Wednesday, October 14, 2009


This is one of many comments that have given Rush Limbaugh a not-so-favorable perception despite his status as a media icon. Some liberals, especially those who make a living from needling conservatives, may consider him the cancerous throat in the right wing movement in the United States. Some conservatives, especially those who enjoy philosophical banter with their counterparts, see him as a flawed, but passionate champion of the cause to bring America back to an idyllic time that may have never truly existed. Moderates may view him as a blowhard who would likely find an enemy in every corner of a gentrified Harlem or a friend in a certain Congressman that defied proper House decorum recently.

The story surrounding Limbaugh as a potential bidder for ownership of the St. Louis Rams has exploded to the point that there is little else to add to the conversation except the above audio clip and an overlooked consideration if majority owner Chip Rosenbloom truly takes a look in his direction.

If the team owners consider a potential sale to this group, it would show that the Limbaugh/Dave Checketts union is more about Limbaugh’s cash and Checketts’ resume than it is about Limbaugh’s views. For those who don't know, Checketts was pretty much born into the sports business. From becoming the youngest General Manager in NBA history for the Utah Jazz at 28 years old to evenutally becoming president of the New York Knicks in 1991 to the head of all Madison Square Garden properties to his current ownership of Real Salt Lake (MLS) and the NHL Blues, Checketts has faced nearly every challenge the sports business has.

With a tenuous stadium situation for the Edward Jones Dome and a painfully quick fall back to the bottom rung of the NFL after Super Bowl success about a decade ago, the Rams are in need of a steady hand at the table. Yes, money can provide everything a fan base desires, but an absurd amount of riches can be a curse if not managed properly (see Oakland, Dallas and Washington).

I do believe that Jason Cole at Yahoo! Sports says it best in regards to how the other owners (even Oakland's much-maligned Al Davis) are going to monitor the Limbaugh bid:

For all the hard-hitting and violence of the NFL, the reality is that the league likes the benign a lot more. It’s like when singer Glenn Campbell had his show in the 1970s and was going against the likes of the Smothers Brothers. When Campbell’s producers urged him to take on political topics, he refused. He wanted his show to be an escape, not an agitator. As a result, he had much higher ratings.

And folks, the NFL is all about ratings (duh). This isn’t even about how the players or the NFL Players Association or anybody really feels about Limbaugh. It’s about providing an escape from the likes of Limbaugh. Keep the people happy as they watch and, most importantly, spend. The NFL is the Disney World of sports and just as Disney makes sure that none of the paying customers wear anything out of line, the NFL restricts folks from saying anything out of line (just ask Jerry Jones).
In the sports business, we have seen time and time again how individuals will leverage their fame, access and resources to become players in the boardroom. Look across the major league landscape and you’ll find people from various backgrounds who, while having some passionate interest in the games, probably have no reason to be involved (Jay-Z, Usher, pretty much everyone who has a piece of the Miami Dolphins outside of principal owner Stephen Ross). Unless Rush agrees to let Checketts handle the minutae of the Rams' business without having to concern himself about his partner's provocative politics, there's little chance that the owners will bring him into the fold.

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