Why the NFL Can’t Let Rush Limbaugh Be a Team Owner

First, let me say I love when I can talk about other leagues. It’s a freedom I really, really enjoy.  But lets get to the issue.

I’m guessing the NFL doesn’t really care about what Rush has said before on his show and on other platforms. If it were really an issue, they never would have let him in the broadcast booth a few years back.

What they should be terrified about , and why they should keep him out,  is what he might say AFTER he was an approved investor in the St Louis Rams.

The NFL has plenty of owners who I am sure have very strong political opinions.  I’m willing to bet that many of them back up those opinions with donations that are all part of the public record.  I’m sure some of those probably don’t align with the best interests of the NFL or even the majority of their fans and customers.    I can give you a minor example I have had with the NBA.  I am never on the same page as the NBA when it comes to copyright issues. I believe we waste too much  NBA money trying to fight piracy and other intellectual property issues.  We have agreed to disagree on this and other issues. It’s not a problem.  Nor do individuals who fall on either side of the copyright issue make their sports consumption decisions based on copyright positions.

Its a great thing that we all  just accept the fact that owners, leagues and fans can be on different sides of a variety of issues.  We love our sports and want to reserve a spot for them away from life’s partisan issues and problems. Thank goodness for that !

The problem with Rush is that its his job to take on all of life’s partisan issues and problems.  Not only is it his job to take on these issues and problems, its key to his success that he be very opinionated about whichever issues he feels are important to him and/or will cause his very large audience to tune in.  Given that we will never know what the “next big issue ” in this world that Rush will be discussing on his show is,  its impossible for the NFL to even try to predict or gauge the impact on the NFL’s business if something controversial, or even worse yet, something nationally polarizing happens. There is an unquantifiable risk that comes with the size of Rush’s audience.  The wrong thing said on the show, even if its not spoken by Rush himself,  about a sensitive national or world issue could turn into a Black Swan event for the NFL.

Thats a huge risk that is not commensurate with the value a minority investment in a franchise brings.

This isnt about Free Speech. Its about the NFL protecting their business.  There is no reason to put it at risk.  If Rush were to retire from his show, or become a local DJ in Sacramento, or just about anything else he may want as a vocation, then I dont think they would have any problem with him being an investor in a team.

Given the current set of circumstances, they would be crazy to approve him as an owner.

71 thoughts on “Why the NFL Can’t Let Rush Limbaugh Be a Team Owner

  1. Great blog Mark – see our Kansas City blog at http://www-remax-best-kc.com

    Comment by remaxrealtortf -

  2. Some have stated this is about politics. It isn’t, it’s about racism, and about the ability of a person to edit thoughts before they become statements into an open microphone, something Limbaugh isn’t all that great at. Pro sports is riddled with enough racism already, why throw in another 100% certain black eye?

    Comment by thatoneguy801 -

  3. While you are addressing football and ownership, why don’t you inquire about purchasing the Chicago Bears? I think they need an owner that was born in 20th century. An owner that can see the field from the owners box. An owner that likes football. Maybe bring Ditka on as an investor. Anyways, take this as a compliment, most people who really know sports consider you to be the epitome of ownership. Al Davis and Jerry Jones are too hands on and too meddling. You would of been good for the Cubs and good for baseball.

    Comment by aschitown -

  4. While I see your point, I disagree with you. There is one thing that affects a teams ticket sales- how well the team plays. It’s crazy to think that fans would not watch or players would not want to play for a winning team. After all, no one wants to watch a losing team. There are other businesses that someone’s strong political views affect the success of but sports is not one of them. And it is hypocritical of you to judge Rush for this when some of your investments offend the politics of some Mavs fans.

    BTW- any thoughts on purchasing the Rangers?

    Comment by texasrainhbww -

  5. i will give you credit for this though mark.. you leave harsh comments up there and there have been some including mine

    Comment by docvangraf -

  6. blog maverick.. heh.. blog conformist more like..

    when did you become neutered mark? so what, he has opinions that may or may not be popular? wow.. i’m not sure we can handle that. better to just conform and keep the mouth shut. so the moral of the story is we cannot hold any opinions contrary to our media masters and must sit down and shut up or we will be denied economic opportunity. don’t be an individual..

    save the “tactful” explanations.. it’s pathetic and i expect more from a “maverick”…

    Comment by docvangraf -

  7. The bottom line is that the NFL/Goodell/Owners make the policy that runs the NFL. If they don’t want Rush or anyone else to be an ‘owner’ of an NFL team…………IT’S THEIR CALL.
    The NFL/Goodell/Owners took a look around and said: ‘Do we need this?’ and the answer was no.
    What is going to be curious is, who ends up buying the Rams.
    Just for one minute think about what would happen is a group of Black businessmen bought the team?
    I’m not saying they can’t, I’m just saying…HOW WILL IT LOOK?

