Rush Limbaugh Dropped From Group Seeking to Buy Rams

ST. LOUIS — Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been dropped from a group seeking to buy the St. Louis Rams.

Limbaugh was to be a limited partner
in a bid led by St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts, but Checketts
said in a statement Wednesday that Limbaugh's participation had
complicated the effort. The group will move forward without him.

Checketts said he will have no
further comment on the bid process. Limbaugh did not immediately
respond to an e-mail sent late Wednesday seeking comment on Checketts'
decision.

Limbaugh said on his radio show
earlier Wednesday that he had been inundated with e-mails from
listeners who supported him in the bid.

"This is not about the NFL, it's not
about the St. Louis Rams, it's not about me," Limbaugh said. "This is
about the ongoing effort by the left in this country, wherever you find
them, in the media, the Democrat Party, or wherever, to destroy
conservatism, to prevent the mainstreaming of anyone who is prominent
as a conservative.

"Therefore, this is about the future of the United States of America and what kind of country we're going to have."

Limbaugh's bid ran into opposition
from within the image-conscious NFL on Tuesday when Colts owner Jim
Irsay
said he would vote against the radio personality. Commissioner
Roger Goodell said the commentator's "divisive" comments would not be
tolerated from any NFL insider.

The league tries to avoid getting
snared in controversial issues outside sports, which has caused
Limbaugh trouble in the past. In 2003, he was forced to resign from
ESPN's Sunday night football broadcast after saying of Philadelphia's
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."

The Rams had no comment, reissuing a
statement from Oct. 5 in which owner Chip Rosenbloom said a review of
the team's ownership was underway and the club will make an
announcement when it's over.

Checketts, the chairman of SCP Worldwide, announced that Limbaugh had been dumped toward the end of a news release.

"It has become clear that his
involvement in our group has become a complication and a distraction to
our intentions; endangering our bid to keep the team in St. Louis,"
Checketts said. "As such, we have decided to move forward without him
and hope it will eventually lead us to a successful conclusion."

The move was hailed by the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of the most vocal critics of Limbaugh's bid.

"It is a moral victory for all
Americans — especially the players that have been unfairly castigated
by Rush Limbaugh," Sharpton said in a statement. "This decision will
also uphold the unifying standards of major sports."

Sharpton added in a telephone interview that major sports leagues shouldn't welcome owners who are "divisive and incendiary."

Every major pro sports franchise has
dealings with its community, he said. "It's unfair for taxpayers to be
underwriting people who denigrate them," he said.

Checketts said Limbaugh would have
not had any say in the direction of the franchise "or in any decisions
regarding personnel or operations."

Before getting dropped, Limbaugh said he had no intention of backing out.

"I'm not even thinking of caving,"
he said. "I am not a caver. Pioneers take the arrows. We are pioneers.
It's a sad thing that our country, over 200 years old now, needs
pioneers all over again, but we do."

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