Limbaugh races to wrong conclusion

I took a lot of heat for calling Rush Limbaugh a racist in my commentary on his hiring by ESPN. It's a strong accusation, but given his history of racially insensitive remarks -- none of which he has denied making or apologized for since they were widely publicized three years ago -- it seems reasonable to judge him by those words.

The Philadelphia media is reacting today to comments Limbaugh made on Sunday NFL Countdown about Donovan McNabb. He's never been that good, according to Limbaugh, but the media refuses to admit that because he's black:

I think the sum total of what you're all saying is that Donovan McNabb is regressing, he's going backwards. And ... I'm sorry to say this, I don't think he's been that good from the get-go.

I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. They're interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well; I think there is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of his team that he really didn't deserve. The defense carried this team ...

I think he got a lot of credit for the defensive side of the ball winning games for this team.

McNabb is a three-time Pro Bowler who threw 63 touchdowns the last three years. I think there's a word for someone who would portray his success, which is easily demonstrated by his statistics, as some kind of affirmative-action treatment.


I think that rush tends to be very fair and balanced. It just doesn't seem so,to those that have it in for him. Three time pro bowler means nothing when it comes to opinions, i thought dan marino was a jackass, but many would think i'm stupid for that, but that is just my opinion. If you ask Rush about his views on randall cunningham i'm sure they would be different. the fact is that, minorities are not being looked at as fairly as they should. It is wrong to say something negative about someone who is in a minority in this country. And that is a serious issue...

Donovan McNabb is not above criticism -- the Philadelphia media and fans have been enormously critical of him at many times in his career.

However, criticizing him for on-field performance is different than making his race the issue.

Limbaugh's the one who introduced this subject -- the Philadelphia media and I are simply responding to his ludicrous premise.

Unfortunately for Limbaugh, excellence in sports is more empirical than excellence in broadcasting -- we can look at McNabb's numbers and see instantly that Limbaugh's "not that good" assessment is bogus. You don't throw more than 60 touchdowns in three years without being one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

I did not hear the Limbaugh remarks Rogers quoted, but I did hear his comments earlier in the show (I am guessing) about the Eagles and McNabb where he said he thought the Eagles were overrated (at least by the other ESPN analysts) all along and equated McNabb to Randall Cunningham, suggesting he will somehow be a failure. He also quoted a stat about no team where the QB was the leading rusher won the Super Bowl. After seeing the Eagles lose and play badly in their two games to start the season when they went to the NFC Championship game the year before, its easy to say they are overrated after the fact. Did he say the same thing at the beginning of the season? Also, as far as I know, no one at ESPN predicted the Eagles were going to win the Super Bowl, so how overrated could they have been? As for comparing McNabb to Cunningham, aside from their race and reputation as mobile QBs, they are not similar players. Their personalities, at least by reputation, are totally different. McNabb is known as a down to earth individual and relates well to his teammates. Cunningham had a philosophical air, was thought of as an enigma, and was not the natural leader McNabb is. Even their running styles are distinct from each other: McNabb runs more like a running back, Cunningham had a loping stride and often leaped into the air like a high jumper. This was the only time I saw Limbaugh on ESPN. If that is representative of his work, he is a lazy sports broadcaster who has no depth of knowledge of the game. If ESPN wants someone controversial, at least get someone who knows what they are talking about. Maybe Romanowski?

Well, at least this one is actually well-sourced as compared to all of the other comments you posted before, Roger.

Wasn't it Isaiah Thomas who once said that if Larry Byrd had been black that he would never have received nearly the media attention? Limbaugh's comment is just as ludicrous.

The funny part, of course, is that it was Philly fans who booed McNabb when he was selected in the draft. Yeah, too bad Philly didn't select Tim Couch or Akili Smith in that draft, eh?

I remember that draft-day response to McNabb -- it was funny to see the mopes in Philly do such a quick turnabout when they realized how good he was.


