Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was dropped from a group bidding to buy the St. Louis Rams.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the story on Wednesday.
Limbaugh was to be a limited partner in a group headed by St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts. Checketts said in a statement Wednesday that Limbaugh’s participation had become a complication in the group’s efforts and the bid will move forward without him.
Checketts told the Associated Press he will have no further comment on the bid process.
Three-quarters of the league’s 32 owners would have had to approve any sale to Limbaugh and his group. Earlier this week, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay predicted that Limbaugh’s potential bid would be met by significant opposition. Several players have also voiced their displeasure with Limbaugh’s potential ownership position, and NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith, who is black, urged players to speak out against Limbaugh’s bid.
A Limbaugh spokesman told ESPN that Limbaugh would have no comment on Wednesday. Earlier, on his syndicated radio show, Limbaugh was defiant, holding on to hope that he still could be part of the ownership group that buys the Rams.
“This is not about the NFL, it’s not about the St. Louis Rams, it’s not about me,” Limbaugh said. “This is about the ongoing effort by the left in this country, wherever you find them, in the media, the Democrat Party, or wherever, to destroy conservatism, to prevent the mainstreaming of anyone who is prominent as a conservative.
“Therefore, this is about the future of the United States of America and what kind of country we’re going to have.”
Without Limbaugh, Checketts and his group will have to find another partner. At the NFL owners meetings this week in Boston, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addressed Limbaugh’s potential involvement in the league and said “divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about.”
Goodell added: “I’ve said many times before, we’re all held to a high standard here. I would not want to see those comments coming from people who are in a responsible position in the NFL — absolutely not.”
In 2003, Limbaugh was forced to resign from ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown after saying of Philadelphia’s Donovan McNabb: “I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well.”
The Rams had no comment, reissuing a statement from Oct. 5 in which owner Chip Rosenbloom said a review of the team’s ownership was under way and the club will make an announcement when it’s over.
Checketts, the chairman of SCP Worldwide, announced that Limbaugh had been dumped toward the end of a news release.
“It has become clear that his involvement in our group has become a complication and a distraction to our intentions; endangering our bid to keep the team in St. Louis,” Checketts said. “As such, we have decided to move forward without him and hope it will eventually lead us to a successful conclusion.”
The move was hailed by the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of the most vocal critics of Limbaugh’s bid.
“It is a moral victory for all Americans — especially the players that have been unfairly castigated by Rush Limbaugh,” Sharpton said in a statement. “This decision will also uphold the unifying standards of major sports.”
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