Sources: Limbaugh dropped from group seeking to purchase Rams
If conservative radio commentator
In a statement released Wednesday evening by St. Louis Blues chairman
According to league sources, Limbaugh comes with too much troubling baggage in terms of his outspoken views that often intersect the divisive issues of politics and race in America. In a time when the NFL is hoping to have complete uniformity among its team owners in anticipation of the tough collective bargaining negotiations to come with the players union, there was little interest within the league to associate with an owner who is paid to give his highly charged opinions on the radio for hours each week.
"The league would be on pins and needles for three hours a day, five days a week,'' one league source said. "The NFL isn't interested in having its own
One league source told SI.com that Checketts group was never completely configured any way, and that Limbaugh's participation was never set in stone. In that sense, when word surfaced that he would potentially hold minority ownership in the Rams, it was viewed as a trial balloon of sorts that never advanced much past the potential stage. Checketts is said to be seeking to replace Limbaugh's financial participation with other interested parties.
There was swift reaction to the idea of Limbaugh being involved in NFL ownership, and much of it was not favorable. NFL Players Association executive director
"Divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about,'' Goodell said at a two-day NFL owners meeting in Boston. "I've said many times before, we're all held to a high standard here. I would not want to see those comments coming from people who are in a responsible position in the NFL -- absolutely not.''
Goodell's strong comments were not just a message of sensitivity to the players in regards to Limbaugh's controversial reputation. One league source said it was a message to the league's entire customer base that the NFL would not be welcoming to a multi-platformed media figure who has a history of troubling and at times racially inflaming comments.
Indianapolis Colts owner
Another league source voiced puzzlement over Checketts not discerning the potential backlash of Limbaugh's participation in his group in advance of the news becoming public. "I would have assumed he would have run it up the flagpole with the league before it became known,'' a league source said. "Then a tepid response would have told him where things stood.''
Others within the league believe that Limbaugh may have viewed his participation in Checketts group as nothing more than a dose of free publicity for the radio host, no matter the outcome or the response to his involvement. "There was no downside in any of this for him,'' a league source said. "He gets a week of free publicity, and in the end, he'll frame his rejection to his benefit.''