Limbaugh Quits ESPN Over Race Controversy

ByABC News via GMA logo
October 2, 2003, 7:14 AM

P H I L A D E L P H I A, Oct. 2 -- Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh saidtoday he resigned as an ESPN sports analyst to protectadvertisers and network employees from the uproar over criticalcomments he made about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback DonovanMcNabb.

Limbaugh stepped down from the sports network's Sunday NFLCountdown late Wednesday, three days after saying on the showthat McNabb was overrated because the media wanted to see a blackquarterback succeed.

"The great people at ESPN did not want to deal with this kindof reaction," Limbaugh told the National Association ofBroadcasters at its convention in Philadelphia today. "Thepath of least resistance became for me to resign."

Limbaugh did not directly address media reports that begansurfacing Wednesday that said the talk show host was underinvestigation in Florida for allegedly illegally obtaining andabusing prescription painkillers.

Premiere Radio Networks, which syndicates the politicallyfocused Rush Limbaugh Show, issued a statement from Limbaughearlier today saying: "I am unaware of any investigation by anyauthority involving me. No government representative has contactedme directly or indirectly. If my assistance is required, I will, ofcourse, cooperate fully."

The New York Daily News, without identifying its source, reportedtoday that Limbaugh was being investigated by the Palm BeachCounty state attorney's office. The newspaper said it hadindependently confirmed the allegations, first reported by theNational Enquirer.

CNN reported today that sources close to the investigationthat it did not identify said Limbaugh had turned up as a buyer ofpowerful painkillers but that he was not the target of theinvestigation.

Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the Palm Beach County stateattorney's office, told The Associated Press early today thathis office could neither confirm nor deny that an investigation wasunder way.