Opposition to Rush Limbaugh's Bid for Rams Grows

Sports analysts question whether players' threats to quit are just talk.

ByABC News via logo
October 12, 2009, 8:59 PM

Oct. 13, 2009— -- Rush Limbaugh's bid to become a part-owner of the NFL's St. Louis Rams has drawn opposition from some of the league's players, who have said they would not play for the conservative radio talk show host.

"He can do whatever he wants. It is a free country. But if it goes through, I can tell you where I am not going to play," New York Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said.

Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic of ESPN's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" told "Good Morning America" today that they're interested in the action that will follow all the talk from both Limbaugh and his potential players.

"The reaction is overwhelming.," Greenberg said. "It just goes to show that Rush Limbaugh is one of the most polarizing figures in American society."

Golic predicted that a lot of the same players who are speaking out against Limbaugh now, threatening to leave the team or the NFL, would be back on the field even with Limbaugh as part-owner.

"There are some superstars in this league. Most are foot soldiers," he said. "There are a lot of players in the league who probably don't even know Rush Limbaugh. Or they don't care what he does. He's the owner of their team, but they're getting their paycheck for their job."

More than six players have spoken out against Limbaugh's bid, some pointing to quotes that were interpreted as racist during his brief tenure as an analyst on ESPN.

Among those comments were remarks in September 2003 that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was not as good as he was portrayed in the media.

"I don't think he's been that good from the get-go. I think that we've had here a little social concern in the NFL. I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well," Limbaugh said on ESPN.

At the time, Limbaugh said people were making a mountain out of a mole hill, but six years later McNabb -- who is one of only six quarterbacks in NFL history to pass for at least 25,000 yards and rush for 3,000 yards -- has not forgotten.

"If he's rewarded to buy that, congratulations to him. I won't be in St. Louis no time soon," McNabb said.

But comments such as McNabb's and Kiwanuka's are also drawing fire. Sports commentater Stephen A. Smith said on CNN that those players are bluffing.

"Those black ballplayers that are saying that are lying through their stinking teeth," Smith said. "The New York Jets offer me $10 million, but Rush Limbaugh is offering me $20 million. I'm going to have a problem with that? Please, they are lying."