Thanks to a rebuke of Rush Limbaugh by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Colts Owner Jim Irsay this week, the talk radio host was dropped from a group bidding to buy the Rams today. Cited as basis for the rebuke was Limbaugh’s past “divisive” comments. Though the subject of those “divisive” comments went unclarified by Goodell. Though Limbaugh as a racist was the operative translation.
(Rush vanquished by NFL Owners as Jay-Z welcomed by NBA Owners)
Now that Limbaugh’s personal bid has been reduced to tatters, onto other matters of import. From Jason Whitlock of FoxSports.com this week:
I’d say we’re less than 24 hours from Limbaugh playing the Jay-Z card. Brother Jay owns a piece of the New Jersey Nets and has a library of rap tunes spewing the same kind of black-degrading lyrics, phrases and stereotypes that have made Limbaugh rich enough to buy a chunk of the St. Louis Rams.
So how is it that two men responsible for such prolific dissemination of detestables have been unanimously affirmed as owners of major league pro sports teams, but Limbaugh was cast out from his mere attempt to join an NFL ownership group?
Limbaugh’s daily, on-air presentation purports the pretext of news and informational authority, the content of his dialogue to be discerned not necessarily literally, but certainly critically. Ironic considering Limbaugh considers himself a supreme entertainer, though that “entertainment” fosters an environment demanding listeners consider his words as they would a Supreme Court Justice.
For that reason, and Limbaugh’s Donovan McNabb remark while under ESPN employ, NFL Owners are holding the talk host accountable for his pronouncements as they apply to the mores of League public policy. (However vague and self-serving.)
Meanwhile, our undying devotion to the cult of entertainment provides cover for the performances of Jay-Z and Nelly. When presented in covenient context and appropriate venue, societal rules don’t apply to self-style “artists” - otherwise known as rappers. Master brand manager Jay-Z takes that paradox a step further during a recent appearance on Oprah:
People give words power. For our generation, what we did is that we took the word, and we took the power out of that word. We took a word that was very ugly and hurtful into a term of endearment,” Jay-Z said. “We pretty much took the power out of the word. If we just start removing words from the dictionary, they’ll just make up words the next day. So we don’t address the problem. The problem is racism, that’s really the problem.”
Brilliant framing of a lame argument. But if Oprah buys it, that’s all that matters.
Ditto NBA Owners.
The other shoe cementing Limbaugh’s demise was the NFL’s perception of the demographic he regularly offends. Goodell noting the talk host’s “divisive” statements was akin to calling Limbaugh a racist.
From that, I think the league thought if it blessed Limbaugh’s bid, and he was voted in as Owner, there’d be potentially ugly, mass protests at Rams road games.
No such concern though with Jay-Z and Nelly in the NBA though, where they’re more likely to be embraced by the vast majority of NBA game attendees than anything - regardless of their stage-borne sins.
The NFL has evolved into North America’s most insufferable, over-examined media stage besides the White House. The NBA maintains only a fraction of that audience. If a rapper like Jay-Z wanted to buy into the New York Jets, he’d face significantly more scrutiny in doing so than the NBA Ownership approval process.
With the precedent set by Goodell this week, I actually think there’s a good chance Jay-Z would be turned away in a bid to buy into an NFL ownership opportunity.
Less ironic than we all might surmise, as it’d just be one more thing rappers and Rush have in common.