The brouhaha over Rush Limbaugh and the NFL reached Congress Thursday, as a Republican Congressman used a hearing to defend the radio talker -- and suggest the Dolphins new part owners are "far more offensive."
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said he saw nothing offensive in comments made years ago by Limbaugh about quarterback Donovan McNabb, and pressed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to say exactly what he disagreed with. Goodell criticized Limbaugh when the radio talk show host was part of a group trying to buy the St. Louis Rams. The group eventually dropped Limbaugh from their bid under fire from people such as Goodell.
"I would point out that you have a couple of owners that have performed lyrics in songs that are far more offensive. In fact, I don't think anything that Rush Limbaugh said was offensive, but with Fergie and with J. Lo, they have, between the two of them, alleged that the CIA are terrorists and liars, they've promoted sexual abuse of women, they've used the N-word, verbal pornography, recreational drug use, et cetera, and they are owners of the Dolphins."
No, they're not, say the Dolphins. The team says Jennifer Lopez is not part of the ownership group of the Dolphins, but that her husband, Marc Anthony, is a limited partner of the team. And Fergie isn’t a limited partner of the team, -- yet. While she's been pre-approved by the NFL as a limited partner, the Dolphins say, the transaction "has not yet formally been consummated by our ownership group."
"And it is also ironic that Fergie was approved as an owner on the very day that you made your statement against Rush Limbaugh," King said. "And I would point out for the committee, the statement that Rush Limbaugh made is this -- that seems to be the one that survives the criticism, and that is: '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. They're interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well. McNabb got a lot of credit for the performance of the team that he really didn't deserve.' '
"Now, I've scoured this quote to try to find something that can be implied as racism on the part of Rush Limbaugh, and I can't find it, ' King said. "There is an implication of racism on the part of the media. …And so if you're concerned about this, Mr. Goodell, then I'd ask you, you know, are you prepared to level the same charges against Fergie and J. Lo, or are you prepared to apologize to Rush Limbaugh today?"
Goodell responded, "My comments at the annual meeting were directed about specific comments he made about Donovan McNabb; and I made the point, and I will make it again here today, that the NFL is about bringing people together, it's about unity and that we do not -- we do not move towards divisive actions. …
“I'm not shining any kind of a light on Rush Limbaugh here. I am not an expert on this ... all of his quotes. … I think Donovan McNabb is an outstanding young man. He's an outstanding quarterback, and it has nothing to do with the color of his skin."