The St. Louis Limbaughs?

The conservative radio talker's bid to buy the St. Louis Rams inspires opposition, and derision

By Alex Koppelman
Published October 14, 2009 6:40PM (UTC)
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The National Football League's St. Louis Rams aren't exactly a hot commodity these days. They're stuck at 0-5, and have commentators asking if they can be the team to repeat the feat the Detroit Lions were the first to accomplish last year -- going through an entire 16-game season without a single victory.

But at least some people are interested in buying the team. One group exploring the possibility includes conservative radio talker Rush Limbaugh, and that's inspired quite a bit of talk about the Rams lately. More, it seems like everyone in the NFL's coming out of the woodwork to oppose the idea of Limbaugh -- who lost his job as a commentator for ESPN after racially charged comments he made about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb -- having any part in owning a team.


That the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would state publicly their opposition to Limbaugh buying the Rams isn't surprising. (In other breaking news, the sun rose today.) But there have been a few NFL players who've already said they don't want the radio host to become part of the league, and that attitude's shared at the highest levels. The NFL likes its owners seen and not heard, especially when it comes to controversial issues unrelated to football.

Even Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he's against the idea of a Limbaugh-owned team; "divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about," Goodell said. "I would not want to see those comments coming from people who are in a responsible posiiton in the NFL." Goodell and his counterpart in the players' union, DeMaurice Smith, aren't seeing eye to eye on much these days, but they agree on Limbaugh.

"[S]port 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," Smith said in an e-mail to his union's executive committee.


Still, progressives and football fans are having a little fun with Limbaugh's bid. On Twitter, they're coming up with ideas for new names the Rams could take if the radio host does succeed in buying a piece of the team. There is, for instance, "St. Louis Whiteys" and the "Missouri Manboobs," along with "St. Louis Pharmaceuticals" and "St. Louis Birthers." One other suggestion that's been made: In order to dissuade Limbaugh, change the name now to "St. Louis Rahms," after White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

The team may not have to take that kind of step just yet. The current owners have apparently not made a final decision about selling majority control of the team, and if they do, Limbaugh's group is still a longshot.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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