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In Wilbon's World

Judgment Day

[Updated at 1:58 p.m. on Oct. 15]

The free market, rather loudly, told Rush Limbaugh it wasn't interested in what he sells. Undoubtedly there are NFL owners who share Limbaugh's brand of conservatism. A few, I'm told, are so far to the right politically they think Limbaugh is liberal. But the voices that spoke up in the private club Limbaugh wanted to join shouted him down. It was noticeable enough that several players, very eloquently in some cases, said they wouldn't want to play for a team he owned. But then there was an owner, the Colts' Jim Irsay, who went on the record as saying he wouldn't vote to accept an ownership group that includes Limbaugh. And most important, the NFL Commissioner himself, Roger Goodell, said very firmly that Limbaugh's public utterances as they relate to race, to African-Americans specifically, are "divisive" and "polarizing."

It was obvious at that point that Limbaugh wouldn't be part of an NFL ownership group. And it's fair. Limbaugh, every day and very publicly, judges people, turns thumbs up or thumbs down on someone's candidacy or worthiness. Now he's been judged: Thumbs down, not interested. Millions of people believe what Limbaugh believes about politics and race. But millions of others believe something else and, more to the point, reject what Limbaugh espouses. And the push-back was more than Limbaugh was going to overcome, so it's over.

When it first became public that Limbaugh was going to be part of Dave Checketts' group that was attempting to buy the St. Louis Rams, it riled up black folks probably more than anyone else, which should come as no surprise. I've met Limbaugh. I communicated with him last week on the issue of his being a part-owner of a franchise. One-on-one, he comes across as approachable and open to pretty much any discussion. But his radio persona is another thing. I don't listen to his show because his comments about people of color anger and offend me, and I'm not easily offended. I'm not going to try and give specific examples of things he has said over the years; I screwed up already doing that, repeating a quote attributed to Limbaugh (about slavery) that he has told me he simply did not say and does not reflect his feelings. I take him at his word.

But Limbaugh has long history of the same insults and race baiting, to the point of declaring he hoped the President of the United States, a black man, fails. I never understood why someone with Limbaugh's gift for communication was so nasty and, in my opinion, gave cover to bigots everywhere under the guise of conservatism. Clearly I'm not alone.

The smartest expression I've heard on the entire subject came from Mathias Kiwanuka of the Giants, who said, "I am not going to draw a conclusion from a person off of one comment, but when it is time after time after time and there's a consistent pattern of disrespect and just a complete misunderstanding of an entire culture that I am a part of, I can't respect him as a man."

Irsay said Tuesday, "I would not be in favor of voting for him," and he labeled some of Limbaugh's comments "incendiary. . . . We've got to watch our words in this world and our thoughts because they can do damage."

Limbaugh has the right to say pretty much whatever he wants on his show. People with opposing views have the right to say, "We don't want to be associated with that."
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and a smart man on these issues, wrote in his blog that this is a bottom-line issue, that the risk of offending people runs hand-in-hand with the risk of costing the NFL money. Cuban writes, "The problem with Rush is that it's his job to take on all of life's partisan issues and problems. Not only is it his job to take on these issues and problems, it's key to his success that he be very opinionated about whichever issues he feels are important to him and/or will cause his very large audience to tune in. . . . The wrong thing said on the show, even if it's not spoken by Rush himself, about a sensitive national or world issue could turn into a Black Swan event for the NFL. . . . This isn't about free speech. It's about the NFL protecting their business. There is no reason to put it at risk. "

Now that his bid to own an NFL team is over and unlikely to be revived, I wonder if Limbaugh has any misgivings about what he says and how he says it. I wonder whether he cares at all that his own history of intolerance (even if it's just perception) has resulted in an institution representing a rather broad spectrum of society, even a private club of men accustomed to wealth and privilege, not wanting to be publicly associated with his views or his bombast. Is this simply everyone else's fault, a "liberal conspiracy," or a rejection that's hurtful enough that it will make Rush Limbaugh take a tough look at himself?

Part of me wonders if some greater good might have been served by Limbaugh actually becoming an owner. Sports, more than anywhere else in this culture, is where preconceived notions are immediately tested and often die. Hostile bigotry can't last long in the athletic arena because whether you're a left tackle, an owner or power forward, you're too dependent on somebody who looks different than you or who practices a different religion. Sports are not without prejudice; but they're the closest thing this society has to a true meritocracy, and as a result, cooperative and constructive human relations in the pursuit of winning are unavoidable.

Folks who would never embrace each other in business, science and technology, religion, media . . . they've got no choice in sports. Stadiums in America are completely integrated on Sundays. Churches are not. Even somebody with Limbaugh's bombast, I think, might wind up not just editing himself but actually feeling different about people other than himself if put in that setting every single week as an owner, his business identity tied to sweaty black men. And trust me: Limbaugh loves sports enough that he'd be right there hugging them in the locker room after big victories.

You think if Limbaugh's team had a black quarterback as successful as Donovan McNabb that he'd be dismissive of him?

It would have been interesting to see what might have happened, what fundamental changes might have come about in Limbaugh, had he become an owner. It's one thing to demonize people from afar, but quite another to do it after you've just hugged and cried with somebody of that race or ethnicity after a shared joyous experience.
But we'll never know, not in the context of Limbaugh and the NFL anyway. Perhaps another league will let him in; Missouri has other teams. Perhaps enough people are tired of the incendiary comments, as Irsay said, to simply say, "You have to do better, exhibit a greater tolerance or simply public decency to join us."

Limbaugh is a great communicator of his message. I wonder if he heard this one loud and clear.


Michael Wilbon

 |  October 14, 2009; 8:05 PM ET  |  Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: No Rush to Judgment | Next: Pick Against Mike: Week 6


Please report offensive comments below.

Rush loves his country but hopes the Black president fails. If Mr. Obama fails so does America. As I was reading through all the comments, could only think, there are a lot of racist Rush's out there. Mr. Wilborn your article was on point, we need rid ourselves of Rush's.