    Comment by sobekakin -

  8. Home School, you are 100% right in your opinion..The problem is we’re dealing with so called liberals, who believe they are god like in choosing who gets to speak and who gets to own..So they have become the very people that they so detest…That my friend is a bit ironic and again if only Rod Serling were alive, we would get a great Twilight Zone episode.

    Comment by sportsfred -

  9. Disallowing Rush to invest in the Rams is not about protecting the NFL’s image. It is about politics. Those who make such decisions disagree with Limbaugh’s politics and therefore don’t see fit to allow him to invest where he’d like. I don’t agree with Rush on a good majority of things, but I don’t think that is reason to keep him out of the league. Freedom of speech is good. Controversy is good. How many people will stop watching football because of who one team’s owner is?

    If Rush says something on his show which the NFL disagrees with, so what? He won’t hurt the league, he’ll hurt his own team. Of course, the argument could be made that in so doing, he’s also hurting the league as well, but the monetary ripples would be minor in comparison.

    If we only want people we agree with to be involved in our individual activity, it would be a pretty boring endeavor. As the author above me notes, there are many examples of other owners and players who have said and done many things which the league disagrees with. I think in one way or another, we are all hypocrites on some level.

    Comment by Home School College Counselor -

  10. Let me begin by saying that you present a very well-thought out argument and based on your experience as an NBA owner, have a very valuable perspective on the issue. That being said I do find a few fallacies within your argument. While I agree that the NFL’s concerns stem not from what he has said in the past but what he could say in the foreseeable future, I don’t believe that qualifies as valid reason to decline Limbaugh partial ownership. If the NFL is comfortable with Rush’s prior comments, what makes them believe that his future comments will create any more controversy or bad will towards the NFL? I also have a problem with your argument that, “It’s about the NFL protecting their business.” Firstly, the NFL’s financial future is definitely not in doubt. One need only look at the ratings for this year’s NFL games, including the Monday, October 5th game between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, which set the record for viewership for a cable telecast. Any argument that the “business” of the NFL would be harmed by allowing Rush Limbaugh to be a partial NFL owner does not hold water.

    I also believe that this demonstrates one of many double standards that have exposed themselves during this ordeal. If the NFL was truly concerned about “protecting their business,” they would impose harsher penalties upon their players as opposed to worrying about the potential controversial remarks of a man who never even submitted a purchase proposal. Players such as Pac-Man Jones and Chris Henry have been arrested multiple times, for both minor and serious crimes, yet they have both been reinstated by the league with little to no serious penalties. By holding Limbaugh to a higher standard than the players who actually play in the league, I believe that the league loses credibility in that argument. Limbaugh is also being held to a higher standard than other owners in professional sports. Most of his criticism stems from “racist” comments he has made in the past, yet other owners have proven just as controversial. In particular Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who has owned the Clippers for since 1981, has demonstrated behavior that could do considerably more damage to the NBA’s “business.” Perhaps Rush Limbaugh should not be an NFL owner, but before making that decision, the world of sports should examine those already involved.

    Comment by ceedub12 -

  11. Of course Mark you wouldn’t be able to buy into an NFL team now either. You lucked out with the NBA because they just knew you as an dot com billionaire and not the outspoken person you are today.

    Comment by heinertx -

  12. Interesting


    Comment by anag0 -

  13. This post could have been written by Rush about you and your often controversial views before and since buying the Mavericks. He wouldn’t do it because this is America and your dream of owning a NBA team should depend on having the money and committing to the standards and rules of the NBA in your case, the NFL in Rush’s. Pot calling the kettle black. (not a racial statement).

    Comment by bobscuba -

  14. Rush would probably do something off-the-charts crazy after a loss, like calling BLACK players from the other team ‘THUGS’ to their mothers.

    Comment by celebrationdad -

  15. Ah well, moot point now but I suppose having Rush as an owner wouldn’t have made for a very successful franchise anyways; what with the predictability of all the plays being run– and all the FG attempts going– wide to the right. 😉

    Comment by bucfanpaka -

  16. Mere *words* from Rush’s mouth could set off a “Black Swan event”…???

    Mark, don’t you think you are being a little hyperbolic here? No one’s verbiage has ever harmed, no less brought down a robost business. You’re an empiricist, right?

