Since when is wanting to buy a football team a matter for the House floor?
When Sheila Jackson Lee took the floor of the House this week to criticize Rush Limbaugh in an attempt to block his bid for purchasing the NFL's St. Louis Rams, I wasn't the only one confused as to the appropriateness of the venue. Even Congresswoman Lee stated, "This is not a government issue." Then why was she wasting taxpayer time and money discussing an explicitly private-sector matter?
Because liberals love nothing more than involving themselves into arenas in which they have no knowledge, while desperately wanting to appear righteous.
But I wasn't overly concerned with her choice of venue. I was frightened by her choice of words.
When a government representative can stand on the floor of our most respected chamber and use phrases like "not the kind of owner the NFL needs," "standards of integrity," and "do the right thing" when discussing a private citizen, a shiver runs down my spine. These comments beg for clarification. If Limbaugh isn't an acceptable "kind of owner," then who is exactly? Is it the place of a public employee to judge what "kind of owner" a business should have? Also, to what "standards of integrity" is she referring? Limbaugh has never committed a crime. He pays his taxes fully. He gives mountains more to charity than President Obama or any other Democrat. Where's the question of integrity? If a private citizen can't say what he wants and spend his money how he wants, while not breaking any rules, our nation's founders would not recognize their creation. Maybe the "right thing" Ms. Lee is searching for is for the NFL to have owners that don't lean "right."
So what does one liberal lady's view of a radio host and pro football have to do with everyday Americans? The reality is that it's not a big jump from Ms. Lee's position in the House to a legislator saying that a teacher who doesn't believe in unionization is "not the kind of educator our schools need." Or a doctor who doesn't agree with single payer healthcare is described as "not the kind of physician our hospitals need." Or a small business owner who speaks out against exorbitant corporate taxes is deemed "not the kind of entrepreneur our economy needs." Suddenly, the "standards of integrity" and the ones doing "the right thing" are distinguished by a distant and relativistic judge. Once again, this is not the liberty our founders intended.
The Congresswoman even hypocritically imagined a scenario in which Limbaugh, in judging a future Miss America contest, would disqualify a young lady for having opposing political beliefs. Strangely, Ms. Lee can't wrap her liberal brain around the fact that she is the one depriving someone an opportunity for success because of a difference of political belief.
But she may be very surprised to learn the truth about the world of football. Those that she classifies as "not the kind" that should be involved in the NFL already have a pretty secure place. Reports have shown that the population of NFL players with criminal records hovers around 20%, which has included the likes of such moral beacons as multiple drug offender Ricky Williams, convicted assailant Pacman Jones, and of course, animal murderer Michael Vick. I don't remember the Congresswoman speaking out about these players adhering to "standards of integrity." And compared to these characters, Mr. Limbaugh isn't even in the same stadium of integrity as such miscreants. Since Ms. Lee clearly isn't aware of a large number of the athletes that constitute professional football, she also needs to understand the people in charge of those teams for which the athletes perform. Last month's Wall Street Journal reported that Republicans far outnumber Democrats among NFL coaches and the same holds true for owners not only in the NFL but across all four major sports. As Politico reported last year, "Team owners in the four major sports and their families have given to or raised as much or more than $3.2 million for McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, compared with as much as $615,000 for his Democratic rival Obama." Anyone who listens to Limbaugh, even for just five minutes, can clearly understand that his pro-capitalism, pro-equality views come through in surround sound. He understands as well as anybody that an owner, coach, agent, or anyone involved in managing athletes cannot afford to be racist. Would an owner who refused to draft or play black athletes really be successful in America's athletic climate? Absolutely not. And while there is no substantiated record of any racist language, the only incendiary comment Limbaugh did make (about Eagles' quarterback Donovan McNabb) was even defended by the not-so-conservative publishers of Slate.
If the NFL decides to bar Limbaugh from becoming a part-owner in the Rams, so be it. The decision, though completely misguided, will at least be determined by the private sector as the NFL and the city of St. Louis do themselves a great disservice. And when athletes proclaim grandly that they would never play for someone with the same political views as Limbaugh, clue them in on a little secret: they probably already do.