Bill O’Reilly was in good form last night, defending (against attacks by race-baiters)Â Rush Limbaugh’s right to c0-purchase a National Football League team, the St. Louis Rams.
O’Reilly’s guest onÂ The Factor was aÂ Detroit sportswriter whoÂ was unable to back up his claims that Limbaugh had made blatantly racist comments on his radio program.
Predictably, the practiced demagogueÂ Al Sharpton is now getting into the act.Â Sharpton reportedly wants to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about Limbaugh, who Sharpton contends should not be allowed to buyÂ the football team.
Sharpton has pointed out that back in 2003, when Limbaugh was working as an analyst for the ESPN sports network, the broadcaster opined that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was getting special treatment from the media because of his race.
Were Rush’s comments provactive?Â Yes.Â Racist? Absolutely not.
Rush was asserting that members of the press, for fear of being branded as racists, had been afraid to give an honest assessment of a player (McNabb) whose performance at that time was nothing special.
Ironically, Rush’s critics have typically embraced leftist policies likeÂ affirmative action, which have planted, in the minds of many Americans, seeds of doubt about the legitimacy of black achievements in many realms outside the world of sports. Yet whenÂ black conservatives such as Clarence Thomas have spoken out against affirmative action, they have been excoriated by leftists of all skin tones. Jesse Jackson, for one,Â condemned Thomasâ€™s Supreme Court vote to place limits on affirmative action programs as:
Along with Al Sharpton, Jackson led a prayer vigil outside Thomasâ€™s home to protest the Justiceâ€™s decision.Â Likening Thomas to a Klansman, Jackson asserted:
“At night, the enemies of civil rights strike in white sheets, burning crosses….Â By day, they strike in black robes”.
That’s certainly racially charged rhetoric, but I would defend Jackson’s right to express his views even while strongly opposing their content.Â The last time I checked, this was still a free country.Â Â Jackson can say what he wants.Â Sharpton can say what he wants.Â Black conservatives should be able to say what they want. And soÂ should Rush Limbaugh, without being boycotted by the National Football League and prohibited from spending his own money on a football team.