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Remember ESPN's disastrous hiring of Rush Limbaugh as football analyst in 2003? It didn't take long for Rush to, well, be himself. Only a few weeks into the 2003 season, Limbaugh was critical of then-Eagles quarterback Donovan McNab.

Limbaugh was trying to make a point that McNab is overrated. Of course, Limbaugh can't resist the urge to inject race into the discussion, even when it isn't about race.

Follow me below the fold for details.

Limbaugh made his comments prior to Philadelphia's 23-13 win against the Buffalo Bills:

"Sorry to say this, I don't think he's been that good from the get-go," Limbaugh said. "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."

ESPN offered a tepid response in 2003, much like yesterday's flaccid statement about Hank Williams Jr:

"Although Mr. Limbaugh today stated that his comments had 'no racist intent whatsoever,' we have communicated to Mr. Limbaugh that his comments were insensitive and inappropriate. Throughout his career, he has been consistent in his criticism of the media's coverage of a myriad of issues," the statement read.

Earlier, ESPN executive vice president Mark Shapiro came to the conservative Limbaugh's defense.

"This is not a politically motivated comment. This is a sports and media argument," Shapiro was quoted as saying in a USA Today column published Wednesday. "Rush was arguing McNabb is essentially overrated and that his success is more in part [due] to the team assembled around him."

Shapiro defended the hiring of Limbaugh at the time by offering this:

"We brought Rush in for no-holds-barred opinion. Early on, he has delivered," Shapiro told USA Today.

Apparently Limbaugh practiced this "no-holds-barred opinion by refusing to grant interviews after his comments.


Some people may correct me and say that Limbaugh "resigned," but if you look at his comments just one day later, that appears to be spin:

The next day, Limbaugh told the National Association of Broadcasters at a convention in Philadelphia, "The great people at ESPN did not want to deal with this kind of reaction."

Moreover, this is the exact time that we learned that Limbaugh is pathetic junkie:

At the convention Limbaugh did not directly address questions about his name being linked by law enforcement sources to an investigation into a black market drug ring in Palm Beach County, Florida.

The sources said Thursday that authorities are looking into the illegal sales of prescription drugs OxyContin and hydrocodone.

Law enforcement sources said Limbaugh, who has a home in Palm Beach, is not the focus of the investigation. His name came up as a possible buyer, the sources said, during a two-year probe of a suspected multimillion-dollar black market operation.

The most likely scenario is that ESPN fired Limbaugh for the drug investigation, likely because it violated a moral turpitude clause in his contract. Essentially, Oxy-Rush saved ESPN the embarrassment of retaining him and his drug trafficking made it an easy decision to fire him.

We do not know what ESPN will do regarding the future of Hank Williams Jr. but a one game "suspension" seems pathetic. This washed up rummy clown is like George W. Bush in that he's only a "celebrity" because of his father. Let's keep the pressure on ESPN and make sure he's a washed up, alcoholic loser that got fired for being a racist douche.

Update: per Media Matters, I have included Hank William's Jr's statement that he made to that well-known press agency, Snip.:

Hank Williams Jr. has just released a statement regarding his controversial statements on Fox News Channel this morning -- claiming he was simply "misunderstood" when he compared Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler . Williams Jr. says, "Some of us have strong opinions and are often misunderstood. My analogy was extreme - but it was to make a point. I was simply trying to explain how stupid it seemed to me - how ludicrous that pairing was." He continues, "They're polar opposites and it made no sense. They don't see eye-to-eye and never will. I have always respected the office of the President." Williams Jr. adds, "Every time the media brings up the tea party it's painted as racist and extremists - but there's never a backlash - no outrage to those comparisons... Working class people are hurting - and it doesn't seem like anybody cares. When both sides are high-fiving it on the ninth hole when everybody else is without a job - it makes a whole lot of us angry. Something has to change. The policies have to change."

His statement is full of fecal matter. Even the hacks on Fox and Friends, gave him a chance to walk back his statement and he declined. In fact he doubled down if you watch the video. What was both pathetic and funny, is that Lush Jr. was asked by F&F about "which Republican Presidential candidate he liked." They did not ask him about the President, the Speaker, the VP, or Gov. Kasich.

