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NFL’s Goodell, Irsay: Rush Critics Democratic Contributors

NFL Commissioner, Colts owner supported controversial candidates.

By 10.14.09

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How stupid do these people think the rest of us are?

In the middle of the Rush Limbaugh–NFL episode, in which liberals have been busy circulating made-up Limbaugh quotes to sabotage Rush's opportunity to buy in to an ownership role in the St. Louis Rams, comes this news item.

"NFL lines up to stop Rush" reads the small story in today's New York Post.

The story quotes Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay this way: "I, myself, couldn't even consider voting for him. Words do damage, and it's something that we don't need." Irsay also says: "As a nation, and as a world, we've got to watch our words and our thoughts. They can do damage."

And NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell puts it this way: "Divisive comments are not what the the NFL is all about. I would not want to see those kind of comments from people who are in a responsible position in the NFL."

Really? If words do damage, what about actions? If comments are divisive, what about actions? If one has to watch, as Irsay suggests, "our words and our thoughts" -- what about actions?

Like, say, the actions of Mr. Irsay when he contributed $2,000 to the John Edwards for President campaign in 2004? Mr. Edwards, you may recall, was the great left-wing hope in 2004 and the running mate of that well-known non-controversial John Kerry in the 2004 election. Should a man who owns an NFL football team even be remotely associated with a man as divisive as John Edwards? No problem, apparently, because Edwards is a liberal, unlike Rush Limbaugh. Who, wonder of wonders, has employed "words and thoughts" in opposition to Mr. Irsay's favorite non-controversial candidate. Who, of course, has not only a lot of controversial "words and thoughts" but one pretty significant action that seems to have permanently sidelined his career and lots more than that.

Mr. Irsay, it turns out, has a habit of controversial contributions to controversial politicians who, like John Edwards, are not Limbaugh fans. There's the $200 to Democrat Congressman Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island,  the $500 to Democrat Congressman Edolphus Towns of New York, and so on and on. Perhaps most interesting is the Irsay $5,000 that went to Gridiron PAC.  Here Mr. Irsay's money was spread out among candidates with names like Congressional Black caucus Chairman James Clyburn of South Carolina, Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

But wait! There's more!  Just when you think Mr. Irsay's controversial contributions could not be controversial enough, here's another set of controversial politicians with whom he has chosen to associate himself. The names?

George W. Bush ($1,000), George W. Bush and Dick Cheney ($2,000), and George W. Bush and Dick Cheney ($2,000 again).

And Mr. Goodell?  He who is opposed to things divisive "from people who are in a responsible position in the NFL."

Mr. Goodell, who presumably gets his paycheck from running the NFL, uses his money to give campaign contributions to non-divisive people like New York Senator and Democrat Charles Schumer ($1,000 just this year), the non-controversial Democrat and Congressman John Conyers of Michigan ($500) and, like Mr. Irsay, Commissioner Goodell has given $5,000 to the Gridiron PAC, where his money has been doled out to the likes of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Senator Dodd and Senator Leahy. And, also like Mr. Irsay, the NFL Commissioner has sent his checks to the uncontroversial and non-divisive George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and, yes, John McCain.

So what do we have here?

What we have is a game within a game. Within the game that is professional football and the NFL, we have another game altogether.

It too is played by serious professionals. It's called, "controversy and divisiveness for me,  but not for thee." Or, more accurately, not for Rush.

This game also has a name.

It's called hypocrisy.

And James Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, are the stars of the team.

There are a lot of owners and players in the NFL. How many of those who are opposing Rush Limbaugh's participation in the NFL play the same game as Irsay and Goodell?

Good question. Surely the answers will be forthcoming in the days ahead.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.