So Rush Limbaugh didn’t get to join a private club and now all the conversation on the airwaves is all about him. Would that I could get so much publicity for being denied entry into an exclusive rich guy organization. I’d be getting more viewers than the Superbowl! What has been largely ignored in the debate over whether Limbaugh should be able to own an NFL franchise, though, is that both Limbaugh and the NFL are equally guilty of overt racism.
The question seems to be based around the question of whether Limbaugh, as the leader of the right-wing radio world, is a racist. It’s the simplest question I think I have ever heard. No one who spouts as much race-based vitriol as Rush could be anything other than racist. Aside from the obvious racial prejudice of the Donovan McNabb statements that got him fired from ESPN, Limbaugh has resorted to the same old racist tricks to try and make white folks afraid of “them negras.”
It’s amazing how people listen to the guy every day and just refuse to see how racist Rush really is. Really. What else could he be driving at when he said on September 15 of this year “[I]n Obama’s America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering.” Is there another possible interpretation? When, on April 14, Limbaugh implied that President Obama would allow young black muslims to murder freely, isn’t it really just a slightly less overt way of saying “them darkies always stick together?”
The most obviously racist statements made by Limbaugh, though, have nothing to do with black people. They have to do with the indigenous population of North America. On August 18 of this year, Limbaugh repeatedly used the term “injun” in reference to indigenous peoples. As much as Rush has maligned African-Americans, Latin-Americans, and certainly LGBT Americans, I am not aware of any instance when he has referred to any of these groups with malicious pejoratives on national radio or television. The term “injun” is an ethnic slur of the same caliber as “nigger” or “chink.” Anyone using the term as a reference to Indigenous Americans (especially in the mocking tone in which Limbaugh uttered the phrase), is absolutely spouting racism. Rush may make the case, as he did on October 12, that he is “colorblind” and therefore not a racist, but his record speaks for itself.
The same is true of the National Football League. While the NFL is certainly populated by large numbers of numerous ethnic minorities, the ownership is remarkably monochrome. Sure, Reggie Fowler, the owner of the Vikings, is an example of progress in that realm. He is the exception, though, and not the rule. The NFL has for years promoted itself as a racially unbiased organization, where players’ races are generally never introduced into the conversation. It’s obvious that the league has a disproportionately high number of racial minorities, but nowhere do you hear anyone in the league talk about theories as to why that is, or even the fact that it is the case. This, in and of itself, is excellent. Unfortunately, the NFL runs into some serious problems with at least one racial group. This would be the same group to whom Limbaugh is completely unafraid to use racial slurs on national radio. Every time I see the Washington Redskins play a game, I root for the other team and want to throw my beer through the TV.
It is ironic that the first (and only) black quarterback to win a Superbowl, Doug Williams, played for the Redskins. It is insulting that the team is in Washington, D.C., from which the single most complete genocide in human history was directed. This would be somewhat akin to Pulaski, TN (birthplace of the KKK) having a team called the “Jungle Bunnies,” or Berlin fielding a new soccer team called the “Flying Kikes.” Were that to happen, protestors would bomb those cities out of existence, and the American people would (rightly) support it. The very existence of the Washington Redskins is an affront to humanity and an assault on an entire race of people.
But back to Rush and the NFL. The facts are quite simple. The National Football League is a private organization and has the legal right to exclude any one they want for any reason they want. They are not required to give a reason as to why they accept or deny an application to join their club. In this case, they shouldn’t have. The NFL has no moral authority to deny Limbaugh because he’s a racist, any more than I get to talk trash about Jason Alexander for being bald and overweight. It is clear that Rush Limbaugh and the National Football Leaguge are at odds with one another over the league’s rejection of Limbaugh, but they are exactly the same kind of people. Neither has a problem referring to Indigenous Americans with racial epithets on a national stage. Both are racist as hell. They are enemies cut from the same cloth.