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Did Rush Limbaugh Deserve to Lose His NFL Bid?

Rush Limbaugh’s dreams of owning one of the NFL’s worst teams have been dashed, as the investment group he was a part of has unceremoniously announced that the talk-radio king is no longer a part of its bid. This comes a couple of days after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated that “divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about,” and implied that Limbaugh didn’t live up to the league’s “high standards” (insert aside about Michael Vick killing dogs and Donté Stallworth killing a person here). In addition to Goodell, various other NFL entities, including owners — three-fourths of which would have had to approve the team’s new ownership — and a number of black players, had also expressed their skepticism of allowing Limbaugh into the league. Now that it’s over, the recriminations have begun. Is the hateful liberal media to blame for an unjust blackballing of an outspoken conservative, or did Limbaugh just get what he deserved for a history of racially insensitive remarks?

• Toby Harnden points out that mainstream media outlets have been attributing supposedly unverified quotes about slavery and James Earle Ray to Limbaugh for the past week, and haven’t even apologized or corrected themselves. [Telegraph UK]

• Andy McCarthy claims that Limbaugh “treats people … in the Martin Luther King aspiration that the content of one’s character is what matters, not the color of one’s skin.” [Corner/National Review]

• Kathryn Jean Lopez says the only explanation is that Limbaugh’s politics made him unacceptable as an owner. “How else to interpret the state of a sports world where Keith Olbermann can be on Sunday Night Football and Rush Limbaugh’s hard-earned money can’t be spent as a partial owner of a team in a sport he loves?” [Corner/National Review]

• Mark Steyn chides: “Can Rush buy the St. Louis Rams if he gets Roman Polanski to front the deal?” [Corner/National Review]

• David Zirin kind of doubts that Limbaugh didn’t say the quote about the benefits of slavery, since it was reported in so many places, but even if he didn’t say it, there’s a “myriad of quotes on record he makes no effort to dispute.” Ultimately, the billionaire owners of the NFL, people who “constitute Limbaugh’s base,” were most concerned about “protect[ing] the bottom line.” [Nation]

• Adam Serwer counters the National Review crowd: “Limbaugh’s ‘political views’ weren’t the problem. His racial views were the problem,” making him “an inappropriate candidate to own a team in an organization with such a large contingent of African-Americans.” While “the right was focused on debunking racist things Limbaugh didn’t say, they pretty much ignored Limbaugh’s record of racist commentary, which includes not only a habit of comparing black athletes to gang members, but a general hostility toward black people.” [Tapped/American Prospect]

• Allahpundit doesn’t blame NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for hinting that he opposed Limbaugh’s ownership bid, since “seeing the league mentioned in news segments about a ‘plantation’ mentality can’t be good for the bottom line.” It’s not as if Rush will now be able to organize some kind of boycott over football, either. [Hot Air]

• Joe Klein points out that “[t]here’s nothing more mainstream conservative American, more red state than blue, than professional football,” so it “should be carefully digested by Republicans” when he’s considered “too controversial, too much of an extremist” to be an owner. He adds, “This should be a reality check for the fevered wingers, as well.” [Swampland/Time]

• Douglas McKinnon believes that “this one act of purely partisan-driven retribution” has “highlighted exactly why so many Americans fear freedom of speech and individual liberties may soon be a thing of the past.” [Townhall]

• John Hinderaker thinks the “successful slander and demonization of Rush Limbaugh is a misfortune; not primarily for him, but for all of us.” [Powerline]

• Stephen Hayes wonders why Fergie was allowed to become a part-owner of the Dolphins despite some questionable song lyrics. “So it’s not really ‘divisive’ speech that troubles the NFL, apparently, but a certain kind of ‘divisive’ speech.” [Blog/Weekly Standard]

• Eric Boehlert believes Limbaugh was “humiliatingly” kicked to the curb by his investment partners because of his “long record of hate speech.” [Media Matters]

• Michelle Malkin calls it a “damned shame” and wonders, “What’s next? Political litmus tests for fans, too?” [Michelle Malkin]

• Michael Tomasky writes that the NFL had “enough collective sense to say to a toxic racist: you’re a toxic racist, and we won’t have anything to do with you.” [Guardian UK]

Did Rush Limbaugh Deserve to Lose His NFL Bid?