Sports Arena

Personal Fouls

The vicious smearing of football aficionado Rush Limbaugh.

By 10.13.09

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The Left has opened up a new front in its ongoing efforts to censor conservative voices and to ban conservative political thought from polite society. Their latest target: Rush Limbaugh, who is now being viciously smeared as a black-hating racist.

Of course, the Left has viciously smeared Rush and other conservatives for some time now. That's their modus operandi; it's how they operate. But their use of the racist smear has gained new currency of late because Rush and Dave Checketts, managing partner of the St. Louis Blues, are now bidding to buy the National Football League's St. Louis Rams.

This has caused racial hucksters Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to formally lobby against Rush's bid to buy the Rams. Sharpton, in fact, sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in which he urges the league to reject Limbaugh's ownership bid because, he wrote, Rush is "divisive and anti-NFL."

Sharpton's letter references Rush's past "comments about NFL players, including Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb, and [Limbaugh's] recent statement that the NFL was beginning to look like a fight between the Crips and the Bloods without the weapons…"

Jackson, meanwhile, told the Associated Press that Rush has made his career by "'appealing to the fears of whites' with an unending line of insults against blacks and other minorities."

This is rich insofar as Jackson and Sharpton have made their careers by incessantly and shamelessly playing the race card, and doing so from the bottom of the deck. Indeed, throughout his career, Jackson has used the false charge of white racism to intimidate corporations into adopting racial preferences in the name of "affirmative action" (read: "reverse discrimination").

Sharpton also is an incessant racial ambulance chaser. Sharpton began his career in the early 1980s when he smeared a white district attorney, Steven A. Pagones, with the false charge of racism.

Sharpton charged Pagones with abducting and raping a black teenager, Tawana Brawley, in Wappingers Falls, New York. Pagones was exonerated by a grand jury, but not before his name and his reputation had been dragged through the mud by Sharpton.

Brawley later was ordered to pay Pagones $185,000, while Sharpton and her other "advisers" were forced to pay Pagones $345,000. "Tawana Brawley appears caught up in her own fiction," said New York State Supreme Court Justice S. Barrett Hickman.

Then as now, Sharpton had absolutely no evidence upon which to cry "white racism," and he seemed not to care about ruining an innocent man's career and reputation. In fact, to this day Sharpton has not apologized for his reprehensible behavior in the Tawana Brawley affair.

But that's not surprising: Apologizing now would call into question Sharpton's entire career and professional reason for being. It would undermine any new charges of white racism, which he propounds regularly, as he has now against Rush Limbaugh.

In a certain respect, this is not surprising. Sharpton's racist racket is financially and culturally lucrative; it results in high-paying gigs and television appearances. Sharpton, of course, doesn't want to mess with success; never mind a little thing like honor and integrity.

In reality, Rush doesn't have a racist bone in his body, and nothing he has said is in any way racist. What Rush has done is to honestly, courageously and forthrightly address matters of race in America, and he has sometimes done so in ways that are amusing and satirical.

The Left purports to want this. They insist they want to openly and candidly discuss racial matters; hence Attorney General Eric Holder's speech last February, during Black History Month: "In things racial," Holder said, "we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards."

"We average Americans simply do not talk enough with each other about race," Holder continued. "It is an issue we have never been at ease with; and, given our nation's history, this is in some ways understandable. And yet, if we are to make progress in this area we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us."

Holder and other Leftists say they want an honest discussion about race, but they don't really mean it. They don't really mean it because the minute someone like Rush does talk frankly about race, he is immediately attacked as a bigot and castigated as a racist who should be banned from polite society. The charge of racism thus is a potent political weapon that the Left uses to demonize and silence its political opponents.

So it is that Dave Zirin, sports correspondent for The Nation magazine, engages in a reprehensible act of character assassination.

"Rush Limbaugh is an unreconstructed racist," Zirin told MSNBC on Monday. NFL players don't "want an owner who has said that slavery was a good thing because it made the streets safer… They don't want… somebody in an NFL owner's box who they know views them with naked and open contempt because of the color of their skin."

