Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rush is Right about Bryant Gumble [J. Mark English]

RUSH LIMBAUGH: Let's go straight to the audiotape. Last Tuesday, HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, a portion of his closing remarks about the new incoming NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

BRYANT GUMBEL: Before he cleans out his office, have Paul Tagliabue show you where he keeps Gene Upshaw's leash. By making the docile head of the players union his personal pet, your predecessor kept the peace without giving players the kind of guarantees other pros take for granted. Try to make sure no one competent ever replaces Upshaw on your watch.
RUSH: Okay. Now, Tagliabue is the one who has hired Bryant Gumbel to do play-by-play of eight late-season games on the NFL Network, starting on Thanksgiving night. Now, that game will be the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos. And to put this in perspective, let's go back to February of this year. This is Bryant Gumbel and a portion of his closing remarks on that same show.
GUMBEL: The Winter Games. Count me among those who don't like 'em and won't watch 'em. In fact, I figure when Thomas Payne said, "These are the times that try men's souls," he must have been talking about the start of another winter Olympics. Because they're so trying, maybe over the next three weeks we should all try, too, by trying not to be incredulous when someone attempts to link these games to those of the ancient Greeks who never heard of skating or skiing. So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the winter games look like a GOP convention.
RUSH: All right, now, clearly we could go back, if we wanted to, to the days that Bryant Gumbel hosted the Today Show and we could find countless political comments, and we could find countless comments that show a chip on his shoulder about race. Now, the comment here about Gene Upshaw. Gene Upshaw, great offensive lineman for the great Oakland Raider teams back in the sixties and seventies, and he's black; he is the leader of the players union, and this business advising the new commissioner to keep the leash on Upshaw means that Upshaw is just a puppet. He's just somebody that the owners can bend and shape and do whatever they want, that he's not his own man, and that's why the owners are allowed to screw the players and make more money and on more money and more money.
Tagliabue was asked about this. (paraphrasing) "Well, this may be one of the most uninformed comments I've ever heard," and they're going to have a meeting at the NFL Network, to determine whether or not Gumbel should be kept on as the announcer, lead announcer for the games that the NFL Network will do later in the season. Tagliabue said, "I think things that Bryant Gumbel said about Gene Upshaw and the owners are about as uninformed as anything that I have read or heard in a long, long time and quite inexcusable because they are subjects about which you can and should be better informed. Having looked at how other people have had buyer's remorse when they took jobs, I guess they suggest to me that maybe Bryant's having buyer's remorse and they called into question his desire to do the job and do it in a way that we in the NFL would expect it to be done."
Upshaw did not immediately return a call placed by the Associated Press. So I guess, if I'm to interpret commissioner Tagliabue correctly, he thinks maybe Bryant Gumbel doesn't want the job now, otherwise why would he be talking this way? Gumbel, for his part, says, "Hey, I'm just a journalist. When I see a story out there, I report it." Come on, Bryant. I mean, smart guy, this is not journalism, this is commentary, and it was so labeled, but don't call what you were doing journalism. At any rate, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Gumbel will not be dismissed, that the NFL will not decide to take him off of their game coverage, no matter what he does. It just won't happen. Mark my words. And if it does, I'll be the first to eat crow and admit that I was wrong.