On his Monday radio show, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh reacted to the debate in the sports media over whether it is ever appropriate to use the “n-word.”
“Do you know, folks, there’s actually a debate going on on ESPN and throughout the sports world over who can use the ‘n-word’ when and how, and who can’t when and how?” Limbaugh said. “No, and this is just part of the whole thing of turning me off to football and sports in general. In the first place, you have this generation of journalists from the coddled generation. I think some players, too.”
Limbaugh called to his listeners’ attention comments from TNT NBA commentator Charles Barkley from last week in which Barkley blamed “white America” for attempting restrict his speech.
“They’re trying to take out the actual realities of life and the way people are built to sanitize everything, and you can’t,” he said. “Now we’re getting into this televised discussion of who can and who can’t use the ‘n-word’ and how. Let me just give you three examples of this — and, frankly, this is just reprehensible to me. Call me a fuddy-duddy if you want, but I will not sit around and watch this kind of stuff. I’m not going to get caught up in it, and I’m certainly not going to weigh in and have an opinion on it. First, TNT, ‘Inside the NBA,’ the anchor Ernie Johnson speaking with Charles Barkley about Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes having to apologize after he was fined for using the ‘n-word’ in a Tweet after he was ejected from a game Wednesday night. Ernie Johnson says, ‘Charles, what do you want to get off your chest about this?’”
“Of course it’s not the same, but Chuck — and I can call you Chuck because I know you. It’s what his friends call him. Chuck, it’s not ‘white America’ trying to insinuate themselves into what you can and can’t say. It’s your good buddies on the left who are doing this. It’s your good buddy liberal Democrats who are trying to force you to speak the way they think you should, not white America. It’s white liberals who, in their own minds, still run their own versions of plantations. They’re the ones trying to force all this political correctness on you. They’re the ones trying to take your locker room away from you. They’re the ones trying to take the basketball court away from you. They’re the ones trying to take YOU away from you. It isn’t ‘white America.’ Well, what a crock! This is on a televised basketball game. You have to sit here and listen to this.”
Limbaugh also referred to former NBA center Shaquille O’Neal remarks on the issue, who echoed the same sentiments as Barkley.
“So then they went out and they found Shaq,” he continued. “TNT, ‘Inside the NBA,’ during a discussion about Matt Barnes of the Clippers having to apologize after he was fined for using the n-word in a Tweet, after he was ejected from a game Wednesday night. After Barkley says that as a black man, he’s going to use the n-word and he’s going to continue to use the n-word and white America can’t stop him and it doesn’t matter what’s in hip-hop music, Shaquille O’Neal then had this to say.”
Also joining the chorus of sports commentators defending the use of the “n-word” was “Pardon the Interruption” co-host Michael Wilbon. Wilbon vented his frustration along the same lines.
“After how many years of America being told the word is not allowed, the word is totally prohibited, now we’ve got the sports media weighing in saying it is never permissible,” Limbaugh said. “That word conjures up the worst aspects of America, and that word is never permissible, and here come the black brothers, ‘Oh, yes, it is when we say it. We’re going to say it, and you white Americans, you can’t going to take it away!’ Chuck, Shaq, it isn’t white Americans trying to force their way of thinking on you. It’s your buddies on the left. Make no mistake about it. Now, you may think yourself on the left. You may think yourself a Democrat or a liberal or whatever, and if you do, it just means you have no idea who actually is lined up against you.”
“It’s not white America,” he continued. “Most of white America frankly couldn’t care any less about this other than what it means to the overall cultural decay that may be taking place here. But the political correctness, Chuck, that you’re all bummed out here about? Everybody trying to take your word away from you? It’s white liberals, Chuck. They’re the ones that run pieces on this. Here’s Michael Wilbon. Now, Michael Wilbon was among the group of people who said I had no business being in the NFL. Michael Wilbon believed a bunch of made-up quotes attributed to me, things I never said about blacks and slavery and so forth.”