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Wednesday Question - 10/14/09

Generally, we are the "authors" of "content" around here - "here" being a blog and not a message board. Recognize, we do, that you've come here not to contribute, but to consume. Nevertheless, there is the sporadic occasion where, either for our benefit or for to exercise the thinkifiers of the masses, we ask you a question. Today's question is ...

This is totally unrelated, but are you using that soapbox?  I desperately want to get on it.

Every now and again some sports story will bubble up from the depths, penetrating the veneer of my coverage of things related to Ole Miss.  When it happens, Ghost usually reprimands me.  I have offended often enough that I am a lowly "opinionated scribe," rather than a glorious "head honco."  But something has bubbled up that really "grinds my gears," so to speak.

Rush Limbaugh wants to be a minority ... owner of the St. Louis Rams.  See how I made a joke about Rush Limbaugh and the possibility that he harbors just a smidge of latent racism?  That's funny.  And it will still be funny if he becomes an NFL owner.  It will, furthermore, still be acceptable because Rush Limbaugh makes a great deal of money saying things he knows are outrageous, and saying outrageous things comes with its benefits and detriments.  One of the benefits is that you can make a lot of money.  One of the detriments is that everyone gets to parse whatever you say for underlying nefarious motivations.

What's not funny is the way that NFL owners are trying to block Limbaugh's bid.  


Indianapolis Colts owner, Jim Irsay:

"I've met Rush only once and he seemed like a nice guy. But when you see the comments that are out there, I would not be comfortable. I myself couldn't be in favor of voting for him.... We've got to watch our words in this world and our thoughts because they can do damage."

This is the first time I have ever heard of Jim Irsay.  I am inclined to like him because he hired a Manning and Tony Dungy.  In this situation, though, he and those who, like him, feel some moral duty to protect the NFL from controversial people are being blind, self-righteous, hyper-sensitive parts of the problem.

A brief interlude from sports commentary for social commentary:  from my perspective, I see a real-life, honest-to-goodness race problem in this country.  There is a wealth gap, an education gap, and a living gap - we literally move away from each other - about which we can disagree on their causes, but not on their existence.  But punishing a high-profile guy by denying him a high-profile business opportunity because he said some stuff is not helpful.  Now, don't get down there in the comments and talk about the First Amendment.  The NFL is a private business, and they can let in or out who they want or don't want free of government intrusion.  But treating Limbaugh like a leper because his thoughts might exhibit latent prejudices is hypocritical and counter-productive.  If everyone "trying" to solve our race problems would just recognize their own prejudices for a second, we might actually make some headway.

Back to sports:  The NFL is chock-full of nefarious characters.  Ray Lewis, allegedly, murdered a man.  Michael Vick just got out of prison.  Jeremy Shockey has been deposited in New Orleans, where I doubt it will be very long before he does something scorn-worthy.  Not to mention Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino.  Are the same owners who happily employ these people really trying to uphold the standards of the NFL?  Or are they stoking the fires of their moral uprightness and missing the splinter on account of the log?