    And you know if Rush ever used that term….it’d somehow be contorted and distorted as RACIST!

    Comment by captiousnut -

  17. Mark, I’m not going to split hairs with you, but Limbaugh was never in the booth. He did a weekly show for ESPN. He was never in the booth therefore not affiliated in any way with the NFL.

    Comment by sobekakin -

  18. Would the league reject Jesse Jackson, who called NY City hymietown while he was running for the Democratic nomination? Would the same writers who went after Limbaugh, go after the good reverend?

    And please, I don’t want to hear he apologized, because what choice did he have…

    So you see, we do have a problem when we begin picking and choosing who’s blacklisted, because the question does arise,”Who’s Next?”

    Comment by sportsfred -

  19. I personally don’t like Rush and totally disagreed with him on his comments about Donovan M. back when he said it. But at the same time, he has the right to invest in any business he chooses. Having said that, the NFL has a right to reject any investor they choose.

    I have to agree it was a business decision. I was listening to Mike & Mike this morning and Mike Greenberg basically said the same thing.

    What really gets me is the fact that if someone says something they are labeled a certain way in the mainstream media and if someone else says something similar it’s barely mentioned or not talked about at all. It’s this kind of BS that totally frustrates me in watching the news today.

    Comment by shammons1 -

  20. The NFL would be crazy to let Rush into the league. Deep down they know an all white NFL team would not be marketable, and of course could never compete.

    Comment by crusher99 -

  21. I challenge you to find anything Limbaugh has said that is as inflammatory as what Marge Schott was known for saying. I also challenge you to find anything he’s said that’s as inflammatory as “Loose Change”, which Mark produced.

    Comment by kscottbailey -

  22. If you don’t think Rush would turn into a problem for the NFL, I suggest you google the name “Marge Schott”

    Comment by bandgeek74 -

  23. I think it’s a joke that owners even get to vote on who buys a team. What happened to free markets? And I note that you haven’t bothered to respond to a lot of the REAL concerns registered above, Mark. Concerns with the flat out lies that people are perpetuating about Limbaugh.

    Comment by kscottbailey -

  24. http://stuffblackpeopledontlike.blogspot.com/2009/10/619-rush-limbaugh-owning-nfl-franchise.html

    That’s nonsense Mark, and you know it. In a free society, no one should be denied the right to purchase a team because of their views

    Comment by stuffblackpeople -

  25. Pingback: PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » The Best Explanation for Why Limbaugh was Never Going to be Even a Minority Owner

  26. Hey Cuban,

    What if the other NBA owners had decided to prevent Mark Cuban from buying the Dallas Mavericks because of what he might say or what he might do AFTER becoming an owner?

    If the league had actually done that to you, you probably would have been furious. And rightfully so. The idea itself makes no sense. So why would you attempt, in this article, to apply the same bogus principle to someone else?

    The truth is, Rush Limbaugh has ALREADY proven himself to be a dangerous person by advocating violence on a mass scale. And this alone is enough of a reason for any organization including the NFL to reject him.

    How does Rush Limbaugh advocate violence? Well, here’s one example. Via his radio show which is broadcast to millions of people everyday, Rush has for years been a staunch supporter of the War on Drugs which is actually a War on the American People. Amazingly, Rush continues his support for this mindless war while simultaneously engaging in illegal drug behavior himself to feed his own addiction to Oxycodone, a drug classified as an opiate. So you see, Limbaugh supports the Drug War (and all of its brutal violence) as long as the rules don’t apply to him. As long as it ruins millions of other people’s lives, but not his.

    Therefore, Limbaugh and others like him should be rejected by organizations and individuals alike, unless and until he reverses his cruel advocacy of mass violence against the American people.

    There are other reasons but this will do for now.

    Larry McElhinney

    Comment by ltmack96 -

  27. Pingback: Rush Limbaugh Brand to Successful for NFL Brand? - Personal Brand Strategy for Business and Career

  28. I think the whole debate boils down to this: Allowing Rush to be an owner creates a conflict of interest for the NFL.

    Personally, I enjoy listening to Rush, and I agree with many of the things he has to say (not all of them, mind you, but I have often found myself saying “hmm, that makes sense.”) Having said that, I also feel that the focus of his radio program is at odds with the NFL’s efforts to project a certain image.