This is such a Mel Gibson-ish "apology. Williams Jr. is only apologizing because his stupid comments will hurt him financially and that is the source of his "remorse." In fact his apology is so lame, it reminds me of the Family Guy version of Mel Gibson's apology.

Moreover, every thing that Wiliams Jr. said reenforces  and does not debunk what many people already think about the Tea Party. No matter how often or how loud they insist that they're not racists, they prove how racist they are. Taken Herman Cain's remarks — as tepid as they were — about Rick Perry's N-head problem and the predictable RW outrage directed at...Herman Cain.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A little confused (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy

    I thought he was contrasting the difference b/w Obama and Boehner? He did make clear that Obama was Hitler, but that's common anyway, Bush = Hitler was visible everywhere during his years in office. What makes Williams statements racist?

    •  And.. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dougymi, GoGoGoEverton, RickD

      If a commentator on MNF said that Bush was Hitler back in those days, he would have been booted quicker than you can flutter your eyelids.

      Proud supporter of nuclear power!

      by zegota on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 07:37:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Go back to Red State you troll! (0+ / 0-)

      Let's see, zero diaries according to your profile. And you want me to explain why drinky-McDrunk Guy made a racist comment?

      •  Well, its clear (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        you have a major problem with alcoholics. Quite compassionate you are. And good to know you don't really know what's so racist in this situation.

        •  Are you concern trolling in defense of alcoholics? (0+ / 0-)

          I have a problem w/ washed up minor celebrities pretending that they know something about politics, regardless of whether we are talking about Ted Nugent, Victoria Jackson, or Hank Williams Jr. I do have a problem w/ people who are so wasted that they make an ass out of themselves on national television and have the audacity to freak out because they get called on their racism. That's what I have a problem with it. In my experience, people who begin a sentence w/ "I'm not racist.." usually are the biggest racists.

          •  Agree with all of that (0+ / 0-)

            But that's not what your diary was about. Its one thing to say what does anyone care about Williams' ideas about Obama and Boehner golfing (I'm sure no one cares). Quite another to say it was a racist statement. Are you saying its not really racist, its just nonsense?

            •  You mentioned racism; not me (0+ / 0-)

              It seems that you are obsessed about race. But now that you mentioned it, HWJRs comments are racist because he compared a Black man, the President, to  one of the most notorious mass murderer in history. The comparison itself is racist because it implies that policies of President Obama are akin to genocide. The false analogy is what's racist. HWJR views President Obama as "the other" when he called him "the enemy." So I hope that sinks into your tiny brain.

              •  Wait a minute (0+ / 0-)

                Let me know if you're serious. You write about Rush's racism, then compare it to HWJr. Now you're saying I introduced race into the discussion? There are other commenters asking the same quetsions, b/c its quite obvious you were making it out to be racist comments.

                Anyway, if you're definition of racism is comparing someone from a different race to someone of another race, then sure, its racist. Its also a somewhat useless definition.

                Implications of a genocidal policy is not racist either, its either accurate or not.

                Is there a problem with viewing people as "the other"? Its quite common. I'm sure you would agree the Republicans are "the enemy", no?

                •  "ESPN fired Limbaugh for less offensive comments" (0+ / 0-)

                  That's the headline and that's what the diary is about. I'm talking about what at ESPN is deemed a fireable offense. And since you mentioned it — again — Rush was fired for making a controversial but less offensive comment.

                  Anyway, if you're definition of racism is comparing someone from a different race to someone of another race, then sure, its racist. Its also a somewhat useless definition.

                  Again, you must be confusing me w/ some imaginary person you are arguing with. That seems to be your (not you're BTW) definition.

                  And you injected race into the discussion and try to weasel out of it. How about a big dish of STFU?

                  Aren't Williams Jr. and Limbaugh both White? Epic fail on your lame analogy.

                  And no, I don't think Republicans are the enemy, but the opposition. Maybe that's a little too nuanced for you, but that's your problem.

