The opposition to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh's potential bid to buy the NFL's St. Louis Rams is growing. Both the head of the NFL's player union and Rev. Al Sharpton have reportedly contacted the league's commissioner, outlining their case against Limbaugh buying the team.
According to ESPN, NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith sent an email to the union's executive committee, which said in part:
"I've spoken to the Commissioner [Roger Goodell] and I understand that this ownership consideration is in the early stages. But sport in America is at its best when it unifies, gives all of us reason to cheer, and when it transcends. Our sport does exactly that when it overcomes division and rejects discrimination and hatred."
As far as Sharpton, the New York Daily News reports Sharpton wrote a letter to Goodell, saying he is "disturbed" by the prospect of Limbaugh owning an NFL team. Sharpton says he wants to meet with Goodell personally "to discuss the myriad of reasons" why Limbaugh should not be allowed to buy the team.
The objections are based mostly on Limbaugh's comments about race, especially what he said about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who is black, when Limbaugh was an analyst for ESPN in 2003:
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"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. 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 backlash from that comment forced Limbaugh to resign from ESPN. And he continues to feel the backlash six years later. Several players have already come forward to say they would not play for the Rams if Limbaugh owned the team.
In his email, Smith encourages more players to speak their mind:
"I have asked our players to embrace their roles not only in the game of football but also as players and partners in the business of the NFL. They risk everything to play this game, they understand that risk and they live with that risk and its consequences for the rest of their life. We also know that there is an ugly part of history and we will not risk going backwards, giving up, giving in or lying down to it.
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"Our men are strong and proud sons, fathers, spouses and I am proud when they stand up, understand this is their profession and speak with candor and blunt honesty about how they feel."
Limbaugh, a Missouri native, has teamed up with St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts to make a potential bid for the NFL franchise. They are one of six groups considering bids. League sources say the sale price is $700-$750 million.