Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been dropped from a group that's seeking to buy the St. Louis Rams.
Limbaugh was supposed to be a limited partner in a group headed by St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts. However, Checketts said in a statement Wednesday that Limbaugh's participation had become a complication in the group's efforts and the bid will move forward without him.
|Rush Limbaugh (above) disputed Dave Checketts' statement outlining the reasons that the conservative radio talk show host was removed from a group bidding for the Rams.|
"Rush was to be a limited partner," Checketts said in the statement. "As such, he would have had no say in the direction of the club or in any decisions regarding personnel or operations. This was a role he enthusiastically embraced. However, it has become clear that his involvement in our group has become a complication and a distraction to our intentions, endangering our bid to keep the team in St. Louis. As such, we have decided to move forward without him and hope it will eventually lead us to a successful conclusion."
Checketts said he will have no further comment on the bid process.
Limbaugh told NFL Network that Checketts' statement isn't an accurate portrayal of the facts, but he will address it more on his show Thursday. Limbaugh added: "I love the NFL. I admire the men who play in the league. I will always have the NFL and its players on a pedestal."
Limbaugh said on his radio show earlier Wednesday that he had been inundated with e-mails from listeners who supported him in the bid.
"This is not about the NFL, it's not about the St. Louis Rams, it's not about me," Limbaugh said. "This is about the ongoing effort by the left in this country, wherever you find them, in the media, the Democrat Party, or wherever, to destroy conservatism, to prevent the mainstreaming of anyone who is prominent as a conservative.
"Therefore, this is about the future of the United States of America and what kind of country we're going to have."
Limbaugh's bid ran into opposition within the league Tuesday when Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay vowed to vote against him. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the commentator's "divisive" comments wouldn't be tolerated from any NFL insider.
The NFL tries to avoid being snared in controversial issues outside sports, which has caused Limbaugh trouble in the past. In 2003, he was forced to resign from ESPN's Sunday night football broadcast after saying of Philadelphia Eagles star Donovan McNabb: "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."
The Rams had no comment on the Limbaugh situation, reissuing an Oct. 5 statement in which owner Chip Rosenbloom said a review of the team's ownership was under way and it will make an announcement when that's over.
The removal of Limbaugh from the group was hailed by the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of the most vocal critics.
"It is a moral victory for all Americans -- especially the players that have been unfairly castigated by Rush Limbaugh," Sharpton said in a statement. "This decision will also uphold the unifying standards of major sports."
Sharpton added in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that major sports leagues shouldn't welcome owners who are "divisive and incendiary." Every major pro sports franchise has dealings with its community, he said, and "it's unfair for taxpayers to be underwriting people who denigrate them."
Before the group dropped him, Limbaugh said he had no intention of backing out of the bid.
"I'm not even thinking of caving," he said. "I am not a caver. Pioneers take the arrows. We are pioneers. It's a sad thing that our country, over 200 years old now, needs pioneers all over again, but we do."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.