    Here’s an example: Michael Jordan, one of Nike’s most successful endorsers, was once asked why he didn’t also endorse the efforts of civil rights activists against republican hardliners in North Carolina. His response was simple “Republicans buy shoes, too.” It was clear to him that such an endorsement in the political arena would conflict with his efforts to market his shoes.

    The NFL would face a similar conflict of interest with Rush. Let’s face it, Democrats like football, too. The NFL would have made an unwise choice to allow Rush to be an owner.

    Comment by thepointofqdotcom -

  29. The NFL’s allowing of Keith Olbermann, one of the most polarizing figures in “news” to be associated with the Sunday night programming shows complete hypocrisy. He repeatedly polarizes, misleads and lies nightly on MSNBC. Who’s really watching anyways (besides me)?

    Rush Limbaugh has stated repeatedly that he did not say the comments that are in question. If so, I would love to see litigation regarding this to make people in general more responsible for what they say. Hearing Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson comment on this is absurd with the track record of justice obstruction they have.

    From MC> THe difference is that the NFL can fire Olbermann. You cant fire an owner

    Comment by mr632u -

  30. Pingback: Rush Limbaugh Dropped from Rams Bid Team

  31. Mark,
    I read this on SI comparing you and the Rush Limbaugh situation….

    “The league would be on pins and needles for three hours a day, five days a week,” one league source said. “The NFL isn’t interested in having its own Mark Cuban situation, where [the Dallas Mavericks owner] is fined for something he said, but then pays the fine, moves on and doesn’t care what he says the next time either. The league wants the focus to always be on the game, not the opinions of any particular owner.”

    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/football/nfl/10/14/limbaugh/index.html?cnn=yes#ixzz0U0VUzjLk

    Comment by jon55 -

  32. Pingback: Rush Limbaugh’s lessons on branding « Rodger Banister’s Blog

  33. Pingback: Mark Cuban: “NFL would be Crazy to let Limbaugh in” | Digital Sports Daily

  34. Marc,

    You financed a movie which provided no value to anyone in our country save for yourself, in that you gained “liberal street cred”.

    This movie essentially went straight to DVD for the express purpose of being translated into each and every Arabic language. It was then distributed throughout all Muslim countries to incite further rage against Americans, in addition to that which started with the Iran-hostage surrender of Jimmy Carter and continues with the cowardly acts of billionaires who finance movies which kill American soldiers.

    We have lost friends in several theaters, and we have personally sacrificed much. Do not ever, EVER, tell me that “you understand and appreciate” that sacrifice. You cannot. Whether you believe war in these theaters was warranted or not, you financed an effort to portray all of our heroes as rapists and murderers and this invariably has had a direct affect upon the number of heroes lost and wounded.

    I am the person who called the Dan Patrick show yesterday, and who called you out. I am calling you out again, Marc.

    How can you ever pass judgment on another human being? This is not a direct defense of Rush, but rather a moral equivalency test for the “average American”. Rush has likely done more to support our men and women in uniform that anyone outside of perhaps Sean Hannity. You have used your wealth to assure the deaths of more American troops than otherwise would have occurred.

    My question to you is this:

    How can you EVER pass judgment on ANY other human being after the treason that you have committed?

    I can only hope to outlive you so that I can spit on your grave.

    Comment by heygoaliegoalie -


  36. Here’s my take: Mark, you have made a habit of criticizing the league itself and you’re an owner. Is criticizing national politics worse for the league’s business?

    Logically, no. But realistically, yes. Why? Because politics are more important than sports. Politics reflect what we believe in. And people either love or hate Limbaugh, there is little middle ground. He is so polarizing, viewers will either tune in or tune out.

    Everyone can watch Mark Cuban run around like a madman to see what antics he’ll be up to next because, well it’s just basketball. Put Rush Limbaugh in those shoes and people will not watch because they do not want to support or buy into his political beliefs. There’s a huge difference.

    Comment by loucons -

  37. Mark,

    I think the NFL should have every right to bar someone from partial or full ownership in the league for almost whatever reason they want (including some that are now illegal). Personally, I think private property rights should supersede generally accepted social views on most matters. I believe the fans, players, advertisers, and other businesses should then have every right to react negatively to any barring that takes place for reasons they feel are not acceptable.

    All that said, I think someone’s political views, no matter how controversial and public, are a terrible reason for barring someone. There is nothing he can say (and I have quite an imagination) that should or will have any lasting impact on the league unless the league allows it.

    It’s real simple.

