Wants to buy Rams
Colts’ Irsay won’t support Limbaugh’s bid
NFL ownership is a pretty exclusive club, and at least one member of that club, which is holding its fall meeting at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, doesn’t want right-wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh to join.
Limbaugh announced last Tuesday that he is part of a bid with St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts to buy the St. Louis Rams, but Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, whose club employed the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl, Tony Dungy, and currently has another African-American coach, Jim Caldwell, said he would not be in favor of approving an ownership group that included Limbaugh.
That made Irsay the first NFL owner to go on the record against Limbaugh, who has a checkered history with the league from his brief stint as an ESPN analyst in 2003. Limbaugh was forced to resign after saying that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb received favorable treatment from the media because they wanted an African-American quarterback to succeed.
“There are certain privileges for certain things in life that you might want to pursue that may not be appropriate,’’ said Irsay. “I myself couldn’t be in favor of voting for him.’’
A prospective ownership group needs the approval of two-thirds of the league’s 32 clubs. Irsay said he hadn’t talked to any other owners with similar views, but seemed to have his mind made up.
“I don’t think I would even go to the point of talking to Tony Dungy, Jim Caldwell, Dwight Freeney, to get some counsel from those men that I respect and see what their positions are,’’ said Irsay. “I’m very sensitive to know that there are scars out there. I think as a nation we have to stop it. Our words do damage, and it’s something that we don’t need. We need to get to a higher level of humanity, and we have.
“Again, I come from a different era and I look at the artists - what John Lennon, Marvin Gaye, and those guys were singing about it. We’ve been doing a slow crawl to some of the things that they talked about, but like I said we don’t need to go the other way.
“We can’t go the other way where there isn’t forgiveness, understanding, those sorts of things, but we’ve got to watch our words in this world and our thoughts because they can do damage.’’
Patriots owner Robert Kraft declined to comment when asked about Limbaugh. “I’ll let the commissioner speak on that issue,’’ said Kraft. “I’m not going to speak to that.’’
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said it was premature to speculate on anyone involved with an ownership group and that the Rams still had to go through the process of deciding whether to sell. However, he made it clear that Limbaugh’s past comments didn’t sit well with him.
“The comments that Rush made, specifically about Donovan, I disagree with very strongly,’’ said Goodell. “I don’t obviously believe that those comments are appropriate, and they’re divisive.
“We’re all held to a high standard here and I think divisive comments are not what we’re all about, so I would not want to see those comments from people who are in responsible positions in the NFL. No, absolutely, not.’’
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.