Dennis Rodman said that. Actually, he said if Larry Bird wasn't white, he'd be considered just another good player. Isaiah was asked about it and said there was some validity to it. Which is still bad--but hasn't prevented him from becoming a head coach or team executive--but he didn't say it originally.

However, these comments aren't racist. They're misguided and a bit paranoid, but they're not racist. I live in Philly and am a huge Eagles and McNabb fan but, taking out Rush's stupid part about people wanting to see him succeed because he's black, his comments have some validity. They DID go 5-1 when McNabb was out with his broken ankle, remember.

And it wasn't "Philly fans" who booed McNabb on draft day. It was 30 drunken, white-trash idiots who were at the draft and were egged on by an idiotic sports talk show host here who wanted them to draft Ricky Williams.

BTW, Roger, I know you opposed Limbaugh being there in the first place, but it is interesting to see how Limbaugh's statements about McNabb are being played in the media. USA Today, for example, describes Limbaugh's statement as expressing his "conservative views" which, as a conservative opponent of affirmative action I find to be completely ridiculous. But having a prominent conservative -- especially one so prone to making ignorant statements like this -- on a prominent non-political show is a double-edge sword.

Six Degrees of Consumer Protestation:

Rush Limbaugh=ESPN=Disney=Song of the South=Plantation=Rush Limbaugh

It's not that race is taboo, it's that suggesting that a black quarterback is playing because of some behind the scenes puppetry vis a vis black viewership--this is the where I get up from the bar stool and wish the corpulant manatee next to me good luck. Then I go watch the rest of the game alone. Except now I don't even watch the game. And I ain't buying Disney no more.


I've been doing some searches on the internet about some of the quotes that FAIR claims Limbaugh made. Here's a link on the "take the bone out of your nose" quote that has an interesting interpetation of it. I'm sure Rogers will appreciate it:

Donovan McNabb is not on the same level of playing ability as Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Rich Gannon, Doug Flutie........Let me stop now. What's wrong with you people? You can't handle the truth? If Donovan McNabb was white, he would be selling insurance somewhere because he is sorry. Let me tell you something, if keep licking black crack your children will their slaves you idiots. Wake up. But you keep thinking Donovan McNabb is good. Will he make the playoffs? Get real.

2000 Stats: 3994 Total Yards, 27 Total TDs, only 13 INT's
2001 Stats: 3805 Total Yards, 27 Total TDs, only 12 INT's
2002 Stats: 2753 Total Yards, 23 Total TDs, only 6 INT's (Only played 10 Games)
2002 Stats: 4404 Total Yards, 36 Total TDs, only 10 INT's (What he as on pace for if he had played last 6 games)

Those are insane statistics. I don't understand how anyone can make the case that this guy is overrated. Please, make a case.

Despite what you may say regarding his "fairness" this comment costed him the job. He resigned yesterday.

Once again we're bound to hear cries of "liberal media bias" that cost Rush his job when he pointed out the "fact" of the situation. In this case however, it seems that is was his own bias that did him in. Does the media want a successful black quarterback? Perhaps, but only in the way they want a successful white quarterback with the qualities that McNabb possesses--photogenic, capable of thoughtful speech, and the ability to SELL THINGS! So is the media showing bias because they want a successful quarterback? If you ask Eagles fans I would say they are incredibly biased because they too want a successful quarterback--namely Donovan McNabb.

Ah, the ol' lies, damned lies and statistics line comes to mind. Matt, could you please let us know where you found those stats? I've been searching all over the web and nfl qb historical data is hard to come by.

You chose to look only at total yards passing. Doesn't seem an objective opinion (assuming you're trying to be objective). Is DB in a pass-happy offense? Does he have top-rated recievers to work with? What about completion %? Interceptions thrown? A great running back to take some of the pressure off?

Rush bared his ignorance of football for all to see when he made that comment. It'd be a pretty simplistic world to judge the worth of a qb on yards passing alone. I know we all want simplicity in a world that's getting more complex every passing (no pun) minute.