    All the league has to say is:

    Rush is an owner, but the views of each owner are theirs and not representative of the league as a whole or all its owners. We fully support Rush’s rights as an INDIVIDUAL American citizen to hold these views, even if they are considered controversial or offensive to some members of society. It is this freedom of speech that makes America one of the greatest places in the world to live.

    I would say anyone that can’t understand that the league may not want as a fan. LMAO

    All that aside, I estimate the chances of Rush saying anything that causes a “black swan event” at zero. That’s almost a comical assertion.

    If they found out he was a rapist, child molester, committed incest, and was on “Dexter’s” short list of next potential victims etc… it would have little or no lasting impact on the NFL. I mean really, we have former KKK guys in congress and the rest are liars, cheats, thieves, philanderers and worse and they all get re-elected. People have short memories.

    Seriously, maybe you have some intellectual honesty, but we all know this is an issue because he’s a controversial conservative. If he was a controversial liberal any efforts to bar him would be considered akin to Joe McCarthy going after Hollywood communists.

    Comment by ludwigvonmises -

  38. You’re overestimating Limbaugh’s influence. As a Republican strategist said Sunday on “Meet the Press”, “Limbaugh can’t deliver a pizza let alone an election.”I enjoy listening to Rush on occasion to stay one step ahead of my right wing nut job friends (of course I use that term affectionately). He’s almost always obnoxious and sometimes offensive. But I’m not sure there’s anything Limbaugh could say that would get my friends to turn off a Rams game. The American sports fan is not the most politicized animal in the world. And the hints of a player protest are pretty laughable too. Does anyone think any player drafted by the Ram’s, let alone a critical mass, is going to pass on playing for the Rams and take less money to play somewhere else? And similarly, does anyone think players are going to retire early rather than accept a trade to the Rams?

    Also, isn’t it safe to assume that some of the existing owners are also obnoxious and offensive whether ultra liberal or conservative? Some of the owners have committed felonies. Extreme wealth, professional sports, and exemplary morals typically don’t go together. Will letting an obnoxious and offensive person into the private club, and apparently the only one likely to keep the Rams in St. Louis, ruin the club? Will bars start switching to professional bowling when the Rams are playing? Will the nation compromise the progress it’s made in combating the “isms” over the last few decades? Would he be worse than Marge Schott?

    Here’s a litmus test. If it’s true that the Limbaugh bid may be the only one likely to keep the Rams in St. Louis, survey the St. Louis fan base to see if they support his team’s bid, and you’ll get a much better feel for how football trumps politics. I’m guessing nine out of ten Rams fans care more about whether the Rams can become competitive again more than they do about Rush’s radio personality. Just win baby.

    Comment by Ron Byrnes -

  39. Pingback: The It Doesn’t Feel Like Mid-Week Links

  40. If old lovable Marge Schott can own a pro team…

    Comment by mairob -

  41. it might be a first – I disagree with Mark – not a big “D” just a little “d”
    I say let em have his loud rants – it might improve NFL business – increase profile and get people talking more about issues — bringing more non-active people into the political fold
    Businesses shouldnt be worried about loud people ruining it — we should all learn to respect others opinions

    Comment by brucefenton -

  42. I use to think Cuban was pretty cool…kind of a go against the grain type of guy. I respected him for that. Reading his opinion on having a “controversial” new owner in the NFL just blew up that opinion.

    I guess it’s cool for Cuban to act like a foolish owner and have his own theatrics but heaven forbid someone else grab some spotlight. Cuban has become part of the “good ol boys” politically correct club he once tried to differentiate himself from.

    Regardless of the bluejeans and bad haircut he is more of an establishment drone than he thinks.

    Comment by tovar222 -

  43. Thanks for the comment, Mark, but denying ownership to someone because something Big might happen even tho there is nothing we can point to in the past is entirely arbitrary.

    @donkeyhoatie: Prove it. Regurgitating un-sourced newspaper articles doesn’t prove anything other than the newspapers are working off the same talking points.

    @spoonyfork : You win. You called us racists. Now back to the multipath spread spectrum stuff I was working on before this break.

    Comment by rodander -

  44. Racists.

    You can’t expect Rush fans to know much about mathematical philosophy so in case one of you are curious have a read at the link below. Warning – unguided scientific learning opportunity ahead! Read with extreme caution and prejudice. 😉 Toodles.


