Rush Limbaugh is under fire for comments he made in his capacity as a sports commentator for ESPN. Limbaugh argued that Donovan McNabb, quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, is overrated because he is African-American. Limbaugh is almost surely mistaken about this. It’s doubtful that McNabb is significantly overrated and, to the extent that he’s overrated at all, it probably has to do with the success of his team and his style of play, not his race. There have been a number of successful black quarterbacks. The NFL is no longer looking for a footballing Jackie Robinson.
Nonetheless, I don’t consider Limbaugh’s views improper. Limbaugh is being critical of sportswriters, not African-Americans. It would not be McNabb’s fault if he were overrated; it would be the fault of the (mostly white) writers who overrate him. Limbaugh is being “insensitve” to African-Americans only to the extent that he is casting an African-American as the benefiicary of bias, not the victim. In today’s America, this position may be insenstive, but only because our sensivities have become warped.
UPDATE: Rush has resigned from ESPN and is the subject of a New York Daily News story reporting that he is under investigation for abuse of prescription painkillers: “Rush Limbaugh in pill probe.” The Daily News story is based on a National Enquirer story that has been partially confirmed by the News itself.
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