RUSH: We’re bleeding over into the sports world again today. Do you remember way back? There was a time way back where I worked at ESPN for five weeks. You remember that? I was a participant on the Sunday morning pregame show, and then an episode occurred where the discussion took place over the quarterback at the time of the Philadelphia Eagles, Donovan McNabb, and two days — two days — after that show aired on a particular Sunday, the Philadelphia sports media blew up, and I ended up resigning from ESPN for a whole host of reasons.
Again, there was an example where something I had said was totally distorted and taken out of… Well, it wasn’t taken out of context. It was just purposefully misunderstood, purposefully misreported. Have you heard of Cam Newton? The name Cam Newton ring a bell? (interruption) “Who is he?” All right. Cam Newton’s a quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. Do you know what Cam Newton did yesterday? Cam Newton came out and said the reason people are afraid of him is that he’s a black quarterback.
He’s doing what he’s doing, people don’t like all the… (interruption) He did. All the endless celebrations, all the constant happiness, redefining way the position is played, whatever. It’s because he’s a black quarterback, and people still just not comfortable with it, and people still don’t quite get it, and that’s… Now, I wasn’t aware anybody was having a problem with Cam Newton. I hadn’t the slightest idea that Cam Newton was criticized by anybody for anything.
All I’ve ever seen is endless praise for the guy, deservedly so. He was drafted in 2011, and here he’s winning the NFC championship five years later and going to the Super Bowl. So I was kind of shocked when he said I said this, but I said, “Okay, been there, done that. Doesn’t involve what I’m doing now. So I’ll leave it aside.” Well, it turns out even when I leave it aside, ESPN doesn’t. This afternoon on a program on ESPN2 called His & Hers during a discussion about Cam Newton’s remarks, what he said…
Mr. Snerdley, what he really said is, he scares people because he’s African-American. That’s what he said. That’s the reason people are afraid of him — which is news to me. I didn’t know anybody was afraid, unless the guy’s about to run over you, and you have to tackle him. I can understand being a little fearful. But I didn’t know that there was an ongoing fear of Cam Newton. But he says there is, and it’s because he’s black.
So the title of this program at ESPN is His & Hers, and they were talking about Cam Newton and his remarks and he scares people because he’s an African-American quarterback and people have nothing to compare him to. So people are scared. People, they don’t know who to make of Cam Newton ’cause he’s African-American and there’s nobody to compare him to. So Michael Smith, who is one of the cohosts, had a comment, and this is it…
SMITH: I am not going to appeal to the least common denominator when it comes to the conversation about Cam. I’ll do it today because he went there, but to me — and I’ll channel my inner Rush Limbaugh here. Are the media so desirous, so hungry for a storyline, for a lightning rod, for a polarizing figure, that we’re actually inventing one? There’s nothing new under the sun here. Let’s not get so caught up in the moment. Lest we forget, he’s not the first quarterback… Let’s talk black quarterbacks. He’s not the first black quarterback to dance.
RUSH: You heard. You heard it right. Yes, yes, yes. You… (interruption) Oh, yeah, that’s the point. This guy, Michael Smith, who’s been at ESPN for a while, knew from the get-go what I said, knew from the get-go that I was being critical of the media, and this guy even admits he’s channeling his inner Rush Limbaugh. “Are the media so desirous, so hungry for a storyline, for a lightning rod, for a polarizing figure, we’re inventing one?” That’s the exact thing, or very close to it, that I said that was intolerable at ESPN.
I was accused of violating some mythical promise I had never made not to inject politics in the show, while everybody else around me on that show was. My, my, my how times have changed. Now the very thing that I accused the media of doing, another ESPN reporter comes close… Well, not comes close. He is accusing them of the same thing: Inventing something that doesn’t exist. Fascinating. What was that ESPN year, 2005?
The years run together, and I don’t recall. 2005 seems like yesterday to me, so I don’t know what my year at ESPN was. It might have been 2002. At any rate, we’re back, and I just had to share that with you, focuses ’cause it’s just unbelievable. (sigh) “I’m going to channel my inner Rush Limbaugh here and say are we in the media so desirous and so hungry…?” (interruption) 2003. Thirteen years ago. Unbelievable. Thirteen years ago. Thirteen years later, Michael Smith at ESPN decides to reprise (chuckles) Rush Limbaugh.