By Kevin Wilson: PNT columnist
It’s happened in other lifetimes. Just not mine.
A small percentage of me, the part that’s not about common sense, wants to see Rush Limbaugh join the fraternity of NFL ownership. It wants to see African-American players boycott a professional sports franchise. And it wants to see an all-white team in a league that is 65 percent black.
It will never happen. But Al Sharpton’s fighting it anyway.
Limbaugh, the conservative radio host who openly hopes President Barack Obama fails, is part of a bid with St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts to buy a 60 percent stake in the St. Louis Rams. The bid has made more waves than most ownership bids, largely due to Limbaugh’s history of statements on the NFL and race relations.
He said Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb got too much credit for the Eagles’ success because the media wants a black quarterback to succeed. He said the NFL’s rough play reminds him of the Bloods and Crips street gangs, minus weapons. And in response to a school bus fight between black kids and white kids, Limbaugh advocated a return to segregated busing.
Several African-American players, including McNabb, have brought these statements up as reason their services will not be available to any team affiliated with Limbaugh. And players union president DeMaurice Smith has already indicated to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell the union is against the purchase.
Enter Sharpton. The civil rights leader and consistent candidate for president wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, asking this purchase not be approved by NFL owners.
Hey Al, the league’s got this one covered. The group with Limbaugh requires 75 percent approval from other NFL owners, a group so opposed to rocking the boat they still haven’t created an instant replay system that guarantees the right calls are made. I don’t see NFL owners adding a partner two-thirds of its workforce might boycott.
If I were a Rams fan, would I want Rush Limbaugh in the owner’s box? Nope. Nor would I want lawmakers or perennial candidates for office imposing their will and blocking the NFL’s right to make its own decisions.
An all-white team will never happen in my lifetime. Not through a chain of random circumstances losing every black player and adding only white players through the draft, free agency and trades. And certainly not through an NFL ownership group that approves Limbaugh against the wishes of the union and its players.
The NFL never asked for Sharpton’s help, but he gave it anyway and made it public when he could have been fighting discrimination for victims who aren’t getting the press they need. One could easily conclude Sharpton is more interested in using a private business and a national pastime to get his name out — then taking credit for a derailment effort that would succeed without him — to boost political aspirations than he is in improving race relations.
How do I feel about Sharpton’s efforts? Though it pains me to admit it, Limbaugh said it best.
I hope he fails.