Sports, Limbaugh told SI in August, "is the one thing in which
you can invest total passion without consequence." Ratings on the
show were up 10% since his arrival. Now he is down one job and is
reportedly under investigation by Palm Beach, Fla., authorities
for illicit possession of prescription painkillers.
COLOR PHOTO: RICH ARDEN-ESPN/AP
B/W ILLUSTRATION: SEAN DELONAS/NEW YORK POST
COLOR PHOTO: JAMES D. SMITH/ICON SMI. Jackson
COLOR PHOTO: WILLIAM THOMAS CAIN/GETTY IMAGES
B/W ILLUSTRATION: MIKE KEEFE-THE DENVER POST/CAGLE CARTOONS, INC.
B/W ILLUSTRATION: MIKE LUCKOVICH-ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION/CREATORS SYNDICATE
COLOR PHOTO: MIKE GROLL/AP
"The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do
well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot
of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't
--RUSH LIMBAUGH, on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, Sept. 28, 2003,
three days before his resignation
"We are as a society remarkably sensitive to race, and most of us
in the sports industry have come to understand that. Rush is new
to our business and did not get that."
--NEAL PILSON, former president of CBS Sports
"[Limbaugh]'s a racist. He might hide behind the tag of
conservative, but let's be real."
--Eagles defensive end N.D. KALU
"Do we not have anybody that understand there's way more scrubs
in this game that are Anglos than there are black ones that are
being pumped up? Trust me, it's not even close. I don't know what
Limbaugh was thinking, but Michael Irvin and Tom Jackson didn't
do us much justice, that's the one thing I was more teed off
about than anything."
--Bucs defensive tackle WARREN SAPP
"In my 18 years of covering the NFL I have not seen any of my
media colleagues coddling McNabb or any other black quarterback.
Just ask Kordell Stewart. And that's the way it should be....
ESPN's Tom Jackson has taken some unfair hits this week, and I
say, 'Don't blame the victim.'"
--Fox's JAMES BROWN
"There is no legitimate place in sports broadcasting for voices
that seek to discredit the achievement of athletes on the basis
of race. "
--HOWARD DEAN, former Vermont governor and Democratic
"I have seen replay after replay of Limbaugh's comments with my
face attached, as well as that of my colleagues. Comments that
made us very uncomfortable at the time, although the depth and
the insensitive nature of which weren't fully felt until it
seemed too late to reply. Rush Limbaugh is known for the divisive
nature of his rhetoric. He creates controversy, and what he said
Sunday is the same type of thing that he's said on radio for
years. A player in this league who has a young son called me this
week, and his son now wants to know if it's all right for blacks
to play quarterback. Rush Limbaugh's comments could not have been
more hurtful. He was brought in to talk football, and he broke
--TOM JACKSON, cohost of Sunday NFL Countdown, Oct. 5
"[ESPN] has been a very well-run company. You can say the same
for Disney. However, some of the events of this week ... are
built with institutional racism. It exists; lets not hide it.
Let's not make us believe the problem is a single person, because
it is far from that. "
--Eagles owner JEFFREY LURIE
"ESPN knew what it was getting when they hired Rush Limbaugh."
--NFL vice president JOE BROWNE
"Black or white, if you're racist, you are ignorant. Rush's
statements were not only racist, they were stupid. [McNabb] has
been a Pro Bowl quarterback for three years and led this team to
the NFC championship for the past two.... The media has guys they
like, but you can't prop a guy up and make him better than he is.
The public ain't going to go for that."
--TNT's CHARLES BARKLEY
"All I will say is, people need to stop being so sensitive."
--Former major leaguer JOHN ROCKER on Sporting News Radio
"It's sad that you've got to go to skin color. I thought we
were through with that whole deal."
--DONOVAN McNABB, Eagles quarterback, on Limbaugh's comments