      •  Racism is the single most egregious behavior. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirk McQuigley, CybrWeez

        Accusations of racism must not be speciously slung without the capacity to explain how its racist. It's a simple answer, so try to wrap your mind around a reply that has some substance.

        Some...spoke with strong and powerful voices, which proclaimed in accents trumpet-tongued,"I am beautiful, and I rule". Others murmured in tones scarcely audible, but exquisetly soft and sweet, "I am little, and I am beloved"." Armandine A.L. Dupin

        by Kvetchnrelease on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 08:23:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, the Obama=Hitler thing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      would seem to be anti-racist, no?

      Anyways, the Bush=Hitler thing seemed to be A-OK, so it's a bit difficult to get too worked up about it when the foot is on the other shoe.

      Bottom line: Hitler/Nazis have turned into all round cartoon villains (ala, Seinfeld's soup nazi) - I say, let them have their fun!

      •  Nice point (0+ / 0-)

        Too many people get sidetracked on useless things. Why is this even news? Its basically a repeat of common attack during Bush years. If anything, we should be crying for new material. But this is common today, same tactics, just switching sides. Time to break the cycle.

        •  Bush as a Nazi meme was based on policy (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Merry Light

          I don't like to use the Nazi analogy. I prefer generic Totalitarian Jackbooted Thuggery like East Germany. But the Nazi meme works precisely because of what the Bush Administration did:

          Things like unlimited detention of American citizens. The rounding up of Muslim Americans. The wiretapping and infiltrating peace groups. The Patriot Act. The total marginalization of people who dared criticize the wars. Remember you're either w/ us or against us." Banning people from Bush-Cheney 2004 political events. Arresting people for wearing a "No Blood for Oil" t- shirt. And let's not forget the merging of the corporation and the state (see Halliburton/KBR and Blackwater)

          OTOH the RW constantly uses the Obama is a Nazi meme w/ no basis. Everything they say is false. No FEMA camps. No taking of our guns. No redistribution of wealth (BTW that's communism, not fascism). No using the Census to round people up. And his healthcare plan was a Republican idea, originally conceived in the Nixon era and it was enthusiastically supported by many prominent Republicans...until Obama was elected President.

          This is typical Republican projection and misdirection. They are projecting their racism and xenophobia on us and the misdirection is accusing Democrats of what seemingly is the only tactic in the GOP playbook.

          •  That's pretty weak. (0+ / 0-)

            I have no doubt that the right-wingers would have the exact same excuse for their double-standard -- that it's okay when they say it, because it's true when they say it.  And you know they believe it is, just as strongly as you believe you're right when you compare Bush to Hitler.
            Nazi comparisons are offensive, no doubt, but there's no inherent racism in them, regardless of who the target is.

      •  a myth (0+ / 0-)

        No major public figure went on TV and equated Bush with Hitler.  

        The Dixie Chicks said they were embarrassed that Bush was from Texas.  For this offense, the national Republican noise machine scourged them for years.

  •  you forget Howard Coselle's fall from grace (0+ / 0-)

    which has to outrate Limbaugh by several magnitudes

    •  Cosell DID call his grand kids "little monkeys" (0+ / 0-)

      At first glance, you would appear correct that Cosell was using racist language to describe Redskin Alvin Garrett. However, Cosell regularly called his grandchildren "little monkeys." Moreover, Cosell spent his life denouncing racism and he personally defended Mohammed Ali when he was arrested for draft evasion. So I think, he deserves a pass. OTOH, both Limbaugh and HWJR have a history of racist statements.

    •  it outrated it as a mistake ... but Cosell's track (0+ / 0-)

      record in the arena was far, far, FAR stronger than Rush's as far as advancing the cause of racism and whatnot.  We live in that sort of world, so yeah Howard "deserved" what he got - even if it is a relatively unthinking media and society.

  •  I think the "suspension" was a first step... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dougymi, Dancun74, Linda in Ohio, Loge

    ...given that the comments were made on Monday morning and his intro was going to be on the show Monday night.

    Since from what I understand he's not technically an employee of ESPN, he's probably got a contract—meaning it would take a few days for the lawyers to figure out how to get out of that, or to give Williams the chance to bow out gracefully rather than fight it.