Posted by: vsharp | October 19, 2009 5:13 AM
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My grandmother used to tell me if I didn't want to be called a fool, don't act like a fool. If I acted like a fool, I should expect to be called a fool.

I'm remembering that today as I read this story:,0,1332501.story

To quote an old song by C&C Music Factory, "Things that make you hmmmm..."

It often seems that those who protest the loudest are the ones trying to provide a cover for their own, otherwise hidden, prejudices.

Posted by: formerfan1000 | October 17, 2009 2:03 PM
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"But Limbaugh has long history of the same insults and race baiting, to the point of declaring he hoped the president of the United States, a black man, fails."

The implication is that Rush wanted Obama to fail because he's black. Rush wanted Obama to fail because he thought Obama's ideas were 100% wrong.

The only one race baiting is Michael Wilbon.


Posted by: TonyXL | October 16, 2009 1:15 PM
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"Judgment Day" is an interesting headline because Judgment day will come but it will be for a corrupt, liberal media oozing bile, hatred and lies …..
When that day does come it will mean that the truth gets reported, liars are exposed and the corrupted go to jail.

Mike you state:

"The free market, rather loudly, told Rush Limbaugh it wasn't interested in what he sells"

The free market did no such thing they simply cowered under the bed and gave in to the corrupt liberal media along with their shrills the race baiters, Jackson and Sharpton --- If you were really looking to get rid of some corrupt racist and bigots there's no better place to start than with those two...and then you could continue with Farrakhan amongst others.
As a matter of fact if the media was truly interested in getting rid of racists and bigots Jackson and Sharpton and Farrakhan would been gone long ago.
But of course when the Democratic Party needs some shrills to attack a conservative they become useful, never mind that their racists and bigots themselves.
What’s the saying, the ends justifies the means?

It’s a sick Democratic party aided by a corrupt to the core media and you’re a part of it…

Posted by: rockmon | October 16, 2009 9:24 AM
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"But Limbaugh has long history of the same insults and race baiting, to the point of declaring he hoped the President of the United States, a black man, fails. I never understood why someone with Limbaugh's gift for communication was so nasty and, in my opinion, gave cover to bigots everywhere under the guise of conservatism. Clearly I'm not alone."

Wow, Mike. Way to COMPLETEY miss the context.

First of all, the President's race had absolutely nothing to do with Mr. Limbaugh's comment. It was never mentioned in conjunction with this statement. Your decision to add it in here is race baiting at its worst - attaching race to an issue where it was never a factor and has no place merely to stir up sentiment against your target. Beyond that, the way you repeat (without quoting, I notice) his statement makes it appear he DID in fact refer to President Obama's race.

All of that aside, however, I would hope by now you had made some effort to actually understand what he really said. Whether you agree with his political viewpoint or not, the fact is that he believes that many of the President's goals are inimical to the health and well being of this nation and, where that holds true, he wants the President to FAIL TO DESTROY THE COUNTRY. This was fully explained at the time that he made the statement; beyond that, it has been explained ad nauseum repeatedly since then. For you to continue to hold that forth as some evidence of HIS race baiting is an embarrasment to journalism everywhere.

Good job proving his point: Most journalists couldn't get the facts straight if they were slapped in the face with them.

Posted by: Troywonders | October 16, 2009 1:14 AM
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Typical double standard! So when George Soros was a bidder for the Nationals, where was your article on his politics of hate and division. I'm not saying Soros is a racist - nor am I saying that Limbaugh is one - but given his prominance on the far left and his effort to buy a sports franchise YOU SHOULD HAVE WRITTEN AN ARTICLE then about the issues of having such a person owning the Nats. So hypicritcal!

Oh, and nice touch quoting Cuban (the idiot funding a "Truther" movie in support of the rediculous conspiracty theroy that the US Governemnt and Pres Bush was behind 9/11) but not providing any quotes from Limbaugh who you say you talked to. Poor journalism at best, biased contrived writing more likely.

Posted by: sagedutch | October 15, 2009 11:29 PM
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"This is similar to NFL teams not wanting Vick for the potential image issues." Someone needs to put together an animated JPG from video of Randy Moss "wiping" his arse on a goalpost after a touchdown catch a few years ago. Image issues? That would be the consummate image of today's NFL.

Posted by: stemkowskip | October 15, 2009 8:38 PM
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Your comments concerning this situation demonstrate the lack of journalistic integrity as well as lackign common sense.

Smearing a man who is a huge football fan and who could be a great Ambassador of the game, and instead place yourself with the likes of Al Sharpton (new Comissioner of the NFL?, Jesse (Hymietown) Jackson, and he new kid on the block, DeMaurice Smith.

What is more appalling is that Mr. Smith,the new NFL Players Association President has injected politics (He works at Patton Boggs -a HUGE Democratic PR firm) and racial tones (whatever happened to the post racial Obama era, anyway?)to interfere with football - a game that Mr. Limbaugh loves.

So it makes more sense to agree with race baiters and hustlers, and Democratic PR political hack then backing an American who committed no crime not to freely associate with people. Sad.

What is also sad to report Mike is that you did so little work on this article - you already had a verdict before any work was done. I hope that you will remember this when George Soros is nominated as a minority member and speak out against him -for all of his issues. Will you????

The other sad part of this is my classmate at Good Counsel Kevin Blackistone - his laziness and lack of integrity was also apparent -and has made me really rethink my support of him as well. WHen we restrict Americans from participaing in something that they love - could we at least allow the NFL owners to vote - and not cast a person before the court of liberla opinion condemns a man?

Posted by: jgdonahue | October 15, 2009 8:37 PM
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I thought I would post the whole transcript of the McNabb conversation right here for everyone to see. Hey, Wilbon - I think Rush is saying he is a good QB. I'm betting McNabb is wishing this was the harshest criticism he ever received.


