You know, people like Rush Limbaugh are why no one likes journalists in this country. Which is sad because, actually, Limbaugh is not a journalist. He is simply a personality.
Last Sunday on ESPN’s NFL Countdown, Limbaugh said Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated and the only reason he gets so much publicity is because he’s black and because the media want blacks to succeed at the position they over-hype them.
As a black man, what he said was offensive. As a person, what he said was ignorant. As a journalist, what he said was unfounded.
As a sports fan, what he said was incorrect.
McNabb is simply one of the top five quarterbacks in the league, but like he said in a press conference on Wednesday, everybody wants to kick you when you’re down.
McNabb is not having a good season early on – that’s obvious. But even in today’s “what have you done for me lately” world, you can’t throw away what he has accomplished over his five-year career. He is a three-time Pro Bowler – which, by the way, is voted on by NFL players and coaches, the media has nothing to do with that – and was the league’s Most Valuable Player runner-up in his second year as quarterback. The Eagles are 36-22 when McNabb starts. Put another way, they’ve won 62 percent of their games when he’s in.
So much for that overrated thing.
McNabb was the league’s Michael Vick when Vick was still at Virginia Tech. McNabb made plays with his feet, his arm and his head. He’s not Peyton Manning-accurate but then again Manning can only wish he could move like McNabb.
Limbaugh also said the reason the Eagles were in the NFC Championship game the past two years was because of their defense, not their quarterback. That’s not far from the truth, but defense only gets a team so far. The team has to put up points offensively, unless that defense is the 2000 Baltimore Ravens. But they had to have a record-setting year to win the Super Bowl, because their offense was so horrible.
ESPN brought Limbaugh onto its NFL pre-game show to boost ratings. They said it. Everyone knew it. There’s no other reason to get rid of Sterling Sharpe – someone who played football and is obviously knowledgeable about the sport – and replace him with Limbaugh. Plus, ESPN was getting its butt kicked in the ratings by Fox’s pre-game show.
Knowing Limbaugh’s character as someone who creates controversy, ESPN was hoping he would stir something up. But not like this. The backlash forced Limbaugh to resign, even though ESPN supported him and his comments, and didn’t allow anyone else to rebut at the time he made those comments.
I don’t think the network was paying attention to ABC’s experiment with Dennis Miller in the Monday Night Football announcer’s booth. Sports fans are hardcore fans. They like to hear other people’s opinions, but there has to be some basis of fact. You can’t have people just talking out of their you know what’s.
As a political commentator, Limbaugh may be good. His radio show is syndicated in 650 markets in the country, so that speaks for itself. But when it comes to football, I think he’s overrated.
Kevin Fair, 20, is a junior print journalism student from Fort Lauderdale. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org