    Comment by spoonyfork -

  45. Yeah, with the way they handled Leonard Little, Donte Stallworth, and Michael Vick, the NFL has the right to claim the moral highground don’t they? The NFL group of owners don’t want Limbaugh to join their group? That’s fine, but it’s not like he would have lowered their collective integrity. What hypocrites.

    Comment by eurekadog -

  46. Why the NBA shouldn’t let Mark Cuban be a team owner…


    Get over yourself.

    Comment by branfam -

  47. Did you feel the same way about Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition when they decided to get involved in Nascar? Where were you then?

    Comment by redwarrior06 -

  48. Mark, I’m surprised at this. You make incendiary statements not infrequently, and have supported a movie (“Loose Change”) that could cause problems for the league’s image. Yet, you assert that because Limbaugh holds strong political opinions (most of which I, ironically enough, disagree with) that somehow he should be disqualified from ownership? That just doesn’t make sense to me. I have a ton of respect for you, and what you’ve done with and for the Mavericks. You’re a great owner, and I personally think that Limbaugh would too.

    The people posting the nonsense about him supposedly being racist are currently running the risk of being sued. While you’re not doing this, the veneer of respectability that your post gives to the opposition to Limbaugh becoming a minority NFL owner is problematic.

    Comment by kscottbailey -

  49. Mark–you do a good job of logically and reasonably laying out the illogical and unreasonable position that is so popular at this time. This whole issue is about silencing someone that has a different opinion on the issues. No question Rush is a “polarizing” figure, but in my opinion the controversy stems from his being an outspoken conservative. Michael Moore is no less polarizing, but I doubt there would be this type of outcry if he were part of an ownership group, despite half the country finding him to be a self-important, overbearing blowhard that misrepresents the facts for his own gain (all claims about Limbaugh).

    For those who claim Rush says, “awful things towards African-Americans” and “that he doesn’t have much regard for Blacks”, please provide proof. The only examples of this that I’ve seen are quotes that have been made up by people that want to discredit him. His McNabb comment was about the media, not about blacks. I’ve heard him praise McNabb’s ability as a QB on his show at times.

    From MC> Michael Moore is a great analogy. I would write the same thing about Mr Moore. I think there is less risk because Moores movies reach far fewer people (do the math) than Rush’s show (according to his ratings). But i would have no doubt that the league would make it clear that they would be concerned about his future endeavors and would reserve the right to proactively make a public statement against one of his movies. The other big difference is that a movie has considerable lead time. Live radio is realtime

    Comment by claudiasdad -

  50. Very disappointing, Mark, and I’m surprised at you. If ever there should be an owner in favor of “the freedoms of owners” then I would have expected it to be you.

    You write that “The problem with Rush is that its his job to take on all of life’s partisan issues and problems.” So, if this is true of Rush Limbaugh, how much more true is it of Herb Kohl, US Senator and owner of the Milwaukee Bucks? Rush Limbaugh TALKS about these issues, where Herb Kohl is responsible for MAKING LAWS regarding these issues.

    If the distinction that you draw is that Rush Limbaugh is controversial but Herb Kohl is not, then I would suggest that depends upon your point of view. Many find Rush Limbaugh controversial, but it would not be surprising that those same people generally disagree with him on political issues. I suppose that the members of his very large audience and others that aggree with him on political issues don’t find him to be nearly as controversial. Herb Kohl could also be considered controversial by those who disagree with him. For instance, for Kohl’s opposition to a Supreme Court justice nominee – remember when that was a political hot button? Did the Milwaukee Bucks or the NBA “suffer” when Herb Kohl was in opposition to Justice Roberts nomination? Not really. As health care reform is hotly debated in the US, does Kohl’s position on it really matter to the Bucks or NBA? I hope that it doesn’t.

    Mark – your stance really appears to be an attempt to mask a subjective personality test for ownership. The issue of “controversial” is certainly “in the eye of the beholder”. I’m guessing that you wouldn’t want Stern to be able to have a recount on your admitance to the league of NBA owners based upon your personality, as perceived a few years ago. You are a businessman and you have the right to exercise those freedoms like every other US citizen, including Rush Limbaugh.

    Comment by whw17 -

  51. @rodander

    “Look, let me put it to you this way: The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it.”

    “I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: Slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back. I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.”


    “The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.”

    Those quotes were culled from a couple of articles from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the Chicago Tribune. I’m sure you can find them elsewhere. And considering that the search took me all of about 7 seconds, I’m assuming that there are plenty more out there.

    I’m just wondering how well comments like that will go over in his locker room. Or, how well they will go over with the rest of the owners of NFL franchises.

