Limbaugh called himself the “mirror of what America is becoming” in response to the racially and politically-charged move he claims was behind his ouster from the exclusive gentry of NFL ownership.
To begin today’s radio program, Limbaugh provided background to this episode, saying he met Dave Checketts last spring on the Trump-owned golf course in West Palm Beach (Checketts was leading the group to buy the Rams). Checketts, Limbaugh claimed, had heard of the broadcaster’s desire to be part of the Rams’ ownership.
Then, sometime in late May or early June, Limbaugh hosted Checketts at his house to learn more about his plans for purchasing the team. Anticipating the public firestorm over Limbaugh’s potential involvement, Checketts assured Limbaugh he had “cleared this at the highest level of the NFL.” Limbaugh now berates himself for not clarifying who was the NFL source (presumably Commissioner Goodell), but took Checkett’s word that it was “all handled,” and that Checketts was fully prepared for “what was going to happen.”
When word leaked out that last week that Limbaugh was being considered for the ownership stake in the Rams, the firestorm erupted as predicted. Limbaugh derides African American leaders Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton for their immediate opposition. More recently, Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay weighed in, saying he, too, would also oppose any prospective group that included the famous talk show host.
But Limbaugh says the roof collapsed when the newly elected executive director of the National Football League became involved. This past spring, DeMaurice Smith was selected as NFLPA executive director, replacing the late Gene Upshaw. The 45-year-old Smith, considered a surprise choice since he had no experience in professional sports, was thought to be the right person to guide the players into what ESPN’s John Clayton called “a critical era that includes negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement in the shadow of an economic meltdown.”
How does Smith factor in to the decision to drop Limbaugh from the NFL ownership elite? According to Limbaugh, Smith has already “threatened to bring the Obama White House into this (upcoming bargaining agreement).” He said black leaders pressured the NFLPA (and therefore its leader, Smith) in using this recent episode as “leverage in negotiations” with the NFL owners on the upcoming collective bargaining agreement. “That threat is being bandied about,” Limbaugh claimed.
Tuesday evening, Checketts phoned Limbaugh to inform him the group was dropping Rush from the prospective Rams’ ownership group. Limbaugh refused to withdraw, telling Checketts “…you’ll have to fire me.” Checketts issued a statement to that affect yesterday. Limbaugh learned of it when he got off a plane in St. Louis en route to a family function in Cape Girardeau, Missouri last night.
Limbaugh called his “termination” from the Rams’ group crucial for the NFL since the league, he says, can expect what has happened to Wall Street and the automotive business: government intervention.
“They’re trying to make me the poster boy here…it’s designed to intimidate and frighten the (NFL) owners. It’s the warning shot across the bow: ‘Get ready for next bargaining agreement.’”
Limbaugh decried the “blind hatred” aimed at him, but offered, “I’ll still love pro football and remain the biggest, non-paid promoter of the sport.”
Rick Cabral is a Sacramento-based freelance writer and a baseball historian, who has written extensively about the 1927 Bustin’ Babes-Larrupin Lous barnstorming tour featuring the New York Yankees’ Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
"[DNC Chair Tom Perez] has gotten instructions from Bill Clinton not to let the party go to the Bernie Sanders folks." - Jonathan Allen, co-author of Shattered, revealing new material in the upcoming paperback release pic.twitter.com/dLEnwl7kIc— HootHootBerns 🌹🐦 (@HootHootBerns) May 3, 2018