Chuck Simmons at You Big Mouth, You! (who’s had MO on his sidebar for a while – Thanks!) has a good post on the Rush Limbaugh incident.
Why is it racist to say that the media hypes McNabb because they want a black quarterback to succeed? Why is it not racist for these same pundits to point out that Condi Rice or Clarence Thomas got where they are today because they are black and affirmative action programs helped them? Why can the University of Michigan base some of their student selection process on race, yet stating that a black student was accepted partly due to their race becomes a racist statement?
IMHO, if anything, Limbaugh was accusing the media of being racist. And he got hammered for it. I don’t really think that’s what he was doing, either, though. Although not a big Rush fan by any stretch of the imagination, I think this has been blown all out of proportion.
If Rush had suggested that Donovan McNabb was overrated because he wasn’t very good AND that he wasn’t very good because he was black, that would have been 100% racist. But he didn’t suggest that McNabb’s race was the reason he wasn’t any good. He suggested that the media hyped him principally because of his race, and that he wasn’t living up to the hype.
Never mind that McNabb is a damn good quarterback. Being a Redskins fan, I basically HATE the guy. The reason for my hate is simple. He’s good, and he beats the ‘Skins on a regular basis, sometimes single-handedly. Nothing personal. I just hate his freakin’ GUTS! (I also hate Troy Aikman and many others for the very same reason.) When Rush suggests that Donovan McNabb isn’t all that good he’s badly mistaken. Badly. I’m not sure what someone who honestly thinks that is doing on an ESPN football show. Maybe just trying to drum up some controversy.
He did that, and then some.
(Side note: As a Redskins fan, one of my fondest memories is the Super Bowl victory over the Denver Broncos in 1988. I lived in Colorado at the time, and was even interviewed on television because a news crew spotted me in the local mall wearing my Redskins shirt and hat a few days before the game. As football fans will remember, Doug Williams, who is black, was the Redskins quarterback in that game, and he won the MVP award by passing for something like twenty touchdowns against the Broncos. There was a lot of media hype surrounding a black quarterback in professional sports’ biggest game, but I recall that the ‘Skins had a white cornerback named….named…Well, his name escapes me at the moment. Brian something, I think. But, statistically speaking, white cornerbacks were less common in the NFL that season than black quarterbacks were. I don’t recall any hype about that at all. Just a mention in the nearly three-day pre-game show.)
The problem here is that Rush said something POLITICALLY INCORRECT on national television, and that problem is exacerbated by the fact that he’s a conservative. A conservative that liberals and their allies HATE far more than I hate Donovan McNabb. And what he said was INDEFENSIBLE, given the current racial climate in America. His enemies, and they are legion, saw a chance and they jumped. He should have known better.
Should Rush have interjected race into the comments? Maybe not. Perhaps he has a point though. Does the media give a free pass to those it wants to succeed — in this case a black quarterback? Why can’t there be discussion about the content of Rush’s comments rather than the words themselves? And what did ESPN think they were going to get when they hired him? They wanted controversy and they got it. Maybe Michael Irvin should resign also, because he agreed with Rush’s comments.
Finally, it seems that speech is only free if the national media agrees with what you were saying.
Something else that’s suddenly occurred to me is that maybe Rush is just doing this to whip up some new listeners. Who knows with that guy?
UPDATE 2: The white cornerback for the Washington Redskins in 1987 was Brian Davis. He was a rookie that stuck with the team for a couple of years before going on to Seattle, San Diego, and Minnesota. As I recall, he was scrappy but pretty mediocre.