    Rush gets paid to make comments like these. Whether or not he actually believes them is anybody’s guess. Because his livelihood rests on stirring the pot, I don’t believe the stream of absurdities will end any time soon.

    Should those comments from the past preclude him from becoming a minority-owner of a franchise? Absolutely not. Should the possibility of additional inflammatory comments such as these in the future preclude him either? Absolutely not. However, the NFL as a business has never really embraced risk in the past. I don’t believe they’ll get around to embracing it in this manner anytime in the near future.

    In the meanwhile, Rush gets to make headlines and generate countless publicity. The NFL gets to move on. In the end, they’re both much better off for the experience.

    Comment by donkeyhoatie -

  52. Hello KETTLE, this is the BIG-MOUTHED POT calling. You, my conservative friend, should not be allowed to own a team. This is because you are a conservative and may say something inflammatory, like liberals are socialists and bringing this country’s economy into the toilet. Or that Obama’s international speeches ripping America are destroying our image abroad. Etc, etc.

    Now, if you were only, for example, to call another team’s black player a thug or a punk, that would be just fine. or if you want to berate the officials on the court during the game, that would be OK too. Or if you want to make disparaging remarks about the commissioner or the referees, that would be no problem whatsoever.

    So again, KETTLE, this is the BIG-MOUTHED POT here to say that you should NEVER be allowed to be a minority investor of an NFL team because you might say something bad(promoting conservative values) in the future.

    Comment by cfioren317 -

  53. I think you should listen to your own advice. I am no longer a Mavs’ season ticket holder because you hid behind the first amendment when Steve Nash made incredibly inflammatory statements about this country (by the way, where the hell is all the oil we went to war to steal? I think our deficit could use the profits from it.) Further, you have produced movies with topics that are very divisive. Shouldn’t the NBA be worried about you and the possibility of you creating customer dissatisfaction by your own ideologies? I love you as an owner Mark, I really do, but I think your being a hypocrite here.

    Comment by jwalkerinboots -

  54. So I guess somebody like Jesse Jackson couldn’t own a team in the NBA or NFL because he once called NY city Hymietown? I think Cuban is walking a very narrow slope and should stick to fixing his very average club.

    Comment by sportsfred -

  55. You’re absolutely right. However, what type of message does that send to the players if they have an owner with those views? Rush has made a boat-load of money preaching to the right and saying awful things towards African-Americans. There are other owners who may share his same view but I would imagine if their views were publicized they wouldn’t get much out of their players. Look at the Clippers’ Donald Sterling! I know that if I were a player for the Rams I wouldn’t feel comfortable playing for Limbaugh knowing that he doesn’t have much regard for Blacks.

    Comment by gasher70 -

  56. I’ve always thought the risk of someone affiliated with a sports league saying something that could impact the bottom line is very overblown. Is there an example in the past of an owner saying something where his fans abandoned the team? Fans seem most affected by W’s and L’s, not by whatever their dopey owner is saying.

    Similarly, I’ve always thought the gag order leagues put on their owners and players with things such as criticizing the refs were counter productive. Mark has been fined many times for his mouth, typically for criticizing the reffing, but I believe Mark and his criticism keep the refs and the league more honest, it forces them to work to constantly improve the reffing. I also think that his criticism of the refs has lost the league exactly 0 fans, so why fine?

    Comment by mikejsiegel -

  57. Oh, good grief, Mark.

    #1: First, it would be useful to at least lay out an example of something Rush has said on the radio in the past 20+ yrs that shows the “risk” you envision. Come on — name one. (With a source, please, not like MSNBC/CNN.) Your premise requires that you establish that there is a risk in the first place.

    #2: And missing in your story is the need of a once-proud-now-struggling franchise to get a boost from new ownership. Sort of like the Mavs when you bought them, I’d say. Your purchase of the Mavs was unquestionably good for the league, if for no other reason than in strengthening a weak franchise. The value to the NFL of strengthening the Ram franchise is also a factor in this.

    Seems to me that much of the Rush-bashing is simply a reaction to the content of his opinions, rather than his specific role. Hope you haven’t fallen into that trap. Indeed, you of all people.

    From MC> I knew i should have put a link to the definition of Black Swan. You could have used it. Your logic is exactly how we got into this financial mess. “sure, it could happen, but how likely is it for Lehman Brothers to go bankrupt. Or what are the chances we have 10pct unemployment. No reason to model for that. Ever. Right ?”

