ST. LOUIS -- Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh blames others for him being dropped from the group that's trying to buy the St. Louis Rams.
On his syndicated show Thursday, Limbaugh said he was approached by St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts earlier this year about participating in a Rams bid. Limbaugh also said Checketts assured him that his involvement as a minority investor had been vetted by the NFL.
"I said to him at this meeting, 'Are you aware of the firestorm?' He said, 'We wouldn't have approached you if we hadn't taken care of that,' " Limbaugh said.
Limbaugh added that Checketts had told him his involvement had been cleared at the "highest levels of the NFL."
Despite being sacked, Limbaugh said he still loved the NFL and probably would be "the biggest non-paid promoter of the sport."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Colts owner Jim Irsay both expressed misgivings about Limbaugh's involvement Tuesday. Checketts said the next day that Limbaugh had been dropped from the bid.
During a 15-minute counterattack at the start of his show Thursday, Limbaugh said he believes he has been made an example by a players union that's seeking leverage in talks over a new collective bargaining agreement. And he believed what happened to him was an illustration of "Obama's America on full display."
Racially insensitive remarks from the past brought down Limbaugh, who in 2003 was forced to resign from ESPN's Sunday night football broadcast after saying of the Philadelphia Eagles' 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."
According to transcripts posted on his Web site, Limbaugh said in 2007: "The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it."
Limbaugh blamed DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFLPA and an "Obama-ite," and the Revs Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, whom he referred to as "race hustlers," for Checketts' decision one day earlier to drop him. Limbaugh said his sacking was an example of the political clout wielded by the Obama administration.
"What is happening to the National Football League, what is about to happen to it, has already happened to Wall Street, has already happened to the automobile business," Limbaugh said.
Limbaugh said he was victimized in the media by "misreporting, lying, repeating the lies while also saying 'Limbaugh denies,' repeating the made-up quotes, the blind hatred."
"Believe me, the hatred that exists in this is found in the sportswriter community, it's found in the news business, it's found in the race-hustler business," Limbaugh said.
Limbaugh said Checketts telephoned him Tuesday, asking him to withdraw from the group. Limbaugh responded that he wouldn't withdraw and that Checketts would have to "go public and fire me," and believed the news would be made public Thursday morning.
Smith, the NFLPA head, last week voiced his objections to Limbaugh's bid with Goodell and urged players to speak out against it. Sharpton and Jackson also attacked Limbaugh's involvement, asserting that his track record on race should exclude him.
Limbaugh said the real reason he's out is the NFLPA's attempt to influence negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. He said Smith warned that he would bring the White House into negotiations if necessary.
"It's designed to intimidate the owners, frighten the owners and say 'We're running this league now, gang, not you,'" Limbaugh said. "This little warning shot fired across the bow to the owners, to say 'Get ready, here we come for the next collective bargaining agreement,' so we'll see how it all unfolds."
Limbaugh said he has "lost nothing" over the episode and vowed to continue being the "biggest non-paid promoter of the sport."
"On the other hand, our country has lost a great deal. A lot more than most people realize at the moment," Limbaugh said.
Limbaugh said the Checketts group had previously lost its lead owner, which must have at least 30 percent equity. He speculated that the lead investor had been global financier George Soros.
Limbaugh said Checketts and Soros previously were partners in a bid to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers and added that Soros was "known politically for his left-wing slants."
"His politics fits in perfectly with what the National Football League is becoming," Limbaugh said.
The Checketts group is among a reported half-dozen bidders for the Rams and would keep the team in St. Louis. The children of the late Georgia Frontiere, who inherited the team upon her death in January 2008, announced in June that they had hired the investment firm Goldman Sachs to review assets of the estate, including the football team.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press