Thursday, October 15, 2009

In his heart, Rush Limbaugh knows he is a loser

I won't pretend to have closely followed all of the assorted responses to Rush Limbaugh's attempt to get an ownership stake in the St. Louis Rams. It's a story that interests me, but so many of the responses that I have read strike me as off-point or in an alternate universe that I've stopped reading them. As frequently happens to my tangent loving mind, I've got a few different approaches to this story that I'd like to write about. Roughly divided into the following three subjects: (1) Breaking the Michael Jordan Rule; (2) Jason Whitlock has written something stupid; and (3) Hell has frozen over because I am about to defend Rush Limbaugh.

1. Breaking the Michael Jordan Rule: Republicans buy sneakers too

For all the passion and posturing on this subject, I'm surprised this, to me, terribly obvious point hasn't been made more often (maybe I've missed it?). The NFL seeks to protect its brand. Rush Limbaugh is a politically controversial figure who likes to shoot off his mouth. Rush Limbaugh threatens the politically neutral NFL brand. Duh. A lot of the precise criticism of Limbaugh has focused on the racial implications of his previous statements. That Limbaugh is a guy trafficking in racial resentment is not something I consider in need of serious debate. But I don't buy for a second that the opposition he faced from NFL owners was motivated by a sense of racial justice or concern for how black players or black fans would respond to Limbaugh's involvement. It's strictly business. The US isn't running so short on rich white guys looking to invest in the NFL that the owners need to create a fresh controversy by welcoming Limbaugh into their ranks.

Speaking of those ranks, am I the only one who laughed at the suggestion that there is integrity to be impugned in a group that includes Al Davis and Jerry Jones?

Back to the brand. While Roger Goodell has been busy weighing the pros and cons of a Limbaugh ownership stake, The New Yorker posted a Malcolm Gladwell article online that reports on the unusual and severe brain injuries that are being routinely detected in former NFL players. This comes a few weeks after this:

A study commissioned by the National Football League reports that Alzheimer’s disease or similar memory-related diseases appear to have been diagnosed in the league’s former players vastly more often than in the national population — including a rate of 19 times the normal rate for men ages 30 through 49.

Dissatisfied with the results of commissioned study, the NFL has undertaken its own study:

Dr. Ira Casson, a co-chairman of the concussions committee who has been the league’s primary voice denying any evidence connecting N.F.L. football and dementia, said: “What I take from this report is there’s a need for further studies to see whether or not this finding is going to pan out, if it’s really there or not. I can see that the respondents believe they have been diagnosed. But the next step is to determine whether that is so.”

The N.F.L. is conducting its own rigorous study of 120 retired players, with results expected within a few years. All neurological examinations are being conducted by Dr. Casson.

No word on if Vegas is taking bets on the outcome of Dr. Casson's study. At this point, the real question is if the NFL can beat the tobacco industry's record for shameless denial of ugly truths in defense of the product.

Yeah... those guys. For whatever reason, the recent news regarding the University of Michigan study was stuck in my craw every time I read about this Limbaugh situation, framing it in terms of "whatever, these guys can talk about image as much as they want, but inside they're all ugly exploiters of dreams." As a football fan, I would obviously prefer not to have these thoughts. Another thing in the background was the experience of watching the most recent Chiefs game on FOX. In contrast to the CBS production crew, the FOX broadcast has not taken appreciation for the sound of a good hit to near fetish levels. On a CBS broadcast, they take every opportunity to replay a good concussive boom. It's becoming unseemly.

At this time, I am going to acknowledge the worldwide conspiracy to prevent me from finishing this post. But I shall not give up! Parts 2 (Shut up, Whitlock) and 3 (Is Rush not human?! Does he not bleed?!) to follow this evening.

1 comment:

  1. Please tell me you are just on a hiatus and haven't stopped blogging? You have been my favorite new read for a while...