Oct
07
2009

'Rush the Racist' Bidding for St. Louis Rams?

"Rush the Racist?" is the headline over a commentary written by retired NFL receiver Keenan McCardell on the Washington Post's sports blog, the League–and the question many football fans might ask upon hearing the news that Rush Limbaugh is bidding to become co-owner of the St. Louis Rams.

That's because Limbaugh has a long record of making racist remarks. In a Los Angeles Times op-ed written by FAIR founder Jeff Cohen and myself, we documented many instances of Limbaugh's racism, including his admission that he once told a black caller to "take that bone out of your nose," his assertion that "all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson," and his advice to a group with a 90-year commitment to nonviolence: "The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies."

Last year Limbaugh referred to Barack Obama as "the little black man-child." This past January, while discussing Barack Obama with Sean Hannity on Fox, Limbaugh said, "We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this is the first black president."

So the prospect of Limbaugh owning a team in a league where nearly two-thirds of the players are African-American should be natural media buzz generator. As CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman wrote under the headline "NFL's Greatest Nightmare," "sometimes these column thingies write themselves." (Unfortunately, Freeman's column, also posted on the Washington Post's League blog, repeated an alleged Limbaugh quote about the merits of slavery that is unverified.)

Perhaps Limbaughâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s most notable remark in the St. Louis context was his 1994 response to learning from a caller to his show that St. Louis would be extending a light rail system into East St. Louis–a community of some 40,000 residents, almost all of whom are black. Said Rush (The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, New Press, 1995): "They got a light rail system to East St. Louis where nobody goes?"

Reporters might ask East St. Louis residents what they think about the prospect of Rush Limbaugh owning their local football team.

About Steve Rendall

Senior Media Analyst and Co-producer of CounterSpin Steve Rendall is FAIR's senior analyst. He is co-host of CounterSpin, FAIR's national radio show. His work has received awards from Project Censored, and has won the praise of noted journalists such as Les Payne, Molly Ivins and Garry Wills. He is co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error (The New Press, 1995, New York City). Rendall has appeared on dozens of national television and radio shows, including appearances on CNN, C-SPAN, CNBC, MTV and Fox Morning News. He was the subject of a profile in the New York Times (5/19/96), and has been quoted on issues of media and politics in publications such as the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and New York Times. Rendall contributed stories to the International Herald Tribune from France, Spain and North Africa; worked as a freelance writer in San Francisco; and worked as an archivist collecting historical material on the Spanish Civil War and the volunteers who fought in it. Rendall studied philosophy and chemistry at San Francisco State University, the College of Notre Dame and UC Berkeley.