Friday, October 16, 2009

Slow Down Rush!

Yesterday the NFL made a very wise business decision.

It wasn't something they started, but something they stopped from happening.

The whole topic has become as widely controversial as the main character involved in the story.

Recently, the popular and divisive talk radio host Rush Limbaugh made a bid to become partial owner of the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League. As a very, very successful and subsequentially wealthy man, Rush has every right in the world to pursue membership in one of the most exclusive clubs in America; becoming an NFL owner and shareholder. If I had his money, there would be a few things I might pursue as well.

Since finding his first radio gig, Rush has created his multitudes of wealth and legions of loyal followers by doing one thing and doing it well; being extraordinarily controversial and saying whatever was on his mind at the time. I guess you could say that is one of his endearing points, is that you never have to be unsure of what side of the topic he'll be on. He's brash, insulting, divisive, loud, rough on all edges and likes to cause a stir. He also happens to be one of America's most radical politically and socially right wing activists.

Much like other media counterparts of his such as Michael Moore, Bill O'Reily, and shock-jocks Howard Stern and Imus, he lives on the edge of political correctness and often crosses way over the edge, resulting in major public uproar.

This off-the-appropriate-path approach has won these individuals fame, fortune and millions of fans. However, just as many if not millions more people have a severe dislike for men like Rush Limbaugh due to that exact style.

Here is one example where "Rush" hurt Rush in his bid for partial team ownership. He has been quoted on his blog as stating that, "...All too often the NFL looks like a game between the Crips and Bloods without weapons...". Now, the team Mr. Limbaugh was interested in becoming part-owner of was located in a metropolitan area with a major African American population. I don't see his association with that frnachise as having gone over very well at all in the eyes of St. Louis-area residents.

Now if you were in charge of protecting the image of world's biggest and most successful sports league, would you sign on the dotted line? The answer came yesterday in a resounding "NO" from NFL top-brass. It's clear to see that in this case the league has nothing to gain from Rush and everything to lose. They don't need his money, and they certainly don't need to alienate fans, employees or advertising partners. Not in these economic conditions, not ever.

Contrary to what Rush went off the hook about on his show yesterday, the decision has nothing to do with politics. The majority or NFL owners political contributions go to Republican party causes. The decision was not political, his "peers" saw a bad apple when it showed up at the doorstep and slammed the door.

Sports is a business unlike any other, but a business none-the-less. Divisiveness is very bad for business and therefore precludes men like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Moore, Bill O'Reily and Howard Stern from team ownership in any respectable league in the United States. Fame and fortune have their drawbacks, and so does upsetting the public. In the end, the football-loving masses are better off for it.

What are your reactions? Speak up!

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