RUSH: I've been listening to all of you guys, actually, and I think the sum total of what you're all saying is that Donovan McNabb is regressing, is going backwards --

TOM JACKSON: Mmm-hmm. (Nodding)

RUSH: -- and my... 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. I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well.

TOM JACKSON: Mmm-hmm. (Nodding)


RUSH: I think there is a lot of hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't really deserve. The defense carried this team, I think.

TOM JACKSON: But Rush -- But Rush somebody went to those championship games.

RUSH: Oh, they "went."

TOM JACKSON: Somebody made those plays that I saw running down the field, doing it with his legs, doing it with his arm. He has been a very effective quarterback for this football team over the last two or three years –

RUSH: Yeah, but you take –

TOM JACKSON: -- and they didn't have any more talent then than they do now.

RUSH: Oh yes they did: on defense. On defense, they did.


TOM JACKSON: (Nodding) Oh, on defense they did. I'm talking on the offense side of the ball.

RUSH: Well, that's what I'm saying. I think he got a lot of credit for the defensive side of the ball winning games for this team.

STEVE YOUNG: But I'll tell you what. I'll say it even more strongly, Tom. When they're winning, nobody makes more plays --


STEVE YOUNG: -- with his arm than Donnvan McNabb. That guy is one of the best in the league at making plays, BUT making plays does not win championships. Running the offense does. So at some point --

TOM JACKSON: Gotta run the offense.

STEVE YOUNG: -- I think that Koy Detmer looks like a better option because he'll go in there, drop back, and throw the ball correctly.

CHRIS BERMAN: Isn't it odd that last year with the broken leg – I know it was Arizona – but the one time he was in the pocket he looked great. Right?

STEVE YOUNG: He had to run that offense.

TOM JACKSON: So Rush, once you make that investment though – once you make that investment in him, that's a done deal.

RUSH: I'm saying it's a good investment. Don't misunderstand. I just don't think he's as good as everybody says he has been.

MICHAEL IRVIN: Rush has a point.

STEVE YOUNG: Well, he (McNabb) certainly hasn't matured.

MICHAEL IRVIN: Rush has a point.

Posted by: formerfan1000 | October 15, 2009 8:14 PM
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I thought actions speak louder than words. Guess this is not the cause. You have numerous guys in the NFL that have committed felony crimes. Remember these are actions done not words spoken. However people don’t want Rush to be a part owner of a NFL team because of what he has said. What happen to freedom of speech!!! Sure funny how racism is always depicted as a one way street. If Rush was a black man there would be such an uproar. Mr. Wilbon would be writing about how much racism is still in American.

Just because you don’t agree with what the President of the USA does and just because the President is black does not mean you are a racists. No one was calling all the black left wing advocates racists when they was blasting President Bush. You use to be able to say how stupid the President is until the President is black then if you say that then you are an racist. Does no one see how sad this truly is?

Posted by: mbsbpeek | October 15, 2009 7:57 PM
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Nice post, buddhahat. Did you type that with a straight face? Nobody believes that you're a Rush fan and an Obama voter. Not calling you a liar, just sayin' its hard to believe.

As for you, Michael Wilbon. I too, wish for the complete and utter failure of Barack Obama, only because I believe everything he stands for to be ruinous to my country. Aint got nuttin' to do with him being black.

Accusing Rush of racism because he doesn't like Obama is like accusing democrats of being unpatriotic for disliking Bush-which happened, regrettably.

Its a pity your afternoon tv gig is such a hoot-I wish I could ignore you the rest of my life for your being so silly but you and TK are much too entertaining.

Posted by: uhwutwuzthat | October 15, 2009 7:31 PM
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it really amazes me how people cloud what rush limbaugh says about blacks. t. the only thing u can always come up with is donavan mcnabb. before the mcnabb thing u were calling him a racist. what was he saying about blacks before mcnabb? what does he say now about blacks? why dont you be more specific about comments he makes that offend you so much. you purposely didnt do it in this article because you know that you would have to explain the comment and you know once you explain the comment it would put liberalism to shame. and you can pick any comment rush limbaugh has said about blacks on his radio program and it will put liberalism TO SHAME. thanks rush for being out there. you are the 400million dollar man. and believe it or not more blacks than Bo Snerdley are the reason for it.

Posted by: derrickbanes | October 15, 2009 7:26 PM
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I am a white conservative democrat who believes racism is evil, unconscionable, and dumb beyond belief. I voted for Obama and was thrilled when he won and the Howard U students on my block poured out of their dorms and celebrated. I am also a big fan of Rush Limbaugh, which I wouldn't be if I thought he had a single racist bone in his body. The fact that his sidekick, Bo Snerdly, is black doesn't seem to matter to the people who despise Rush -- because Bo isn't the right kind of black man. He's a conservative black man, and that means he's a traitor, or an Uncle Tom, etc. Sorry, Michael, and all your apologists: this isn't about race, at least not on Rush's part. It's about politics.

Posted by: buddhahat | October 15, 2009 6:21 PM
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Love Rush or hate him, here are three clear facts:
1. The manager of his radio program is black.
2. Walter Williams, who often guest hosts for Rush, is black.
3. Thomas Sowell, who often guest hosts for Rush, is black.

All three of those men are closely aligned with Rush's political viewpoints. All three are African American.

Posted by: joedoc1 | October 15, 2009 6:18 PM
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craigleigh - why do you post comments clearly taken out of context? what are you trying to prove? articles such as the one you pasted here are weak attempts at incitement. I think we've all been duped enough to realize that we should hear a comment in context before we pass judgement. well, maybe we all havene't learned.

