The heirs of the late Georgia Rosenbloom Frontiere are ready to sell the St. Louis Rams, and a group led by Dave Checketts -- owner of the St. Louis Blues professional hockey team -- is eager to buy it. But the group's offer drew flak from players, the head of the players' union and even the commissioner of the National Football League. The problem wasn't Checketts, it was one of his partners: former ESPN football commentator (and conservative talk radio's firebrand in chief) Rush Limbaugh. So, in the hope of saving his bid, Checketts dropped Limbaugh from the team Wednesday and scrambled to find a backup.
Limbaugh blamed his troubles on an "ongoing effort by the left in this country ... to destroy conservatism, to prevent the mainstreaming of anyone who is prominent as a conservative." But if politics were the issue, the league might well have embraced Limbaugh. Owners, executives and players give far more to GOP candidates than to Democrats. Instead, the league's problem with El Rushbo appears to have been the incendiary, polarizing way in which he advances his views. The league's practice of sharing a crucial source of revenue -- broadcasting contracts -- makes owners unusually sensitive to controversial figures who might scare off fans or sponsors. Unless, of course, they can score touchdowns.