This article doesn’t do justice to the opening 15 minutes of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown today. First, it was clear that Chris Berman was unbelievably uncomfortable talking about this. Second, Tom Jackson was angry.
Very, very angry.
The ESPN.com article gives a short piece of what Jackson said, but even that doesn’t begin to summarize what came across:
"Rush Limbaugh is known for the divisive nature of his rhetoric," Jackson said. "He creates controversy, and what he said Sunday is the same type of thing that he said on radio for years."
What was missing from that quote was Jackson’s comment that no one on that set invited Limbaugh or wanted Limbaugh on the show. Moreover, he commented that Limbaugh broke a promise by bringing politics onto the show.
I’m hoping that Rush was watching, because, honestly, he seems to have gotten a lot of pleasure out of being buddies with the ESPN studio crew. (And who wouldn’t?) And it was clear that what he had done was hurtful to these people, and that these people did not and do not consider him to be a friend. If this episode has caused personal hurt to Limbaugh, perhaps that’s good. There are times that I think these right-wing commentators manage to keep themselves immune from the pain their words cause. Perhaps this event will make Rush think twice. Even better, perhaps it will make folks at places like ESPN think twice about bringing in someone whose sole job is to stir up trouble, regardless of the pain they cause.
Update: For those folks who have a Windows machine, you can download their "Motion 2.0" plug-in and watch the video from the show on ESPN.com.