IN FOOTBALL, it's called a broken play. Talk-show host Rush Limbaugh had wanted to be one of the prospective owners of the St. Louis Rams. But not long after this became clear, a defensive blitz began from several angles.
The head of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith, expressed his concern. National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell said the commentator's history of "divisive" comments would not be tolerated from any NFL insider. And Colts owner Jim Irsay said he would vote against him. Between them, they did fair-minded sports lovers a great service.
The plan was for Mr. Limbaugh to be a limited partner in a bid for the Rams led by St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts. But Mr. Checketts issued a statement that the commentator's participation had complicated the effort, so the group will move forward without him. Hurrah!
On his radio show earlier the same day, the Rush-man was the typical loser, making excuses after the game. "This is not about the NFL, it's not about the St. Louis Rams, it's not about me," he said. "This is about the ongoing effort by the left in this country, wherever you find them, in the media, the Democrat Party, or wherever, to destroy conservatism, to prevent the mainstreaming of anyone who is prominent as a conservative."
In fact, this is about Rush Limbaugh. The NFL is not some liberal-leftist organization; it is a highly profitable league of millionaires that jealously guards its image and understands that the majority of its players are African-American.
The owners and players know that Rush Limbaugh was forced to resign from ESPN's Sunday night football broadcast in 2003 after comments about Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb and black quarterbacks. They know that the Limbaugh shtick has room for material with racist overtones. Just last month, he said: "In Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering."
They know - as Rush Limbaugh and his fans don't with their delusions of his being a great conservative leader - that he is not a respectable figure and no respectable organization would want him.