Rush Limbaugh’s bid to buy the St. Louis Rams ran into opposition within the NFL on Tuesday, when Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay vowed to vote against him, and commissioner Roger Goodell said the conservative commentator’s “divisive” comments would not be tolerated from any NFL insider.
“I, myself, couldn’t even consider voting for him,” Irsay said at an owners meetings in Boston. “When there are comments that have been made that are inappropriate, incendiary and insensitive ... our words do damage, and it’s something that we don’t need.”
Limbaugh has long been a hero of conservatives and a villain to the left, thriving on his place in the political spectrum while establishing himself as one of the most successful broadcasters in history. But the NFL tries to avoid controversy, as Limbaugh learned in 2003 when he was forced to resign from ESPN’s Sunday night football broadcast after saying of Philadelphia’s Donovan McNabb: “I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well.”
Goodell repeatedly distanced the league from Limbaugh’s statements on Tuesday, calling them “polarizing comments that we don’t think reflect accurately on the NFL or our players.”
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“I have said many times before that we are all held to a higher standard here,” the commissioner said. “I think divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about. I would not want to see those kind of comments from people who are in a responsible position within the NFL. No. Absolutely not.”
Limbaugh’s often controversial comments resurfaced this month when he revealed he is teaming with St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts to bid on the Rams.
In an e-mail to The Associated Press, Limbaugh said he was forced to respond because “the totally made-up and fabricated quotes attributed to me in recent media reports are outrageous and slanderous.”
Prospective owners must be approved by 24 of the league’s 32 teams.
Junior Seau, a 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker, is back with the New England Patriots, coming out of retirement for a third time to sign a contract for a 20th season as an NFL linebacker. … Miami Dolphins reserve running back Patrick Cobbs will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. … The Baltimore Ravens have signed receiver David Tyree, a former Super Bowl hero with the New York Giants who was cut last month. … Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith has a right shoulder injury that might keep him out for an extended period.