NFL owners are no Democratic cabal

By A. James Memmott

October 18, 2009 at 9:25am

Rush Limbaugh’s attempt to be part-owner of a football team ended last week when he was asked to leave a group that wants to buy the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League.

The conservative radio-show host blamed his exclusion on the media, the players’ union and various “Obamaites.”

“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,” Limbaugh said on his radio show.

Whether or not he’s right, it’s obvious, as The Wall Street Journal noted Friday, that most of the people who already own football teams are hardly Obamaites.

Rather, they are mainstream conservatives, far more likely to vote Republican than Democratic.

According to the Journal, National Football team owners contributed $636,417 to Republican candidates for federal office and Republican committees in 2008.

Democratic federal candidates and committees received $372,050.

Tucked into the Republican giving was solid support from the owners for Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Robert W. “Woody” Johnson IV, the owner of the New York Jets, gave more than $70,000 to the McCain campaign and $153,000 overall to Republicans and Republican groups.

He was followed by Robert C. McNair, the owner of the Houston Texans, who contributed $98,350 to Republicans.

The other top givers to the GOP were Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, $67,800; Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, $64,617; and Alex Spanos of the San Diego Chargers, $58,900.

Roger S. Goodell, the NFL’s commissioner, contributed $2,300 to the McCain campaign.

However, Goodell, the son of the late Charles Goodell, a Republican senator from New York state, has also given to Democrats, including Sen. Charles Schumer of New York.

Among the owners, the leading contributor to Democratic candidates and causes was Stephen M. Ross, owner of the Miami Dophins.

Ross, the CEO of The Related Companies L.P., a New York City real estate firm, gave $67,100 to Democratic candidates and cause.

According to federal records, his donations included $25,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the maximum individual contribution of $2,300 to Obama’s presidential campaign.

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank gave $50,950 to Democrats, according to the Journal, and Zygi Wilf, owner of the Minnesota Vikings, gave $49,600.

Limbaugh had been part of a group looking to buy the Rams that was headed by David W. Checketts, the owner of hockey’s St. Louis Blues and the former president of basketball’s New York Knicks and the former CEO of Madison Square Garden.

When word of Limbaugh’s participation got out, some current and former NFL players, as well as the Rev. Al Sharpton, protested his involvement, saying Limbaugh has made statements that demeaned athletes who are African-American.

Checketts then asked Limbaugh to leave the group, saying that his participation had become a “complication and distraction” that endangered the group’s bid.

Several other groups are also seeking to buy the Rams. Dale “Chip” Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez, son and daughter of the Rams’ late owner, Georgia Frontiere, now own the team.

Twenty-four of the NFL’s 32 teams must approve of the sale of any team.

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