"I think what we've had here
is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has
been very desirous that a black quarterback do well.
They're interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks
doing well. I think there's a little hope invested
in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance
of his team that he really didn't deserve. The
defense carried this team."
That was Rush Limbaugh's
ever-so-memorable observation on ESPN's NFL Sunday
Countdown about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback
The furor and backlash has
been tremendous and overpowering. The reaction of
the "mainstream" media was predictably extreme, hysterical
and hateful. The headlines on every network and in
every newspaper screamed about the uttering of a "racial
remark" by Rush. Everyone from presidential wannabes
to 3rd string bench warmers unleashed a furious
condemnation of the statement.
Even this mighty oak of the
conservative movement could not survive the ensuing
firestorm and was quickly forced to resign from the show.
A host of publications and
online news sources went so far as to call his comments a
racial slur and Rush himself a racist. Dick Meyer,
editorial director of CBSNews.com, was quick to weigh in.
"Am I delighted to see Rush Limbaugh attacked, ridiculed
and forced out of his ESPN gig?" Meyer asked.
"Absolutely, justice is being served." The NAACP
rather predictably called the comments "bigoted and
ignorant". Wesley Clark decided to join the effort
of making a mountain out of a molehill by calling the
comment "hateful and ignorant speech". Not to be
outdone, Howard Dean chimed in with the observation that
it was "absurd and offensive". And that beacon of
racial unity, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, told The
Associated Press that Limbaugh's remarks were "a painful
insult". The knee jerk assumption that bringing up
the subject of well-known racial preferences is akin to a
racial epitaph is both illogical and unfair.
The mistake that the king of
talk radio made was not in his logic, but in his choice of
subject matter for a sports show. Race is the deadly
third rail of both politics and popular culture.
Right or wrong, the facts of the matter mean absolutely
nothing. The only true sin is to go against the
grain and question the politics, preferences, and agendas
of race in modern society.
The simple days of "Just the
facts, ma'am", have been hopelessly diluted with
hyper-sensitivity, political correctness and racial
As the initial furor died
down, logic and statistics have started to actually enter
into the debate. Lo and behold, many have come
around to the viewpoint that Rush was right, at least in
regards to McNabb being an overrated quarterback.
Though there is always room for argument, it does appear
that Donovan McNabb is an over-hyped, mediocre quarterback
who has been carried by his defense, sports no Super Bowl
ring and has been given undue attention by sports writers
because of his skin color. And thanks to the Jesse
Jacksons and Al Sharptons in our midst, there is little
real dispute that the NFL has been obsessed about the
issue of black coaches as well as black quarterbacks.
Instead of rushing to check
the facts, the media rushed to judge the man who has spent
a lifetime using logic and humor to combat hysteria and
The real question is whether
Rush Limbaugh should have injected social commentary into
a sports show. The answer is no. Is it a
worthy topic that should be addressed? Absolutely.
But it should have been brought up at a more appropriate
time and place than on a lightweight pre-game show.
I would have to think that the syndicated Rush Limbaugh
radio program would have been the ideal vehicle for a
national exploration of media, race and sports. But
alas, that was not to be.
There is plenty of blame to
go around. ESPN and the world of sports should have
expected, anticipated and perhaps even welcomed a bit of
"controversy" by hiring the best-known political radio
personality in the country. One has to wonder at the
"shock and surprise" everyone seemed to exhibit when Rush
chose to rock the boat a bit. This is a man who has
made a huge career, not to mention untold millions, by not
being politically correct and by not being afraid to
challenge the sacred cows of the Left. It was just a
matter of time.
The simple truth is that if
you are a conservative white male, you are not allowed to
utter a word on race. The subject is taboo.
Crying "racist" is simply a tried and true method to
stifle true intellectual debate. Those who have
attempted to set the national agenda on race do not want
any questioning of their goals, motives or tactics and
will ruthlessly squash those who dare to challenge the
status quo. Race should be a subject that is
discussed openly and freely without the constant threat of
personal destruction and character assassination. In
the end, both Rush Limbaugh and the search for truth will