Posted by: formerfan1000 | October 15, 2009 6:18 PM
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I think this says it all. Real conservatives don't talk like this:

On October 12, Limbaugh responded to critics by claiming that he is "colorblind," "treat[s] everybody equally" and that he "doesn't see [President Obama] as black," but rather as "president of the United States." As Media Matters' research documents, there are at least 28 examples of Limbaugh making racially charged remarks, including:

"We are being told that we have to hope [Obama] succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles ... because his father was black."
"I do believe" Obama is an "angry black guy."
"[I]n Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering."
"Obama's entire economic program is reparations."
Obama is "more African in his roots than he is American" and is "behaving like an African colonial despot."
Obama is "Halfrican-American."
"Obama has disowned his white half ... he's decided he's got to go all in on the black side."
Sotomayor "a reverse racist" appointed by Obama, "the greatest living example of a reverse racist."
Obama "wants us to have the same health care and plan that he had in Kenya" and "wants to be the black FDR."
Latching onto LA Times op-ed, Limbaugh sings "Barack, The Magic Negro."
"God does not have a birth certificate. Neither does Obama"; Obama "has yet to prove he's a citizen."
Limbaugh on Gates controversy: "Here you have a black president trying to destroy a white policeman."
Limbaugh suggests Obama would not have acted on Somali pirates if he'd known they were "actually young, black Muslim teenagers."
Limbaugh suggests Democrats, media believe "you can't criticize the little black man-child."
"The government's been taking care of [young blacks] their whole lives."
"The days of [minorities] not having any power are over, and they are angry."
"[M]inorities never do anything for which they have to apologize."
Limbaugh: "The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well."
Limbaugh says "NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips."
Limbaugh declares basketball "the favorite sport of gangs."
Limbaugh invented "racial component" to Hackett's decision to withdraw from Ohio primary race.
Limbaugh on Survivor series: "African-American tribe" worst swimmers, Hispanics "will do things other people won't do."
Limbaugh suggested Colin Powell only supported Obama because of race.
Limbaugh: Gates is an "angry racist."
Limbaugh called illegal immigrants an "invasive species."
Limbaugh repeatedly calls Native Americans "Injuns."
Limbaugh says Democrats' interest in Darfur is securing black "voting bloc."
Limbaugh says that if "feminazis" had remembered to oppose "affirmative action for black guys ... they wouldn't face the situation they face today."

Posted by: craigleigh | October 15, 2009 5:20 PM
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Rush has been doing his schtick since 1988 in Sacramento. That's 21 years, folks. That's two decades of racist, misogynist, xenophobic, ego maniacal, white-right rant to pick and choose examples from. There is NO DOUBT that Rush has laid down a pattern of confrontational racism, resisting any initiative the black community or its leaders attempt. Any casual listener to the man can easily log objectionable sound bites and uncomfortable diatribes.

The man gives a stream of consciousness incoherent rant three hours a day, five days a week. Of course we can find really foul stuff that he has said about just about anybody but fat white guys from Missouri.

Rush just had about a million chickens come home to roost at the same time.

Res ipsa loquitor.

Even a circus like the NFL didn't want him. He's really that messed up.

Posted by: roboturkey | October 15, 2009 5:08 PM
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I think if I ever was on the same side of an argument as "Rev" Al Sharpton and "Rev Jackson I might have to use common sense and maybe rethink my position.
I guess Wilbon got his job through affirmative action, it certainly was not talent. It must suck to have that in the back of your mind.

Posted by: timchadwick | October 15, 2009 5:00 PM
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Wilbon -- you are wrong (which is certainly not unusual). The market did not speak on Limbaugh, the PC, feel good, gotta please everyone we agree with, left-wingers carried that day.

I do not agree with some of what Limbaugh says, but I actually understand that he says it to get a reaction in many cases. But this hatchet job is unamerican and just plain wrong.

You also confirmed for me what I had suspected for a long time: race colors everything you do, say, and think. Check out what Tony Dungee said for a really thoughtful man's response on this issue.

Its a sad situation, and so are you.

Posted by: band304 | October 15, 2009 4:48 PM
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Wilbon's articles show that he really has no business doing anything other than writing about the Sports world. Wilbon doesn't understand politics and their daily back and forth.
When Rush Limbaugh said about Obama "I hope he fails," Rush meant he wants Obama's policies to fail. Rush has said over and over and over again on his show and many of his interviews with other people in the media that he doesn't wish ill of Obama, doesn't want him to personally fail, but does want his liberal/statist policies to not be passed and essentially "fail." It doesn't take long for anyone with a mouse and internet access to find this and confirm it to be true... just like those racial quotes that were NOT FACT CHECKED and pinned to Limbaugh. When in fact they came from a book of a political hack, and posted to Wikiquotes without any sourcing, in an attempt to personally smear. (smearing worked well this time, didn't it)

Also, Wilbon needs to really step back and acknowedge that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, (those who sounded the outrage alarm) are just political hacks who run around in their ambulances, busses, planes, to stir up controversy where none existed. They are not the race relations champions that they were made out to be 20 years ago. When is the last time they have actually done some act that is noble? When have they last promoted peace? The only events recently they are in the center of are controverseys they themselves are trying to stir up. (See Jesse Jackson's comments immediately after Chicago lost the Olympic bid) They are lying and corruptable individuals who only stir up problems, instead of solving problems. Many instances in the past prove this out, and I for one am sick in tired of seeing them put up on a pedestal as arbiters for race equality.

By Wilbon not understanding the context of what Limbaugh has said, and by using "bullhorn" Sharpton and Rev Jackson, he shows how out of touch he is with politics. Just stick to opining to games and teams... you've failed your course in politics.

Posted by: alutz08 | October 15, 2009 4:32 PM
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Bye formerfan1000, I'm positive the show will go on without you. Buh bye sjr0691, let's see if your boycott of the NFL affects anybody but your stupid (blank). You people are hysterical!!!

2 down, 1,999,998 to go...

Posted by: ItIsMe2 | October 15, 2009 4:17 PM
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Verice, sounds like you don't like facts, either. Did you know that Rae Carruth's child is still alive? Try looking it up. Next up, for this problem you have with Serena Williams, did you have the same problem with Johnny McEnroe? You should expand on that. Next, players have kids out of wedlock in all sports. You should look that up, too.

