I agree with this Wall Street Journal editorial on Rush Limbaugh’s recent public problems. I think the way he has handled the accusations of drug abuse is admirable. He hasn’t blamed others, called himself a victim, or anything else other than to ask for trust and time. Rush has done great things and served this country well. I’m not proclaiming him innocent—only an idiot would proclaim his guilt or innocence based on what we know so far—but what he has done already in his professional career speaks for itself.
That said, I’m not convinced by what has been said so far. I listen to Rush nearly every day and if he were high on OxyContin, he hides it extremely well. Plus the claim that he bought 100 pills per day when just one knocks you down, make me wonder at the veracity of the reports.
As for the race remarks on ESPN, while I may think he was factually wrong about Donovan McNabb and black quarterbacks, I don’t think he was wrong to bring the topic up. I think what sports writers are intent on promoting is the idea of the running quarterback—most of whom happen to be black—more than black quarterbacks themselves since they are now a fact of the NFL. I think good running quarterbacks are the exception—Kordell Stewart anyone?—not because they’re not good athletes, but because the NFL system doesn’t allow them to make a difference.
That said, I was appalled at how Rush was thrown under the bus by his former colleagues at ESPN’s NFL Sunday Countdown. My estimation of Chris Berman or Tom Jackson has fallen greatly. Tom Jackson criticized Rush as a person, said he never wanted him to be there, and never liked him. And he said that discussion of race has nothing to do with their football pre-game show. Really? Give me a break. Race has been a part of sports since before Jackie Robinson first took the field in the 1950s. And I didn’t hear howls of outrage when Rush defended black head coaches from a racist NFL rule that causes them to be falsely interviewed for head coaching jobs when they have no chance at the position, just to satisfy the PC desire to increase the number of black coaches.
The real problem wasn’t the comment, but that it was Rush saying it. In 1997 Denver Bronco tight end Shannon Sharpe said that when he sees a white cornerback on the field opposite he’s happy because white guys can’t run as fast as black guys. Tell me that if a white guy had said the reverse there wouldn’t have been outrage. What it boils down to is that racist language is acceptable from liberals, but not conservatives. Just like when people said Jayson Blair wasn’t fired earlier from the New York Times because he is black, cries of racism were heard.
Ultimately, the problem is that we have a victim culture, where everyone is ready to be offended at the merest perceived slight. And orthodox Catholics are not immune to the impulse.
Tom Jackson said he got a call from a friend who’s a current player who told him that his son asked him if Rush’s remarks meant he couldn’t be a black quarterback when he grew up. What has the guy been telling his kid? What victimology has he filled his head with? Who is doing the reall disservice to minorities in America—people like Rush or people who wallow in victimhood?