By Gregory Moore
“Sticks and stones may break my bones; but words will never hurt me.”
That used to be true but evidently if you’re Rush Limbaugh, words do hurt your chances at being an owner in a pro sports league.
As we have all debated, followed, tweeted and commiserated about for the past week or so, Limbaugh’s chances of becoming a minority owner in a pro sports team went up faster than $10 pair of dress slacks from the dollar store.
Wait a minute that’s not entirely correct; the ten-dollar pair of slacks would probably last you at least till the end of the month and that’s if you didn’t wear them every day.
In Limbaugh’s case however, the very thing that he does each and every day came back and bit him so hard on the ass that the teeth marks will be present for years to come.
You simply cannot throw sticks and stones and not expect some of them to come back and hit you square in the face.
In a world where talking about political events sometimes do not have a bone of truth in them, Limbaugh found out that in the sports world that same policy holds true in the sports media realm as well.
And so when several columnists including Bryan Burwell, Drew Sharp, Jason Whitlock and others quoted a passage out of Jack Huberman’s book, 101 People Who Are Really Screwing America, Limbaugh and his followers became irate. Many wanted these columnists to source the quote. Quite a few of them have written nasty letters of their own to these individuals and others calling them everything under the sun (and book for that matter). And Limbaugh is threatening a lawsuit against them and others who used the quote.
And just was the quote that Limbaugh said was fictitious and has him fuming?
Well for probably the last time I’ll even bring it up, the quote is as follows: “We didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.”
Now I’m not one to say that he shouldn’t sue.
If he thinks his character has been defamed and that he is going to lose money over this quote, then hey go for it.
However Limbaugh needs to breathe in and out slowly and all of his followers need to realize one thing: your actions made this climate intolerable by your own fictitious words and actions; not these writers.
Let me go on the record and say that if Limbaugh really wants to sue, then sue Haberman and his publisher.
But going after columnists who are simply doing what he does every day isn’t going to put him in the good graces of Dave Checketts or anyone at the NFL offices.
He was damaged goods from the beginning and he should have realized that himself.
His own words, outside of the slavery quote, have been used against him and he cannot even say those weren’t him.
They are archived on his website (or at least they were) and a lawsuit opens him, and many of his colleagues, into a world contiguous world where the game of gotcha is played at a high level.
So what the man who signed a $400 million radio deal needs to do is sit back, continue doing what he is doing, and maybe give his listeners a side of humility that is rarely seen from him.
Limbaugh is a pundit who makes a living trashing people and/or their ideals.
He’s done so for twenty plus years.
He can’t scream he was unfairly attacked by the media and its minions because he was dropped by a group of people trying to make a business deal.
That’s business and he should understand that.
To scream defamation and threaten to sue columnists who voiced an opinion about him, his views on a delicate subject and why he is bad for a sport that they all cover is not only ludicrous, it’s plain ridiculous.
Winning a lawsuit is not always the best way to ensure fairness; sometimes it forces the plaintiff to play by the same rules too.
Does Rush really want to be held to the same standard he is asking these columnists to be held to?
I hope not.
If he is, then he might want to get ready to fact check a lot of his callers, guests and even his own statements because he and others like him will go from pundit to radio commentator and he will not like it one bit.