Sounds like you have a problem with the truth. certainly explains why you act like Rush Limbaugh's toilet paper...

Posted by: ItIsMe2 | October 15, 2009 4:13 PM
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Your comments are spot on, Mr. Wilbon, despite the silliness of other posts on this board.

Glad you 'failed', Limbaugh. The world would be a much better place without you...

Posted by: ItIsMe2 | October 15, 2009 4:07 PM
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It is a shame that you missed agood opportunity to discuss race since you don't listen to rush you would'nt know that he is anything but a racist but he does have a different philosophy on race than liberal orthodoxy such as yours or jesse jackson.There is a legimate argument that the liberal way in which virtually every city is run has done more to destroy the black family structure than anything else,I would refer you to the writings of thomas sowell or walter williams to open your mind a little.thanks,Joe.

Posted by: jdun3 | October 15, 2009 3:58 PM
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It is a shame that you missed agood opportunity to discuss race since you don't listen to rush you would'nt know that he is anything but a racist but he does have a different philosophy on race than liberal orthodoxy such as yours or jesse jackson.There is a legimate argument that the liberal way in which virtually every city is run has done more to destroy the black family structure than anything else,I would refer you to the writings of thomas sowell or walter williams to open your mind a little.thanks,Joe.

Posted by: jdun3 | October 15, 2009 3:54 PM
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Wilbon: "I don't listen to his show because his comments about people of color anger and offend me"

You disappoint me Mr. Wilbon. By your own admission you contend that you don't listen to his show (to actually hear what Rush says), yet in the same breath claim his comments about race offend you. Which comments specifically are you referring to? When and where did he make the comments that offend you?

Posted by: costamesamike | October 15, 2009 3:15 PM
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Not the way to go, Wilbon. I will say up front that I am so disgusted and disappointed in you. I can only hope I am able to find the words to express it. I watched you flip-flop on the Limbaugh issue on PTI and I can only assume as to why. You did a google search and called yourself a real journalist. You don't need to attend Northwestern to do a google search. Is this really your idea of an apology?

I could not care less as to whether the NFL owners or players want Rush involved or not. The bigger issue here is the smear campaign that took place in the media with the false accusations and out of context quotes. It is appalling and it should be an embarrassment to real journalist everywhere - including yourself. But, I guess you can justify this because you've listened a few times and been offended. Guess what? I've listened to you bash the LSU Tigers a few times and I've been offended. It doesn't mean I am going to smear the internet with trash about you and have someone report it as fact. (That's the real thing that should be scaring the crap out of you so called journalist. Who's next? What if it's you?) If you were to listen the show for more than a few minutes, you might catch the tone of satire and mockery. Rush mocks all races. Al Gore is getting ripped right now and it doesn't get much whiter than Al Gore. I will freely admit that the quotes taken out of context can seem inflammatory. Apologies will never get the same air time as the original smear. A bell that has been rung cannot be unrung. It's done and I can only hope that the legal implications of these actions are brought to fruition.

For me, Wilbon, this is goodbye for a while. PTI was my FAVORITE show on television. Not on ESPN - on television. I dvr'd the show everyday. Not today. I'm furious and I am disappointed and I don't care to hear anything you have to say. You have offended me not because of what you said, but because of what you did and then, what you didn't say. I trusted you and I have been betrayed. I'll miss Kornheiser. Give him my best!

Posted by: formerfan1000 | October 15, 2009 1:43 PM
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Mike I am disappointed in this diatribe. Expected better from you. Interesting that the racial divide seems to be inflamed by pundits that seemingly profit from it. You are better than this. Leave this stuff to people like Sharpton and others who have made a career out of it.

We have lost our way and now it is not business principals, the US Constituion, morality or ethics that guide us, it is the voice of the most virulent mob, those who shout the loudest or have the biggest microphone, regardless of what the majority may think or want.

I hope you realize that the very racism that you speak of it not one sided and is inflamed by articles like this one. Those who pursue this course will, one day, rue the day that they partipicated in events that lead us backwards.

Wake up Mike.

Posted by: chtraywick | October 15, 2009 1:25 PM
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Listening to Limbaugh today (because I had to hear his reaction in being dropped) confirmed my theory on this hateful narcissist. When he doesn't get his way, he's a victim. If you don't agree with him, you are not American.
Thank goodness there are those who will finally speakup when these windbags cry out about how they feel about supposed discrimination. You made your comments to enhance ratings and your pocketbook. Learn to live with that and continue to sheer the flock which cannot objectively think for themselves.

Posted by: tnman45_2000 | October 15, 2009 1:18 PM
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Wilbon, you’re 50+ years old, you should know who you are by this age and be secure with it a.k.a unoffendable. I can’t be offended; no, I REFUSE to be offended. You should not only heed this words, but know that actions speak louder than words.

Posted by: verice | October 15, 2009 1:05 PM
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Jim Isray, REALLY? Jim hasn't worked for one thing in his life. His Daddy did. Jim merely inherited the team. He was GIVEN something instead of EARNING something so no wonder he has the stance he does.

Wilbon, REALLY? You can't listen to his show because you're offended. Quit being a little b@$#*! I'm black, I'm Republican, I'm not rich by any means and yes, I'm a fan of Rush Limbaugh. Rush is no race baiter, Jesse Jackson is, Al Sharpton is. Rush is all about his ideology which built this nation into the finest the world has ever known. That is a Judeo-Christian ideology which includes the principle that if you work hard at something, you can achieve great things.

The NFL is worried about their image. Umm, Serena Williams is a part owner, even though at the U.S. Open she threatened to 'shove this f'ing ball down your f'ing throat', even though Leonard Little killed someone in a drunken driving incident, even though Dante Stallworth killed someone in a drunken driving incident, even though Plaxico Burress shot himself, even though Michael Vick killed numerous dogs and engaging them in fighting, even though there are numerous players with numerous kids out of wedlock, even though numerous players have been arrested for domestic violence, even though Rae Curruth murdered his child (while still in the womb)and the mother of said child, even though multiple players have been caught up in recreational drug abuse & distribution case as well as stolen car rings, even though .. well, darn-it, I could go on and on and on ... like the f'ing energizer bunny.