That's a big part of the appeal of RL and others like him. He expresses well some things that people've been wondering about and says them with confidence -- so it must be true! it can be easy for a weak-willed person to sop up all rush's simple-world gravy.

I beg to differ that all he's done is offer an "opinion." Firstly, he's ostensibly there to provide INFORMED opinion -- about FOOTBALL. that's why they don't just stick a mic in front of passersby on the street or outside the stadium. it'd be a helluva lot cheaper just to do that. any half-idjit has an "opinion."

But we're tuning in to get the goods from people who we assume know far more about the game than we might. they've lived it. been successful at it. or at least been involved as a broadcaster journalist in the sport for a loong time. they should KNOW stuff. hopefully they can offer a new insight.

now that's not to say nobody but an insider can have a valid opinion on football, of course. but these guys supposedly bring some heavy credentials that are difficult to argue with (even if you may disagree with the opinion itself).

Rush doesn't fit the criteria. It was a failed stunt by espn guys trying to boost ratings. in the interview rush probably claimed he's a huge fan and knows plenty. i seriously doubt they thot he'd be an asset for anything more than bringing in his dittoheads and curiosity-seekers. i'm sure they thot he'd probably blow himself up at some point. i think a lot of people were just WAITING for him to say something 'crazy' like this. he gave em the broadcasting car crash everyone was gleefully anticipating. rush is (still) a big boy. he bloody well KNEW what he was going to say was going to be INFLAMATORY. it was hardly off the cuff. it was PREPARED and sitting in his back pocket for the right moment on that show.

rush did his job. he brought in new viewers some of whom will hopefully stick around.

Secondly, wot an opinion! can we really excuse anything by saying, "well,it's just an opinion?" start crying free speech and this and that amendment rights, blablablah? it reminds me of some of these sports (or entertainment or whatever) stars who do something heinous and try to brush it off saying they just made a "mistake." a cheesy effort to deflect the seriousness of the offense.

are there any jewish or armenian (or whatever) near greats out there having a bad year this year? do we get up and say they were overrated cuz of liberal bias? c'maaan! who the hell would care?! we all know rush's bias from YEARS of other directly, pointedly unabashed racist comments (bone in nose, etc) he has made before. he didn't have to be bold-faced about it this time. we all know where he was comging from.

even tho i agree that this particular comment really skirts what ought to be properly termed "racist," (i don't think technically that it is) you'd be a naieve fool to think the wording was entirely spontaneous and race-neutral.

there is/was an agenda rush was pushing and it's a cryin shame it had to pollute what was once one of my favourite pre-game shows.

Oh, the humour. Rush spouts off again. A couple of points:

1) There may indeed be something to the L. Bird sentiments as stated by D. Rodman. He may've been given more props by many people b/c he was something of an increasing minority (if you know what I mean. Black players were dominating a once all-white league). Maybe. But, any way you slice it, it cannot be denied that the guy could flat out PLAY. Even if you were not a stats freak, if you'd actually seen him play a few games -- as any true fan of the game would have -- it would've been as plain as day to see how good he was.

So even if you allow Rush's premise that he was mebbe pumped up (or, at least, not dumped on enough) b/c of his race, any real fan of the game knows this guy's pretty damned good.

Did Rushie hedge his bets by saying "not THAT good?" in comparison to what? His supposed hype? Or relative to other QBs in the league. In the former case, there may possibly be a point (if there's any way to objectively judge hype anyway. and it's only human cheering nature to give any superstar a little more hype and/or criticism than is due -- esp in a team game). It's still a weak argument anyway and hardly worth saying. But, if he were truly more interested in making informed (tho potentially controversial) comment and not trying to score points for some other agenda, he would have at least braced his comments by saying that he feels that x,y, or z black QB IS living up to his hype.

No, he chose to let it sit and leave it to others to speculate whether he finds any black QBs worthy.

