RUSH: Yesterday afternoon, about this time, I received an e-mail from a friend in Washington — that would be Warshington for those of you in Rio Linda — that Congressman Steve King of Iowa was questioning the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on the qualifications required to be an owner in the National Football League. I had no clue. I knew that Congress was doing hearings on concussions and brain injuries in National Football League players. There’s a study out there that NFL players have a greater incidence of dementia and other brain related diseases after they quit playing. So Congress is looking into it and they brought the commissioner up there and the head of the Players Association, DeMaurice Smith.
But apparently Sheila Jackson Lee is on this committee, and she opened the door for questions about qualifications of owners by making some reference to some owners not being really what the league wants — she didn’t mention my name, but that was the opening I guess for Steve King. I want to thank Congressman King — he’s from Iowa — for doing this. I’ll play it to you here in just a second. I don’t recall, I could be wrong, I don’t want to slight anybody, but I don’t recall ever being defended like this at such a high level of power. I’m not used to it, and it hit me hard in a grateful way. So I want to thank Steve King, and I want you all to know what he did. Here is how it all went down yesterday. I guess it’s about 24 hours ago. It was about this time yesterday that this was happening.
KING: I would direct it to your statement on the 13th of October where you said, ‘I think it’s divisive comments, they are not what the NFL is all about. I would not want to see those kinds of comments from people who are in responsible positions within the NFL, no, absolutely not.’ Now, I take you as a man of your word. But I would point out that you have a couple of owners that have performed lyrics in songs that are far more offensive. In fact, I don’t think anything that Rush Limbaugh said was offensive, but with Fergie and with J.Lo, they have, between the two of them, alleged that the CIA are terrorists and liars, they’ve promoted sexual abuse of women, they’ve used the N-word, verbal pornography, recreational drug use, et cetera, and they are owners of the Dolphins. And it’s also ironic that Fergie was approved as an owner on the very day that you made your statement against Rush Limbaugh. And I would point out for the committee, the statement that Rush Limbaugh made is this — that seems to be the one that survives the criticism, and that is: ‘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. They’re interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well. McNabb got a lot of credit for the performance of the team that he really didn’t deserve,’ close quote. Now, I’ve scoured this quote to try to find something that can be implied as racism on the part of Rush Limbaugh, and I can’t find it. There is an implication of racism on the part of the media. That’s the only quote that seems to survive the scrutiny of chase-checking back original sources in at least nine quotes that were alleged to Rush Limbaugh. And, by the way, of those, eight are complete fabrications. They’re not based on anything. They’re not a misquote. They’re not a distortion. They’re complete fabrication. And the one that remains stands true and shines the light against the media, not against Rush Limbaugh. And so if you’re concerned about this, Mr. Goodell, then I’d ask you, you know, are you prepared to level the same charges against Fergie and J.Lo, or are you prepared to apologize to Rush Limbaugh today?
RUSH: How about that? I mean that just doesn’t happen to me. That just doesn’t happen to me. And I had no idea this was going to happen. I’m just overwhelmed by it. Here is the commissioner, Roger Goodell’s, answer.
GOODELL: Let me try to take this in a couple of different directions. First off my comments at the annual meeting were directed about specific comments he made about Donovan McNabb, and I made the point, and I will make it again here today, that the NFL is about bringing people together, it’s about unity and that we do not — we do not move towards divisive actions. And in fact our teams, I think, have demonstrated that both on and off the field. Nothing brings a team and a community together better than the NFL.
RUSH: Now, that, folks, there’s no other way to characterize that answer other than weasel. That was an absolute weasel answer. ‘Rush, Rush, don’t you know, don’t you know that you’re destroying any chance you’ve got –‘ destroying any chance I may have of ever getting back in the league? There’s no chance! I don’t want any part of the National Football League anymore. That’s not the point here. King made it clear that that quote about McNabb was about the media. It was not about McNabb. It was the media obsessed with McNabb’s skin color, not me. And yet Goodell says, ‘Comments at the annual meeting were directed about specific comments he made about Donovan McNabb.’ I’ve explained this. The production meeting, the day before this program aired on ESPN, my role is to disagree with the main panel when they’re chatting about whatever. And if I disagree, then that’s when I jump in, that was what my job was.
So in the production meeting we planned the segments, they tell me what they’re going to be talking about, and they sort of rehearse, they start sharing ideas back and forth. I, of course, don’t say anything because my role is to surprise ’em. And there are two segments on McNabb and the Eagles that are planned for the next day’s show that Sunday. And the impetus behind both segments, was, ‘What’s wrong with McNabb?’ I remember Chris Berman saying, ‘I just got off the phone with Andy Reid, the coach, he doesn’t know,’ everybody, McNabb, slow start to the season, Eagles were not doing well, it was the topic of the league. And I’m listening to these guys, and I’m planning, okay, this is where I’m going to throw my little red flag and jump in, which I said, (paraphrasing) ‘I don’t think there’s that much wrong with him, you guys, he’s a little bit overrated, I think, by sports media, NFL.’ By the way, what’s wrong with wanting black quarterbacks to succeed? I didn’t even say that was wrong. Anyway, the conversation then continued with Steve King and the commissioner.