Posted by: verice | October 15, 2009 12:58 PM
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Wilbon, it took you until the third paragraph to admit you SCREWED UP. Epic fail.

Do you perform actual acts of journalism at some point, or is it all just a bunch of non-fact-based opinions? Heck, everybody and their mother has an opinion. If you are not engaging in a journalistic function, I see no reason for the Post to continue publishing you.

I'm a conservative, and proud of it. Limbaugh doesn't have a "right" to buy into an NFL franchise, but this controversy sure has smoked a lot of professional hypocrites out of their holes. Apparently, it's OK to be a convicted dog killer, wife-beater, or drunk driver and remain gainfully employed by the NFL, but conservatives need not apply.

Posted by: acoberst1 | October 15, 2009 12:51 PM
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Rush has made a very good living being a super polarizing figure and its poetic justice that this has ultimately kept him from being a "minority" owner in the NFL!

Posted by: wufskins | October 15, 2009 12:50 PM
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Wilbon is the original "any way the wind blows" gasbag. When the story first broke on PTI, he was gung ho for Rush. Once he caught wind of the Sharpton/Jackson/African American goose step reaction, he broke necks he changed his tune so quick..Must be a Chicago thing.

Posted by: SMWE357 | October 15, 2009 12:42 PM
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For those of you who think there is no evidence that Rush Limbaugh has previously made racist or race-baiting comments, take a look at this link from Media Matters, which has compiled 28 examples of Limbaugh's offensive remarks:

The page includes links to audio clips of Limbaugh saying these intolerant things on the air. They cannot all be taken out of context, can they?

Posted by: DC_associate | October 15, 2009 12:15 PM
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Limbaugh said, “How do you get promoted in a Barack Obama administration, by hating white people, or even saying you do, or that their not good, or whatever."

I read the transcript. Rush is not being sarcastic. He is race baiting. And he does this repeatedly. That is why the NFL said no to him.

There is no liberal conspiracy preventing Rush from owning an NFL franchise. It's Rush himself that's the problem.

Posted by: paul6554 | October 15, 2009 11:24 AM
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Nice article. I also like how you've rooted out all the Trotskyites....oops, I mean, Stalinists....ooops, I mean right wing nuts...ooops, well ideologues. Amazing, they even have a conservative view of football.

Posted by: atidwell | October 15, 2009 11:16 AM
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Can I just say that Wilbon's article is about Rush (Mr. I hate minorities especially blacks) Limbaugh... It is not about Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, etc. who by the way none are offering to buy into a NFL franchise. Everytime I read one of these columns people who actually believe in Mr. Limbaugh and listen to him always want to bring up Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton.
OK bottom line I'm for one am GLAD he can't be a NFL owner and whomever as they say " CAN'T FIND" any racial rhetoric from Limbaugh are just blowing smoke up their ass. You seriously need to look at yourself.

Posted by: moreamericanthanyou | October 15, 2009 11:02 AM
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Congratulations Mike, thanks for manning up. Limbaugh is a racist who moonlites as a far right wing republican propogandist. That being said I have no problem with him partially owning an nfl or any professional franchise. It would just give me one more team to root against.His prescence on the national scene is a public service. His followers remind me of the ugliness that still remains in our society. He will flip this rejection and assume the victim posture. He is really despicable.

Posted by: eagle2001 | October 15, 2009 10:51 AM
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I love the liberal mind's ability to justify anything.

It's okay to employ wife beaters and much worse, but it's not okay for Rush to be a part-owner of an NFL franchise based on his opinions?

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | October 15, 2009 10:28 AM
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That was a very lazy "apology" much less journalism by Wilbon. It is a travesty that journalists can enfore the public policy by printing lies. I am no fan of Rush and do not agree with his rhetoric. Nor am I fan of a journalist saying whatever they want without reprecussions. Wilbon has lost my respect. I hope that Rush sues the daylights out of all of these so called "journalists" and institutions that employ them. I am sure that this paper will not do anything about its authors.

Posted by: nwdodson | October 15, 2009 10:24 AM
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A very lazy column evading the central issue of whether fabricated quotes, repeated by this very reporter, and a campaign by notorious race-baiters like ESPN's Stephen A. Smith should decide who does and doesn't own an NFL team.

Posted by: mediaskeptic | October 15, 2009 9:58 AM
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for the record, the "in Obama's America white kids get beat up by blacks" was part of a much larger discussion on how in Obama's America everything that happens in racist.
it was said post the professor gates controversy and on the heals of Jimmy Carter saying all opposition to Obama is happening because all whites are racist.
Rush was stating SARCASTICALLY that the black kids must be racist because everything is racist according to Obama and his minions. Either you can read the transcript or be about as resourceful as Michael Wilbon and believe whatever Huffington Post or Wikipedia tells you. Blind Dumb Sheep.

Posted by: alex655321 | October 15, 2009 9:50 AM
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Checketts made the pragmatic decision of a man who understood having Limbaugh in his group weakened his chances of being the winning bidder. In that sense, the vaunted free market which is hailed mindlessly and blindly by Rush and his acolytes ended up doing the Maharishi in. Checketts dumped a liability. On the surface a win for the truth, justice and the American way. But not so fast, my friends.....

But, and here is where most people don't get it, by being eliminated from the Checketts group Limbaugh is going to be a big winner, both to his followers and in his pocket book. It will not be long before he claims discrimination and that the evil empire of liberalism/the mainstream drive by media is ganging up on him. Voila! He will be a victim and will claim he was sacrificed on the altar of liberalism and Obamaism because he has the guts and integrity to speak his mind. Result? A couple months of talking points and a case by Rush and his supporters he was victimized by the left.

