10.05.2003

BAD WEEK FOR THE MAHA


What must come as a shock to many liberals,Rush Limbaugh isn’t universally revered, even among Republicans. Sure, most at least acknowledge his impact at making conservative beliefs mainstream, but some just see him as being to egocentric and sometimes just plain dumb to really care to listen to. That said, everyone must admit it’s been a bad week for the Maha Rushie.

First, he resigned his post as commentator on ESPN’s SUNDAY NIGHT COUNTDOWN. Then, timed oddly coincidently, citing the always-reputable National Enquirer, Rush was targeted at the center of an illegal prescription pain killer drug investigation.

While it’s obviously too early for anyone to speak with any authority about the drug investigation, as an ex-jock of sorts, let me offer my two cents on the ESPN situation.

First, Rush’s actual comments:

"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." He continued, "There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."

The criticism, as expressed in Rush’s very first sentence is aimed at “social concern in the NFL,” not at blacks or black quarterbacks, or at quarterbacks who wear black eye paint. And in that point, while I AGREE with Rush’s thesis wholeheartedly, where he got himself into trouble was with the target he chose to aim his errant pass at.

Donovan McNabb is legitimately one of the superstars in the NFL. Does he make the occasional bad pass? Of course, every QB does. But, a)he has an amazing arm that’s improved every season, b)his legs strike fear into the hearts of every defensive coordinator in the NFL, c)between his running and passing, McNabb has been in some way responsible for 70% of Philadelphia’s total offense in year’s of late, and d)MOST IMPORTANTLY, McNabb has led the Eagles to TWO NFC Championship games. McNabb is the real deal, but that doesn’t mean Rush was wrong.

What Rush SHOULD have said, as evidence of “social concern in the NFL” is the media’s ogling of Michael Vick. Sure, he’s a good, and eventually will be a great player. But to be on the cover of John Madden Football, be picked by many to lead the just-average Falcons into the Super Bowl, and grace the cover of countless pre-season NFL magazines is a bit extreme.

Rush was right that the media is desirous of successful black quarterbacks, elevating them to undeserved levels. Donovan McNabb just wasn’t the right one to pick on.

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