2) would be worthwhile, for those on the fence (and too lazy to look it up themselves) for someone to list donovan's stats in comparison to the avg white QB for the first three years he was in the league (or, more fairly, vs. the avg white qb stats for THEIR first 3 yrs in the league as a starter).

3) i think Rush basically sunk himself rather than get fired. I don't know if he ever really thought he'd get accepted as a more mainstreamish "analyst." I'll bet the numbers showed viewership wasn't any better (or there may've been too many letters coming in demanding he be yanked), so he figured he'll go out on his own terms. saying something like he said he can always claim he couldn't stand the "liberal media" hypocracy or something.

Well, ok, one half of point #3 goes out the window (if true):
"ESPN spokesman Dave Nagle said ratings for Sunday NFL Countdown were up 10 percent overall since Limbaugh joined the show this year. Sunday's show drew its biggest audience in the regular season since 1996." -- from

So mebbe he drew in/consolidated his dittohead crowd.

Still waiting on him to say SOME black qb (heck, even doug williams in that classic superbowl a zillion years ago) is/was pretty good.

His comments now are to the effect that he's only quit cuz he's upset "the crew" (really, tom jackson and wot's iz name). More nudge and a wink code talk.

McNabb is a GREAT "rushing" quarterback, but not a great quarterback. His stats are not insane but rather mundane. He was 12th in passing yrds for 2000, 15th in 2001, and 22nd in 2002. If you look at his stats compared to every other QB for these years he comes out as "not bad". I'd even go as far as saying he's okay to being good, but not great. Rush's statement seems obvious to me that there is a lot of hype around McNabb being a great QB that is motivated by a media bent on race rather than merit. It is my OPINION Rush's stance on the media is that it is liberally biased and as such has a desire to believe McNabb is better than he really is, or at least wanting him to be, because he is black. Maybe as an uncontious or purposeful attempt to make reparations via McNabb by "creating" black heroes. If you believe this is true (and I do in some instances), than it is extremely insulting to the black community as there are many black athletes in the NFL who have truly earned the status of being "great" through excellence. And I think this was going to be Rush's main point, that the liberal media bias is hurting more than helping by not letting true heroes stand out. With all that said, I agree with Rush that McNabb is overrated, but not for those reasons. If the media needed a black QB to root for, than Culpepper and McNair are candidates who've earned accolades more so than McNabb. So I don't see it that way. Either way, I may disagree with Rush on why he thinks McNabb is overrated, but I disagree with many broadcasters on sports and I've never seen such an uproar. Limbaugh thinks McNabb is overrated for political reasons. So what? A lot of people (including me) think McNabb is overrated for all kinds of reasons. Steve Young thinks McNabb can't run an offense and no one is calling for his resignation. In no way did Rush come off as a racist, but rather charged the general media as having a racial prejudice. And to accuse Rush as being racist simply because he doesn't think McNabb is that good is absurd. Rush believes the media has a liberal bias like a lot of people, and tried to make a point of it by using McNabb as an example. McNabb isn't that great, so Rush's bias against the general media is as valid's as Young's belief that McNabb can't run an offense effectively. Big Deal!

I recieved the statistics from (Input year). After considering the huge disparity between passing yrds and rushing yrds I chose just to input passing after admittedly stating McNabb was a great rushing QB. In fact he was the no.1 rushing quarterback in 2000 and in the last 3 years has been consistently in the top five, I believe. However, even after reviewing all %'s and so forth, it's still my opinion that McNabb comes out as decent and not great. By all means please look it up in all of it's complexity. Although I do appreciate the occasional Mark Twain reference, I added the statistics in response to so many others who don't do comparitive research. As for Todd's last comments, you make a great argument. Of course that's just my opinion, a former division 1A collegiate football player who happens to be a Native American.

I think John Kerry should be the next president of the US. I voted for Bush in 2000 but he has let me down. I will never vote for a Bush or a Republican again.

Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot.

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