I missed a lot of posts here as I traveled, so this may have been covered already, but Rush Limbaugh is trying to buy the St. Louis Rams. In response, several black NFL players have said they would refuse to play in St. Louis. It’s hard to know how widespread that sentiment would be, whether it would affect their ability to sign free agents, or if it’s even possible for the Rams to be worse than they already are, but the NFL will certainly be thinking about that before the owners and league would approve any deal.
Having an owner with a well-known history of racism isn’t that unusual, even in sports with large numbers of black athletes. Marge Schott made enough racist comments when she inherited the Cincinnati Reds from her husband in the 1990s to get herself suspended by the league multiple times. Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, had to pay a multi-million dollar settlement after he was caught forcing black families out of the buildings he owned. While many players have lamented being stuck on the Clippers, few have openly complained about playing for a team run by someone with such a long record of racist behavior. It’s also possible that better players, who have somewhat more control over where they can play, are able to avoid playing for him. The Clippers have been one of the worst franchises in any of the four major North American sports leagues for several decades. That may not be because of Sterling’s racism, but it certainly hasn’t helped.
But Limbaugh may be a different story altogether. With his high profile and his increasing hostility towards Obama and everything associated with our country’s black communities, his presence alone may make it very difficult to assemble a competitive team in St. Louis again. At the very least, every time Limbaugh says something stupid, black players on the Rams will get sick of having to comment on it. It will be a distraction that players will quickly tire of. Unless he just stops saying ignorant things, which appears impossible for him at this point.
If the deal goes through, there would be one side benefit (other than the Seahawks continuing to have two easy wins every year). It would make it clearer to people that Rush Limbaugh is not some average dude railing against “elites”. He’s an extremely fucking rich guy. And while there are large numbers of people who will never figure out that Limbaugh’s shtick has been to get rich by fueling the kind of partisan (and often racist) nonsense that pitted Americans against each other, the fact that he’s now one of the “elites” who sits in a luxury box watching his NFL team play makes it easier for those outside of his listening audience to see him for the fraud he is.