Noted radio personality and “Big Fat Idiot” Rush Limbaugh is said to be one of the investors involved in a bid to buy the St. Louis Rams.Â Let’s discuss the potential ramifications of this transaction.
First of all, what sort of on-field impact would owner Rush Limbaugh have on the St. Louis Rams? Probably nothing on a game to game basis. Football is football. But, there could be an impact in the makeup of the Rams roster. You may have heard, Rush Limbaugh tends to be a rather partisan fellow who inflames the emotions of people on both sides of the political spectrum.Â The loyalty he has engendered from Americans with traditional Red State conservative values is equalled, or surpassed, by the hatred of those with a progressive, traditionally liberal philosophy.Â His message seems to boil down to a defense of lower middle class white Americans in the midwest and south against the threat from policies designed to help inner city, lower middle class black and latino Americans. Well, if you had to identify where the vast majority of NFL players come from, you would probably point to lower middle class neighborhoods in the south and midwest as well as the inner city.
Would Limbaugh’s involvement with the franchise have any impact on whether or not a vast majority of NFL players choose to sign with the Rams? Probably not. But all it takes is one big name free agent to either spurn the Rams or to seek them out for a contract because of Rush Limbaugh and his ownership has had an impact. I’m pretty sure Donavan McNabb or his close friends throughout the league won’t be joining the team anytime soon.
Now, how would Limbaugh’s ownership of a professional football team impact the nation’s political landscape? That may be a far more interesting question. A recent study on political donations from NFL teams found the Rams were one of only a handful of teams who gave primarily to democratic candidates. In fact, 98% of the Rams donations went to Dems. Obviously, that would probably end if a Limbaugh-led coalition took control of the franchise. That could spell bad news for Claire McCaskill. The Missouri Senator won a close election in 2006 over the incumbent, Jim Talent. A major issue in that election was McCaskill’s support of stem cell research and one of her political ads about that issue, featuring Michael J Fox. It was that spot which prompted this reaction from Limbaugh:
Chances are, some of that Rams money went to McCaskill. If Rush takes over, she can say goodbye to those donations. Perhaps its enough to swing another close election away from her.
The Mayor of St. Louis is also a Democrat. The relationship between a team owner and the mayor of the city where his team plays tends to be an important one. It’s certainly possible to imagine a scenario where this relationship sours to the point where if affects the way the team does business in and around the city. What if they decide it’s time to build a new Stadium and move out of the Dome? What if they decide they need new practice facilities or corporate headquarters? All of that could be thwarted by a negative relationship between the principal negotiators.
Obviously, this is all conjecture on my part. But none of the scenarios I put forth are impossible to imagine. It’s something the league needs to consider before getting into bed with this guy.