KING: But, Mr. Goodell, were you considering those other eight quotes that I referenced when you made your statement or were you considering the one that is true, the one that I’ve read to you and the one that doesn’t shine a negative light on Rush Limbaugh but upon the media?
GOODELL: I’m not shining any kind of a light on Rush Limbaugh here. I’m not an expert on his — all of his quotes and I would try to reinforce to you something I said at the time. He was not even under active consideration as an NFL owner. This is — I’ve stated this several times before, that we had not started a process to review ownership groups. They had not even determined to sell the St. Louis Rams, and it’s something that —
KING: You were speaking directly of Rush Limbaugh, you said the comments that Rush made specifically about Donovan I disagree with very strongly.
GOODELL: I do.
KING: So you are speaking directly.
GOODELL: Because I think Donovan McNabb is an outstanding young man, he’s an outstanding quarterback, and it has nothing to do with the color of his skin.
RUSH: All right, now, it’s just stunning. This man, Roger Goodell, is a total weasel. He had no answer. By the way, he had no answer about the Dolphins owners, Fergie and J.Lo. He had no answer about the lyrics of their songs, he had no answer. So he wouldn’t even address the question. And he got on his high horse about how McNabb is a fine player and a fine person and it has nothing to do with the color of his skin when a.) I never said he was not a fine person; b.) I never said he was a bad quarterback, just that he was overrated, which I don’t think is deniable; and c.) that the media was obsessed with the color of his skin, which is also undeniable, not that I was. And this business about the Rams, we had not even started a process to review ownership groups? Well, then what the hell is this all about? Why did he jump in with a comment about me not being qualified to be an owner? The process has started. The first bids for the Rams were submitted August 16th and then if you’re qualified you get to the next process where the due diligence — and it’s going on right now. Whatever groups are bidding on the Rams are looking at the Rams. Due diligence is happening. I don’t know what he’s talking about here.
Now, the Rosenbloom family may decide not to sell at the end of the day, but they’ve hired Goldman Sachs to have people come in and make bids and to review whether it would make sense to sell it to get the price they want, so the process has begun. Now, there was also another process here that was denied and that is the actual vetting. Once a final group is chosen and if an agreement is made for that group to buy then the vetting process begins and then you get to the owners voting on it and 28 of the 32 have to vote, maybe he’s talking about that, we have not started a process to review ownership groups, but they most certainly had formed a process or started a process to make sure I wasn’t part of anything. I find it very interesting that none of the other members of the other groups are known. I find it very interesting there may not even be any other groups other than the one I was part of, asked and invited to be a part of, by the way. I can understand he might have been caught off guard, he thinks he’s up there talking about concussions but he’s acting like he had one while answering these questions. So King closed it out with this.
KING: I’ll just close with this. Here are Rush Limbaugh’s — his position, and after 20 years on the radio, there’s nothing there that would undermine this. He says, ‘My racial views? You mean, my belief in a colorblind society where every individual is treated as a precious human being without regard to his race?’ And I’ll close with that, Mr. Goodell, and I’d ask you to go back and take a look at the owners of the Dolphins and the language that’s in the public venue, the songs that they recorded, review those lyrics and I’ll provide some of those lyrics to you and I’ll ask you to come back and respond to that question after the hearing as to whether you’ll put the same scrutiny on those owners who have really signed a negative light on the NFL as opposed to somebody that the NFL apparently just doesn’t agree with his politics. I yield back.
RUSH: Steve King, Republican congressman from Iowa. I cannot thank him enough. I had no idea this was going to happen. I have not communicated with them and it probably wouldn’t have happened if Sheila Jackson Lee hadn’t made a little speech during her time about ownership. She didn’t mention my name but she had gone to the House floor on a previous occasion to do so. Now, let me say something about McNabb here. I respect Donovan McNabb. I always have, as I respect all of the elite athletes that are qualified to play in the NFL. I’d love to have a beer with McNabb and discuss football. I’ll talk football with anybody that plays the game. I love it. My job on that ESPN pregame show was to disagree with the panel when I did. I just expressed my opinion. I was the voice of the fan, so to speak.
So look, it’s all water under the bridge here, but I was thinking about this last night after I had seen the YouTube video. By the way, we’ve linked to the YouTube video here at RushLimbaugh.com, you can see this, and I was told by some people that the commissioner was really taken by surprise. The camera is not on him very much because Congressman King’s questions are quite lengthy and the camera is on him. But some people who were there said that Goodell was visibly, uh-oh, squirming around or what have you. He was sitting right next to the Players Association director DeMaurice Smith, the Obamaite that’s now running the players union. That’s really what this is all about, the collective bargaining agreement coming up and DeMaurice Smith saw an opportunity here to use some leverage against the league, and, of course, it worked in this case. When Congressman King quoted me from my Wall Street Journal piece: ‘My racial views? You mean, my belief in a colorblind society where every individual is treated as a precious human being without regard to his race?’
