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Limbaugh blames Dave Checketts, De Smith

Radio host Rush Limbaugh addressed on Thursday the conclusion of his involvement in the effort to purchase the St. Louis Rams.

And he placed much of the blame on Dave Checketts, owner of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues.

Limbaugh said that, after Checketts approached him earlier this year to join the group, Limbaugh warned Checketts about the inevitable media reaction. Checketts, per Limbaugh, said that Limbaugh’s involvement had been cleared with “people at the highest levels of the National Football League.”

Limbaugh also suggested that he was led to believe he’d have a role in the operation of the team, but he did not contradict Checketts’ recent representation that Limbaugh was only going to be a minority owner.

Limbaugh then argued that his exclusion from the process originiated with NFLPA Executive Director De Smith, and then Limbaugh argued that Smith is essentially an operative for the Obama administration, and that Smith essentially scared NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (whose last name Limbaugh inexplicably misprounounced) into not doing business with Limbaugh.

Specifically, Limbaugh claims that the move was part of the union’s leverage against the NFL as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

But the NFL and the union currently are at odds on multiple topics. The notion that the NFL would cave to Smith given his ties to Obama on this one issue -- and not on any of the other far more important points of contention between the two sides -- suggests a superificial understanding of the business of the NFL at best, and a conscious manipulation of reality at worst.

So Rush believes he was dumped because the union wants to “intimidate and frighten” the owners, who by the way currently are doing their best to intimidate and frighten the union by sending up continuous smoke signals of a looming lockout. And it’s all part of a broader effort by the President to put pro football under his thumb. Despite the fact that the owners are currently doing their best to intimidate and frighten the union into thinking that a lockout is coming.

Republican or Democrat, red state or blue state, conservative or liberal, the notion that Limbaugh was railroaded by the White House as part of a broader effort by the White House to impose its agenda on pro football makes no sense.

In a later segment, a caller suggested that Limbaugh was blackballed because he’s a conservative. And Limbaugh seemed to agree with that. Apparently, the many other conservatives who currently own NFL teams can now expect to have their teams taken from them, Marge Schott style.

Here’s the bottom line. Limbaugh is a controversial, polarizing, and divisive figure. (The comments to these articles prove that reality.) He revels in his role, and he profits from it handsomely. And regardless of whether things he said about slavery and James Earl Ray were fabricated, he has said more than enough to cement that reputation, and thus to make it impossible for the NFL to do business with him.

Indeed, Limbaugh was once under consideration for the Monday Night Football booth. And his candidacy was shouted down as swiftly as his recent bid to join in the purchase of the Rams, based on racially divisive and inflammatory quotes that we don’t recall Limbaugh or anyone else claiming were fabricated at the time. Though he eventually got into the football business three years later, his brief stay at ESPN entailed another, and much larger, controversy.

So while he can now externalize blame (like a liberal might do) for the failure of his effort to own part of the Rams, he should blame himself for not realizing that he was walking once again down a path that he had already twice trod.

He did it because he knew damn well what he was getting into, and he voluntarily went along for the ride because he knew it would bring him plenty of publicity -- and because it ultimately could be shoehorned into his broader message.

I don’t care whether his broader message is right or whether it is wrong. The goal here is to set aside politics and get to the truth of what happened, and why.

This was, in our view, a P.R. ploy. And it worked.

Bravo, Rush. Bravo.