The news today was a veritable barge-load of blather about Rush Limbaugh. I am sure that others have a good deal more to say about this than I, but I am, after all, the reigning monarch of this microscopic piece of cyberspace, and because I cannot resist saying a couple words about it, I shall.
Rush a Racist?
The racist charge is one hundred percent pure bullshit. His statement on ESPN breaks down into two parts. First, he gave his opinion about the athletic prowess of Donovan McNabb (a name unknown to me before yesterday), and he then opined that the press might be cutting this man a break because he is black.
As for the first part of Limbaughâ€™s statement, it may well be that he was all wrong about Mr. McNabbâ€™s prowess. I donâ€™t pretend to know. However, all one needs to do is listen for ten minutes to one of those awful sports call-in programs or watch one of those dipshit pre-game football shows to see that opinions about sports and about athletes are as common as shit and often about as interesting.
Assuming for the moment that Rush was factually wrong about the manâ€™s ability as a quarterback, so what? It was his opinion. Sports fans could (and seemingly do) argue forever about McNabbâ€™s or any other quarterbackâ€™s relative merits. Limbaugh never said anything even remotely suggesting that there is something about blacks that prevents them from successfully playing quarterback. That, sports fans, would be a racist statement, but Limbaugh never said anything like that.
As for the second part of Limbaughâ€™s statement, give me a break, for Chrissake. He said (rather inarticulately), â€œWhat we have here is a little social concern in the N.F.L. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback can do well â€” black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well.â€
Whatâ€™s the basis for the outrage? Where is the racism?
What I see is a charge that the media is overly concerned about political correctness and is condescending to black players (condescension being something that is perhaps even more sickening, pernicious and harmful than out-in-the-open racism). That is also his opinion, and if the media disputes his opinion, that is something between him and the media to slug out. Neither Donovan McNabb nor blacks in general have a dog in that fight.
The NFL has apparently expressed its outrage at Limbaughâ€™s statement as well. More hypocritical horseshit. The NFL expressly plays the race game by requiring NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for a coaching position before hiring anyone for the spot. This is a practice that is profoundly dumb, and one that is supremely condescending to worthy black candidates who will always be left to wonder whether they got a real or a token interview. So, for the NFL to bristle at the statement that the media â€œhas been very desirous that a black quarterback [and black coaches] â€¦ do wellâ€ is nonsensical and downright laughable.
Finally, I get kick out of the New York Times tut-tutting about suggestions that the media might, just might cut a black athlete a special break. Wasnâ€™t it the New York Times that, in the name of giving a minority reporter extra breaks, tolerated Jason Blairâ€™s known plagiarism and shoddy reporting, conduct that would have gotten anyone else fired?
Whether you like Limbaugh or not, using his most uninteresting statement as a basis for concluding he is a racist is crap.
Rush an Illegal User and Purchaser of Legal Drugs?
Holding aside the partisan motives of those responsible for breaking this story, and holding aside the skuzzy tactics used to obtain the story, and holding aside the stench surrounding the storyâ€™s timing, these allegations, if true, are sad and serious.
Notably Mr. Limbaugh has not denied any of the allegations, and indeed his posture thus far bespeaks a person who has been well counseled to say nothing, at least until the government tips its hand. In this regard, it has been reported that Limbaugh has retained Roy Black, the well-known defense attorney.
If indeed he became addicted to prescription opiates and similar pain-killing drugs, he dealt with it in exactly the wrong (and reckless) way. If truly addicted, he would have been much wiser to deal with his addiction publicly, rather than, as charged, to enter the netherworld of buying drugs illicitly. I think that most people, based on personal experience or based on knowledge of others who have managed to become addicted to pain-killers, would have given him enormous amounts of slack, and his fans would have found his forthrightness to be something else to love about him.
Unfortunately for him, he could well be in legal soup over this one. Time will tell.