Rush is an entertainer. He keeps his ratings up by constantly fanning the flames of divisiveness and by playing on the worst fears of the small minded who see any point of difference from their narrow view of the world as a threat. Whether he believes in his core message is irreleveant; he is smart enough and cunning enough to manipulate facts to his point of view and to twist reality to the fantasy his listeners believe as gospel.

From the get go Rush understood he would never see the inside of an NFL lockeroom as an owner. He also understood the controversy and backlash against his inclusion in a bid would produce exactly the reaction it did.

Rush may be a race baiter but he is not dumb. He has accumulated almost half a billion dollars in personal fortune by reading the minds of his audience and constantly orchestrating events to his advantage.

There were two winners in this drama: the NFL and Rush Limbaugh. Sad, but true.

Posted by: bobfbell | October 15, 2009 9:40 AM
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Wilbon and others are leaving out the fact that because of the false quotes Rush never got a fair shake. Does he really think that everyone that came out against Rush were not doing so because of the 2 false quotes. They were printed all over the place and said on PTI by Mr. Wilbon!! Why would we assume that the NFL players were reacting to their years of listening to Rush instead of blindly following whatever Wilbon, Whitlock, CNN, MSNBC etc etc told them was truth.
Poor job Mike. Just bad journalism. Be a man and have an honest discussion.

Posted by: alex655321 | October 15, 2009 9:36 AM
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Stormthilller... are you going to provide the link to Rush's transcript so that it can be put into context or are you going to give us the HuffPo version?

Posted by: alex655321 | October 15, 2009 9:32 AM
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Interesting that Wilbon admits to being a sloppy journalist by using the "slavery" quote. Maybe the Post editors should take him to task for it. Somehow I doubt they will.

Posted by: knoxfan | October 15, 2009 9:18 AM
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To the people who claim to have scoured the archives of Rush's shows to find racially intolerant comments, and say that the only one that exists is the McNabb comment, you are way off base.

Not even a month ago, Rush said on his show, that in "Obama's World" white kids get beat up by black kids on buses.

In Rush's opinion, because of Obama, there is an intense wave of black-on-white crime, effecting everyone, even our youth.

Should I go on? Before anyone claims to have done any research before posting here, please realize that I am watching you. And I will call you out.

Posted by: stormthriller | October 15, 2009 9:02 AM
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I don't see any difference between Wilbon and Limbaugh, both play the race card every chance they get

Posted by: NICKYNUNYA | October 15, 2009 8:24 AM
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Coach Thompson on his radio show yesterday made a good point. He said he could deal with the Rush's of the world because he knows where they stand. It's the current owners who seem to demonstrate their racism by not hiring minority coaches that he has a problem with.

Rush of course, should and does havethe right to try to buy a team. But like others, he will be judged on his past. And that judgement by others is valid.

Posted by: HENRYIIX | October 15, 2009 7:35 AM
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Ultimately the NFL owners are a private club (all 32 clubs are private entities). Just as Mr. Limbaugh undoubtedly defended the right of Augusta National GC to pick and choose their membership, the NFL reserves this same right.

Look at how the league's clubs share revenue and work as a group of franchise owners who have to be committed to the greater good (the NFL).

The message couldn't be clearer- the NFL wants nothing to do with Mr. Limbaugh as a business partner regardless of whether or not they share his political views. That's their right.

Posted by: jcurrin | October 15, 2009 7:19 AM
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After a little research, the only racial comment that I can find that is accurately defined as being uttered by Limbaugh is the one regarding McNabb. All other racially inflammatory quotes attributed to Limbaugh appear to be fabricated for the sole purpose of denigrating his conservative views - you simply cannot find such quotes in any reputable news organization archives or transcipts of his show. So, he's being painted as a racist because he thought the liberal media had a bias towards McNabb because of his skin color? And, today - anyone who has the audacity to disagree with the policies of Barack Obama is painted with that very same brush by the very same people. I resent the implications. Mr. Goodell, Mr. Irsay, Mr. Snyder - take your NFL and shove it!

Posted by: sjr0691 | October 15, 2009 7:03 AM
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Any person saying he loves his country then say he hope the president of that country fails, is an idiot. Is he really saying it about him because of his polical views or racist views, because the president happens to be black. I feel it's the latter. So in order to create a color blind society we shouldn't allow him to reach the American dream. Society is getting sick of the Rush's and Glenn Beck's outspoken racist views. Good move NFL. What goes around come around.

Posted by: vsharp | October 15, 2009 4:13 AM
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It's hilarious that people ask for "concrete examples" of Limbaugh's intolerance.

Does it have to be just racial intolerance?

All Limbaugh provides on the air every day is divisive talk.

He has shown no interest in working to bring people together to solve problems, which I assume would be a reasonable prerequisite for running a professional franchise, consisting of a wide variety of highly-paid, often egotistical individuals.

I actually wish Limbaugh would have been allowed to participate in ownership, so that the Rams' players would then have been in the position to boycott the team as a protest.

Subsequently, the team would essentially have had no intrinsic value, and I, and other like-minded, poor individuals, could have purchased it for a bargain-basement price.

I could have been a poor man's Al Davis!

Too bad.

Posted by: berniesilverman | October 15, 2009 3:53 AM
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Mr. Wilbon, you wrote: "I can't listen to his show because I'm too often offended by what he says about people of color." Could you offer a concrete example?
I know what he said about the media and McNabb. I thought he was incorrect at the time. The media hyped McNabb because he was exciting, similarly to how they treat Favre. That said, it seems silly to assert that Rush is a racist. He didn't, for instance, suggest renaming the team something like, oh, I don't know, the Redskins.
Here's a cute quote from Cuban: "Given the current set of circumstances, they would be crazy to approve him as an owner."
Are you implying that the Rams would be harmed by Rush's involvement? The Rams? If any team could use a little controversy it's the Rams.
If any owner thrives on being a ham, it's Cuban. Where does he get off setting the standards of discourse?
I know you detest Rush, I feel the same way about the Bears. Try to take a deep breath and analyze the moment honestly.