    I haven't read anywhere that not airing his intro was the only disciplinary action ESPN is going to take... it seems to me that it was the quick reaction they could legally do, while they figured out how to work out the rest. I'll be shocked if the network doesn't let him go.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 07:42:12 AM PDT

    •  ESPN waiting to see which way the wind will blow (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      He probably isn't an employee per se, but his song is really the only reason I have ever heard of this has been. Losing royalties would surely accelerate his decline towards poverty when he will be the first one looking for a handout.

      •  and he'll get one. (0+ / 0-)

        Wingnut welfare is in his future if he loses royalties from MNF.    I wouldn't worry about his income.   His poverty problems will come from the amount he spends and what he spends it on.

        A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

        by dougymi on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 08:17:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm sure they can very easily not air it, (0+ / 0-)

      whether they have to keep paying him is another matter.

      It's amazing how he could be that incoherent, whipping out the phrase 'the country the shape is in,' and yet also know who Netanyahu was.  

      This all the more amazing because Limbaugh said his comments on ESPN's own show -- this was on Fox, and yet the Fox crew were like, dude you're nuts.  (He also was hitting on Gretchen Carlson, and she was not having any of it.)  That was 5 of the most uncomfortable minutes of TV I've ever seen.  

      His father and his son are both very good.

      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

      by Loge on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 12:26:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hank Williams Jr? Monday Night Football? (0+ / 0-)

    -- a bigot whose biggest claim to fame is that he continues to ride his long dead daddy's name's coattails ... I really don't care what he says

    as for Monday Night Football? -- an organization that exists on the backs of billions of dollars of local economy subsidies that bleed local needs for the benefit of a relatively few?  Somehow we should be expecting them to be progressive heroes? -- i don't see that happening ...

    "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

    by josephk on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 08:04:02 AM PDT

    •  MNF lost its cultural relevancy years ago (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dougymi, mint julep

      I prefer the original intro to some cheesy Billy Ray Cyrus imitator w/ a famous name. What HWJR does is not country music; it's crap. Screw him and the Jack Daniels bottle he rode in.

      •  You were doing well until this ignorance: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MNF lost its cultural relevancy years ago

        Oh really? Bring me better ratings and ad dollars in the US except for major events like the Superbowl, game 7 of the WS (which typically isn't as strong), the World Cup, etc. Bring me some, I await your answer.

        Justified anger does not grant you unrestricted license.

        by GoGoGoEverton on Tue Oct 04, 2011 at 08:27:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then why is MNF on cable instead of network TV? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If you were old enough, you would remember that MNF was an event. I'm talking about during the 70's. Ratings declined in the 80s and 90s. MNF even tried the gimmick of hiring the very unfunny Dennis Miller as a commentator to boost ratings. You are conflating NFL TV ratings w/ MNF. If MNF was such a big deal how come it's on cable. The big deal now is NBC's Sunday Night Football.

          Does MNF have relatively high ratings for Mondays? That's because nothing's on but rating overall have dropped. The ratings for MNF are about the same as WWE's Raw. Seriously. The ratings for MNF since it went to ESPN are about half of the historic ratings when the program was on ABC.

          Nice try.

  •  I can only hope that MNF (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirk McQuigley

    will get rid of that pathetically crappy red-neck intro song forever.

    In the early to mid 80's before they comissioned a racist to provide their shitty theme song, MNF used to celebrate the city that they were in by featuring musicians, actors, and culture associated with that city. Why not go back to that? When the game is in Tennessee they can feature real country music, and when they are somewhere else they can feature rock, jazz, etc. It made the program special and generated real civic pride.

  •  I'm explaining the First Amendment (0+ / 0-)

    on FB again ... yes, of course he can speak his mind and no, the government shouldn't be able to shut him up (I'm looking at you, NYC PD) but no, he's not immune to any consequences that may occur in the private arena, such as losing royalties from a TV network ...

    And they're still yammering about how their free speech is being taken away.

    I seriously need to unfriend a lot of people this week. Teh stupid is wearing me out.

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