Football’s Follies

Some in the NFL universe are voicing opposition to Rush Limbaugh as a possible team owner, suggesting the conservative talk-show host is too controversial, or perhaps even racist. Give me a break. This is the politics of personal destruction on the gridiron. Is Limbaugh bombastic? Assuredly. Racist? No.

Limbaugh, who consistently promotes the NFL on his show, doesn’t care what color anyone is. The key thing for him is what a person believes. Limbaugh has had an African American fill-in host for years, Walter E. Williams, and he regularly quotes from intellectuals such as Thomas Sowell, another African American.

What Limbaugh said years ago about the media desiring that a “black quarterback” do well was a critique of the media, not Donovan McNabb’s race. You can disagree with him on this point if you want, but it was not racist. I remember when legendary broadcaster Howard Cosell was railroaded off the air for an unfortunate comment on Monday Night Football; I’d like to think we have learned a thing or two about tolerance in the Age of Obama.

And who is the NFL to throw stones? The league has more criminals per capita than any business this side of San Quentin. It has players (and coaches) in good standing who have taken steroids, organized dog-fighting, shot themselves in nightclubs, beaten their girlfriends, and killed people with their vehicles.

And if the NFL, in its ever-expanding money-grab, thinks Limbaugh is too controversial, why is the vicious and unfunny liberal Keith Olbermann accorded a seat of honor every Sunday for “Football Night in America”? Limbaugh has twice the wit of Olbermann (and 10 times the audience), and just as much knowledge of the game. Plus, I think it’s safe to assume that far more fans identify with Limbaugh than with Olbermann.

Lately I’ve grown a bit tired of the NFL. The game isn’t what it used to be. If the politically correct character assassination of one of the league’s greatest fans continues, I may find something else to do with my Sundays (and Mondays, and Thursdays, and Saturdays).

Limbaugh represents millions of decent people in this country. What distinguishes his beliefs (anti-big government, pro-free enterprise and personal responsibility, a distrust of the oldline media) is not their strangeness, but their ordinariness. If he gets ripped apart for these beliefs, millions of fans might feel they have been rejected, too.

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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