    Comment by rodander -

  58. Pingback: Sharpton Speaks Out - Page 2 - Cincinnati Sports Forums - Reds, Bengals, UC Bearcats and Xavier

  59. Excellent points, and you make a great logical argument here…

    However, I think by telling the NFL how to do its business you are perhaps enticing them to let Rush in with the hopes that it damages the NFL a little bit a la reverse psychology (which could help the NBA gain some ground on America’s most popular league)… dunno just a hunch.

    And btw, you think the NBA’s copyright stuff is bad? (Actually, I personally don’t know but from what I see) the NFL are total and complete douche bags when it comes to wasting money on the copyright stuff. Why even bother patenting some phrase like “The Big Game?” Chill out, Roger Goodell. One day the NFL will slip a little bit because of poor decision-making in upper management when they do something that ends up pissing off fans.


    Double-standard? Who cares. The NFL is a private for-profit business. They don’t have to even give a reason to not allow Rush to purchase equity in the Rams… you’re acting like that actually matters.

    Comment by jstevens2009 -

  60. If the NFL is subjecting itself to a potential Black Swan event by allowing Rush into the ownership circle, what does that say about the character of the NFL, its franchises, and its fanbase? If the whole league totters because one loud and inflamatory voice says a particular thing, perhaps there exists a large collection of minds that have switched off.

    Hmmm, what would happen if the fanbase actually started thinking? Maybe the league would have another Black Swan event.

    Comment by Jerry -

  61. Donicus —

    It’s Rush’s job to be inflamatory. His livelihood depends on him being polarizing on the latest topics.

    Other celebrity owners stating their viewpoints — even if unpopular or inappropriate — do not have the same leverage as Rush’s words. In turn, they do not affect the business and brand nearly as significantly.

    Comment by ChicagoJo -

  62. Just out of curiosity, what’s the difference between Rush wanting to own a part of an NFL team and Jay Z, who has been known to say a few racist things, owning a piece of the New Jersey Nets? Both are public figures, both have said things maybe they shouldn’t have said, but it’s ok for one to own a professional team and not the other. Seems like a double standard to me.

    Comment by donicus -

  63. Thanks Mark but we had him as a local DJ here in Sacramento and figure that we have fulfilled our quota.

    Comment by mdpr -

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    Comment by saulepleureur -

  65. Pingback: Basketball Blog.com – The Best Basketball Blogs Resource Online » Blog Archive » Why the NFL Can’t Let Rush Limbaugh Be a Team Owner

  66. Mark, without a doubt you make the best argument I have read against Rush buying the Rams I have read so far. Your argument is logical and not political. I wish some sports writers would take your lead.

    Comment by geoausch -

  67. “… its [sic] key to his success that he be very opinionated about whichever issues he feels are important to him…”

    Really, Mark? I think the same could really be said about you. I’m a huge fan of yours for having those opinions as well as not being a dittohead. Granted you don’t have the audience that Rush has, but had you had even as much of the audience you have here and the 100,000 twitter followers ten years ago, and had any NBA owners gotten an inkling of the opinions you have, I do believe they could have safely made an argument that you are an “unquantifiable risk”. With hindsight, of course, your risk is wholly quantifiable to the tune of over a $million in fines, but I fully believe you have been an asset well beyond that to the NBA.

    Comment by benrice23 -

  68. Everything you said, plus the fact that 75% of the NFL players are African American. And the rest are their teammates. I’ve been a bit disappointed that the coverage I’ve seen on this issue doesn’t zero in on Rush’s blatant racism. He played that song about “Obama the Dancing Negro,” talked about Obama’s America, where white kids get beat up on buses now, and made borderline racist comments about McNabb. Doesn’t that factor in? Why does it have to go unsaid?

    Comment by stevewrightr -

  69. I don’t disagree with what your saying….even if Rush Limbaugh was never famous and had the same opportunity to invest in the Rams he’d still say something disparaging or just plan stupid and it would cause an outrage because he’s a team owner. Twitter has a lot of great uses and one of them happens to be exposing idiots.

    BTW full disclosure I’m a republican.

    Comment by bodezzz -

  70. On a related topic, would love to hear your musings about da cubs.

    Comment by steveplace -

  71. In the internet age where anything local is global. I’m not sure theres any difference between a national icon, and a local DJ. Offensive comments will always blow up almost regardless of your standing prior to the comment. e.g. Look at how the comments of the Safe School Czar from decades past have come out now that hes a national figure.

    Comment by dpowensj -

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