Zirin's comments are completely false, malicious, and slanderous. Rush has never defended slavery; such a charge is preposterous and flat-out wrong. Zirin vilifies a good and decent man (Rush) for nakedly political reasons.

Zirin and his ilk (Jackon, Sharpton and others) also are attempting to rile up NFL Players, and the NFL Players Union, in opposition to Limbaugh. Their attempt to do so, unfortunately, appears to have met with some success. The Executive Director of the NFL Players Association, for instance, DeMaurice Smith, appears to have accepted the wholly false premise that Rush is a divisive bigot who should be banned from the NFL.

"I've spoken to the Commissioner [Roger Goodell]," Smith wrote in an email to the union's executive committee, "and I understand that this ownership consideration is in the early stages. But sport in America is at its best when it unifies, gives all of us reason to cheer, and when it transcends. Our sport does exactly that when it overcomes division and rejects discrimination and hatred."

Of course, Smith never specifies the "discrimination and hatred" that Rush supposedly embraces and propounds. But that doesn't stop Smith from hurling such a malicious and reckless charge. In fact, he goes even further. Smith also urges NFL players to speak out against Rush's ownership bid.

"I have asked our players to embrace their roles not only in the game of football, but also as players and partners in the business of the NFL," Smith writes. "We also know that there is an ugly part of history, and we will not risk going backwards, giving up, giving in or lying down to it."

In short, Smith all but calls Rush a member of the Ku Klux Klan, or a participant in some other white supremacist group.

This is outrageous. This is emotional blackmail, which no NFL player and no NFL owner should tolerate or accept. You can disagree with Rush politically, and many people do. But don't perform character assassination on the man. Don't try to destroy him and his reputation because he articulates a conservative point of view. That's dirty pool and truly unsportsmanlike conduct.

Rush may have been wrong about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. (Rush said, in 2003, that McNabb wasn't all that good and was the beneficiary of media "social concern… that a black quarterback do well.") However, Rush's comment was hardly racist and hardly beyond the pale.

Argue with Rush. Call him wrong and perhaps even insensitive. But don't accuse him of being a racist upon the basis of such flimsy evidence as this And certainly don't ban him from the NFL. Or is the NFL's new motto going to be, "No conservatives need apply"?

To be sure, Zirin insists that "it's not about him [Rush] being a conservative. Most NFL owners are conservative."

This may be true, but most NFL owners are not outspoken conservatives. They don't articulate a conservative point of view on the great and pressing issues of our time. They don't fearlessly confront the orthodoxies of political correctness and thus run afoul of the liberal PC police.

In short, most NFL owners are docile and well caged conservatives who do not threaten the Left's cultural hegemony. Rush does though, because he is a tremendously popular radio talk show host. This makes him enemy number one on the Leftist hit list.

Yet, Zirin insists that the case against Rush revolves around his "open publicly stated contempt for people with dark skin. That's what it comes down to," he says. "NFL owners should not have him as part of their exclusive fraternity."

Again, this is outrageous and slanderous -- and wrong. Rush has said and done nothing that would suggest he has "contempt for people with dark skin." If Zirin were a gentleman, he would immediately retract his vicious smear and apologize to Rush: because in modern-day America, there are few worse things to be called than a racist and a bigot. Such a charge can rightfully cripple a man's livelihood and career.

Of course, Rush is big enough and popular enough that his career will survive this vicious smear. The real concern is not Rush; it is ordinary Americans of lesser means, who may be cowed and intimidated into silence because of this incident.

We mustn't let that happen. The NFL mustn't let that happen. Free speech and open debate are too important to be sacrificed upon the altar of political correctness. Race relations in America are too important to be sacrificed upon the altar of political correctness.

Rush's ownership bid must be evaluated upon the basis of its intrinsic financial worth, and not upon the basis of completely specious and unfounded political concerns which revolve around the defamation of his character by his political opponents. Men and women of good will, regardless of their political affiliation, should join forces to stop the vicious smearing of Rush Limbaugh.

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About the Author
  John R. Guardiano blogs at www.ResCon1.com, and you can follow him on Twitter: @ResCon1.