when head coaching or managerial positions are concerned), thereby wasting the valuable time of the individuals who are called in to meet what is in fact a quota. If you had been talking about a minority head coach who was hired with questionable credentials and had performed in a mediocre fashion (as opposed to the numerous individuals who happened to be minorities who have done their jobs superlatively as head coaches/managers in major league sports), you would have been dead on in directing an accusation along the same lines of the McNabb remarks at the NFL itself. But you didn’t–you addressed what has been a dead letter in the NFL for at least ten years now: there’s no one with half a brain in the post-Doug Williams/Warren Moon era who thinks that black quarterbacks can’t cut it. Even Al Campanis wouldn’t be saying that, if he were still with us.
Now, I can understand why you might jump to such a conclusion. Since you apparently think that the praise directed at McNabb is completely unjustified, you looked for what seemed to be a reasonable explanation, and you chose one which you were familiar with from your full time job during the week. After all, you are very aware that the national media, particularly such institutions as the New York Times, is quite fond of the practice that you accused the NFL media of; namely, inflating the importance of certain otherwise unworthy individuals largely because of the skin color they happen to have. Examining the field of Democratic presidential candidates reveals two such individuals (one of whom would be an obscure local politician and the other of whom would be an obscure preacher rather than an ex-US Senator and a powerful political broker running for the Presidency without being laughed out of the country, were it not for the attention paid to and excuses made for them due to their race), and I think you’d agree that Jesse Jackson would have been sent up for extortion a long way back if Justice Departments of both major parties hadn’t decided a long time ago that a justified prosecution wasn’t worth the heat it would cause them.
Mr. Limbaugh, your mistake was mistaking ignorance with cravenness. The sports media in the United States is capable of great idiocies–in baseball, they’re going to deny the best player in the American League yet another MVP award because his teammates are inept, and they’re thinking about giving the NL MVP to someone other than Barry Bonds : have they completely taken leave of their senses? However, at no time did the professional media who cover the National Football League give you cause to accuse them of being the same kind of leftist-bias addled hacks with whom you have to deal with on a daily basis in the course of your everyday duties, and to accuse them of being such was a vile insult.
So swallow your pride and apologize to the NFL media, Rush. In your heart of hearts, you know they deserved better than to be compared to the New York Times editorial page.

Advertisements

5 comments

  1. Spoons

    “at no time did the professional media who cover the National Football League give you cause to accuse them of being the same kind of leftist-bias addled hacks with whom you have to deal with on a daily basis in the course of your everyday duties, and to accuse them of being such was a vile insult.”
    What are you basing that on, Scott? In my experience, sports reporters are far and away the most liberally biased group of reporters working. You wouldn’t ordinarily think that would come up, but virtually every day that I read the sports pages or listen to sports-talk radio, I encounter another instance of some self-important sports-reporter making what he thinks is a terribly witty insult directed at President Bush, Republicans, white people, rich people, etc. It’s amazing how often I hear references to George Bush from sports reporters (“That running back had about as much chance of finding a hole as George Bush had of finding Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq!”). I don’t know if Rush’s experience has been the same, but I don’t think your categorical rejection of this sort of bias is reasonable.

  2. M. Scott Eiland

    “I don’t know if Rush’s experience has been the same, but I don’t think your categorical rejection of this sort of bias is reasonable.”
    I think that categorical rejection of the idea that sportswriters are intentionally or even subconsciously protecting black quarterbacks against the now-minimal to nonexistent belief that black quarterbacks can’t cut it in the NFL is appropriate. If Rush had been complaining about a coach hired under what was obviously a quota, I’d be more inclined to find his scenario plausible, though I’d still like to see his reasons for thinking the way he does. Rush can do a good job of supporting an argument when he puts his mind to it. Now that he’s resigned from ESPN (saw your post on the topic) and doesn’t have to worry about keeping the brass there happy, I hope he does comment on whatever makes him think that this is still something that sports writers and broadcasters would feel the need to distort coverage about.

  3. M. Scott Eiland

    “Two words to back up your assertion on sports writers’ leanings. Keith. Olbermann”
    Question: Is there a reliable method of telling a left-wing dimwit from a run of the mill annoying a***ole? Because I always had Olbertwit pegged as the latter, and watching his new show on cable hasn’t changed that opinion a whit.

  4. Spoons

    Scott, run this google search: racism black quarterbacks. If you read even the first half-dozen or so items that come up, you’ll find that sports journalists have been positively obsessed with the lack of (or the new emergence of) black quarterbacks. Most of the pieces chalk up the lack of black quarterbacks in the past to racism, and are enthusiastic cheerleaders for those black quarterbacks who seem to be breaking the so-called color barrier.
    I don’t know anything about McNabb, but against that backdrop, Rush’s opinion that those same sports reporters are overrating McNabb’s talent for racial reasons ought to at least be within the realm of fair comment.