You know, it really is true, I’ve always believed in this notion of colorblind. That’s why I treat people the way I do. I do not treat people differently based on what their skin color is or what their sexual orientation is, and I assume that most people are intelligent. And maybe I have missed the boat in assuming that everybody else wants a society that’s colorblind. And maybe what I’m learning is that there are people out there who say they want a colorblind society in no way mean it. I’m thinking, yeah, it’s a good thing, it would be a great objective, so I’m out there living it, and that of course dictates a lot of how I behave, what I say. People are people first, Americans, and then all the other hyphenated things come in to me much later. It’s like Jamie Gangel, NBC, ‘Aren’t you overwhelmed with the first black president?’ Yeah, it was great, but I got over it in five minutes because his policies matter more to me. I don’t see him as a black guy, I see him as the president of the United States. He’s got policies here that I really want to fail, and not because of the color of his skin but because of his policies. There are people who want to turn that around and, ‘It’s racism,’ and I sadly predicted all that would happen, too. They asked McNabb, by the way, his weekly meeting with the press, they’re playing the Giants coming up, I think a New York reporter asked him this question.
REPORTER: Speaking of tuning in, what was your reaction to Rush Limbaugh being turned down for NFL ownership?
MCNABB: No comment.
REPORTER: Really? You don’t have a reaction?
RUSH: All right, I gotta take a break here because I’m way long in this segment.
RUSH: Snerdley just asked me if I’ve ever met Goodell. Yeah, I have met Roger Goodell. It was in Pittsburgh back in January, the AFC championship game. It was on the field, on the sidelines, a pregame. I was walking back to the elevator to get back up to the press area, somebody said, ‘Roger Goodell’s coming.’ And I turned around and he said, ‘Hi, how you doing?’ He introduced himself, and we had a nice little short little chat. (interruption) No, he didn’t. As I remember it, I mean, my back was turned. I didn’t know that he was even there. Somebody told me that Goodell was there, it looked like he was coming right at me. At any rate — (interruption) No, no. No he didn’t say he hates conservatives, and he didn’t say, ‘Well, Mr. Divisive, how are you?’ He didn’t say that. He was nice as he could be, which is one of the reasons, when I was told that — well, never mind.
I want to share with you what Goodell said on the day the owners approved Fergie as an owner of the Miami Dolphins. Steve Ross is the primary owner of the Dolphins; Fergie is one of these minority investors. ‘Steve Ross is providing tremendous leadership,’ Goodell said, ‘I think he’s bringing an ownership together that reflects the diversity and spirit and determination of the South Florida community.’ I don’t represent diversity? I’m in South Florida! And I’m certainly diverse from Fergie!
By the way, you know what? I said I’d have a beer with McNabb. How about a beer summit? Show how great a unifier Obama is. Beer summit with me and McNabb.
RUSH: In that exchange with Congressman Steve King from Iowa, with Roger Goodell, Roger Goodell said yesterday, after King had read him the McNabb quote and after he had explained it was not enough, McNabb, it was about the media, there was no racism in it, Goodell said, (paraphrasing) ‘I am not shining any kind of light on Rush Limbaugh here. I am not shining any kind of light on Rush Limbaugh. I’m not an expert of his quotes, and we try to reinforce something I said at the time. He was not even under active consideration as an NFL owner. This I stated several times before.’ Well, then why was he asked about my potential ownership, if I was not under consideration? Because October 13th in Boston the NFL fall meetings, Goodell said this about this possibility of me buying the Rams, somebody brought it up even though he says — I mean, look, he can deny it all he wants. But he passed judgment on the issue, even if he wants to say I wasn’t under active consideration, which is not true here.
GOODELL: The views of a lot of people, most importantly are players, and I talk to players, so I understand the issue of the players. And the comments that — that Rush made specifically about Donovan I disagree with very strongly. And that’s — it’s — it’s polarizing comments that we don’t think reflect accurately on the NFL or our players and I don’t — obviously do not believe that those comments are positive and they’re divisive, and that’s a — that’s a negative thing for us. So — but I disagree with those comments very strongly and I’ve told the players.
RUSH: October 13th of this year. But he told Congressman King yesterday that I wasn’t even under active consideration as an owner. ‘The process hasn’t even begun to review ownership.’ Process hadn’t begun to review ownership. Well, he just basically reviewed it and summarily passed judgment that I’m not qualified, even though I wasn’t under active consideration. He did it, he fired the bullet. He was asked another question, he said this.
GOODELL: Divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about. And so, you know, I would not want to see those kind of comments from people who are in a responsible position within the NFL, no, absolutely not.
RUSH: So I wasn’t even under consideration he says but that comment signals the league would reject me. So he can deny it all he wants. He’s sticking to that template with this McNabb quote. Everybody that heard that quote knows full well what I was talking about.