P.S. Please end questions with question marks.
"Is this simply everybody else's fault, a "liberal conspiracy" or a rejection that's hurtful enough that it will make Limbaugh take a tough look at himself and wonder why this exclusive club appears to not want him."

Posted by: grownup1 | October 15, 2009 1:46 AM
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i find it really disturbing that dittoheads on here don't get the basic fact that flush limbaugh doesn't have a "right" to own a football team. the nfl does have a "right" to make sure that they don't allow a loudmouthed bigoted fool buy in whose JOB it is to offend more than half of the nation. you mor.ons want to make this about being "pc" and about jesse jackson and al sharpton. NO. it's about being a hate-filled crud who makes it his business to get on the air everyday and insult our president and to belittle people of color. you don't like it? too bad. the MARKET has spoken.

Posted by: memorybabe1 | October 15, 2009 12:58 AM
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hey loubear, first the nfl can't choose who is going to do a sports show for nbc. second, olbermann is a bonafide sports commentator having worked for espn for years as its head sportscaster, third, you might consider olbermann to be divisive, but he has never insulted african americans, or said anything that can be construed as being racist or sexist or homophobic. just because you don't agree with his politics doesn't make him equivalent to the vile mr. limbaugh.

Posted by: memorybabe1 | October 15, 2009 12:51 AM
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If I can quote Rush Limbaugh " I hope he fails!" " The EGO has landed".
Poor Rush and his Dittoheads. Obama gets the Nobel Prize and Rush can't even give his money to the NFL unless he buys a ticket! Now the Dittoheadiots can blame all the liberals and ACORN for their leaders being rejected.

Posted by: exbrown | October 15, 2009 12:42 AM
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Let me make sure I understand this. Limbaugh is blown off as a minority member of a group wanting to buy an NFL team because of his "divisive" comments, but Olberman is part of the Sunday Night Football broadcast that I assume had to be approved by the NFL. I realize that Olberman's regular audience is only a small fraction of Limbaugh's, but he's hardly less divisive. And doesn't being part of the Sunday Night broadcast make him more a "face" of the NFL than a behind the scenes part-owner? Go figure.

Posted by: LouBear | October 15, 2009 12:35 AM
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Re: "Rush would be a great owner! He'd make a success of that franchise."

Based on what? Being successful in one field, and having a lot of dough doesn't mean you could be a successful NFL owner (see: Dan Snyder)

Re: "Oh, well, another victory for PC, "Rev" Al and Jesse Jackson."

Willingness to alienate potential paying customers on the radio everyday (not to mention employees) sorta proves that you wouldn't be a great NFL owner -- proves you should pay to see the team, like everyone else.

"divisive," i.e., like Sharpton & Jackson isn't the issue -- they're not trying to sell you anything

Re: "all 20 million of us" Really? 20 Million? And you all agree in lockstep with everything this college drop-out, ex-radio disc jockey says?

wow, just wow . . . stupidity abounds, I guess

Posted by: prime-marshal | October 14, 2009 11:38 PM
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Re: "Mike, how will we ever become a colorblind society if you continue to make it a focus of so many of your columns?"

Becoming a color blind society just means that people like you will continue to pretend racism doesn't exist.

Posted by: ParticipatoryDemocracyNow | October 14, 2009 11:29 PM
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Re: "Mike, how will we ever become a colorblind society if you continue to make it a focus of so many of your columns?"

Becoming a color blind society just means that people like you will continue to pretend racism doesn't exist.

Posted by: ParticipatoryDemocracyNow | October 14, 2009 11:24 PM
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Re: "Mike, how will we ever become a colorblind society if you continue to make it a focus of so many of your columns?"

Becoming a color blind society just means that people like you will continue to pretend racism doesn't exist.

Posted by: ParticipatoryDemocracyNow | October 14, 2009 10:56 PM
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I do not listen to Limbaugh but to say you do not like his views so he cannot become a owner is wrong and un American. So he mixed it up with Jesse and Al are they untouchable ? Even liberals like Olberman agree its wrong to keep Limbaugh out because you do not like his comments. This is a danger to America when certain groups can say no because you don't agree with their view. Grow up people.

Posted by: dwbruce45 | October 14, 2009 10:49 PM
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PC, "Rev" Al and Jesse Jackson would be denied as ownership as well. It's been said over and over that the NFL is all about "the shield." Anyone that gets in the way of that is not allowed in.

As far as Wilson being a liberal, Clarence Thomas he's not.

Posted by: nicefellow31 | October 14, 2009 10:22 PM
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Mike, Mike, Mike,
Is the irony lost on the king of Bombast himself calling Limbaugh bombastic while he is sold by the POST as WORLDWIDE WILBON??? I wonder how many times Mike has used the paragons of virtue of the NFL - namely the players and their agents - to support his arguments. That's a real moral high ground for you. Mike, how will we ever become a colorblind society if you continue to make it a focus of so many of your columns?

Posted by: LiberalsAreMorons | October 14, 2009 10:09 PM
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Rush would be a great owner! He'd make a success of that franchise. Oh, well, another victory for PC, "Rev" Al and Jesse Jackson. Like they're not divisive! It's clear Wilbon doesn't listen to Rush (indeed, he admits it) and castigates those who do as bigots....all 20 million of us, I guess.

Posted by: Robster1 | October 14, 2009 10:06 PM
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Wilbon a liberal - Imagine that.

Posted by: hessone | October 14, 2009 9:11 PM
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This is similar to NFL teams not wanting Vick for the potential image issues. To paraphrase your comment on your blog, even a private club of men accustomed to wealth and privilege, don't want to be publicly associated with..Limbauh (or Vick). Many fans don't want to be either and the league had to be careful how they handled that situation.

Posted by: bal503 | October 14, 2009 8:34 PM
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