This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 14, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: Rush Limbaugh is out. The radio powerhouse was part of a team to buy the St. Louis Rams. But tonight Dave Checketts, owner of the St. Louis Blues, released a statement.
"Rush was to be a limited partner. As such, he would've had no say in the direction of the club or in any decisions regarding personnel or operations. This was a role he enthusiastically embraced.
However, it has become clear that his involvement in our group has become a complication and a distraction to our intentions, endangering our bid to keep the team in St. Louis. As such we have decided to move forward without him and hope it will eventually lead us to a successful conclusion."
On his radio show before the announcement, Rush Limbaugh talked about how much he just loves the NFL.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Regardless of what happens here, I am a fan of the National Football League. I devote my Sundays to it. I travel the stadiums to be part of it. It is fun being there in person.
I want to continue to be a fan. I want the sport to be up on the pedestal I have put it. And I want the players to be on the pedestal that I have put them.
The players are the game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Joining us now is Jim Litke, national sports columnist for the Associated Press. Jim, thanks for your time tonight.
JIM LITKE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Thanks for having me.
BREAM: I have to ask you, I believe it is 24 of the 32 owners and the NFL would have had to okay this move if Rush was going to be part of this group. Do you think he really never stood a chance of becoming an owner whether in a limited or in a more full way?
LITKE: Well, realistically, no. I think what you could see reading between the lines and the commissioner statement yesterday, it has been almost a week, or almost a week since Rush has announced he was part of an ownership group.
In the NFL does nothing without due diligence and without significant deliberation. And so what the commissioner said yesterday basically is that no, we do not have the chance -- and you saw how quickly they Dave Checketts moved to excise them from the group.
BREAM: Well, now listen, Rush, we would all agree, has been extremely successful at a number of things. He knows how to make money, he knows how to draw a lot of attention to whatever he is involved with. He thinks that could've been in any way beneficial to the St. Louis Rams?
And also, what do you make of the claim by some that there would be players who would boycott and not actually take the field? I mean, when there is so much money involved, can we really take those objections seriously?
LITKE: Well, you know, owners would sign, general managers would trade for, coaches would coach, players would play alongside Satan if they thought it would benefit them. So I do not think that was the problem.
The problem here was really about distraction. If you own a team in one of the three or four major sports teams in America, you basically have a license to print money. They do not want anything or anyone getting in the way of that.
And there is no question that Rush would have been a distraction if only in the reflected way of being asked about particular comments. And so he was not going to tone down what he did. And I think the owners basically assessed what the value was of having an affair and a publicity since versus what he was going -- how many distractions he would cause.
And ultimately they apparently told the commissioner they were going to go ahead with it. And, as I said, the NFL is nothing if not deliberate, so that was pretty much the final pronouncement yesterday. Checketts dropping them is just an illustration of that.
BREAM: I mean, he certainly would not have been the first controversial professional sports league owner out there. Marge Schott comes to mind.
LITKE: Absolutely, and that is a perfect example. Marge Schott inherited the baseball team from her husband who was an auto dealer in Cincinnati. She was sort of the antithesis of the other owners, very gruff, not always well-dressed. She was very tight. She once said she wanted to know about why the ballclub had to have scouts since all they did was watch games.
So they waited until she stumbled a couple of times. She said some derogatory teams, I remember, I believe about Latin ballplayers, and then she was found to be in possession of some Nazi paraphernalia. And so the baseball owners invoked the best interest clause of the game.
And I think that's the sort of model but they don't want. These are a bunch of very, very risk averse guys, and they don't want anybody meddling.
They do a lot of work in municipalities, do a lot of work for the federal government, they follow labor law, they follow performance- enhancing drug issues, and so they are very careful about who they get involved with and how deeply the involvement goes.
And I think again it was really a major decision. It was sort of the free market deciding this guy was more trouble than it was worth.
BREAM: How does it work when somebody wants to put together a bid and get involved in a group? Is it just about having the right money and the right connections? Can anyone go after a team if it is up for grabs?
LITKE: Absolutely. But being able to produce a note that you have got the money already cuts the circle down considerably. It never hurts to have inside contacts, number one.
And number two, the owners want to make sure that they're entrusting the franchise to someone who is going to run in a reasonably organized way, because they are all dependent on having competitive franchisees.
They are already in the NFL carrying two or three, maybe four bottom dwelling franchises, chronically bad franchises, and they do not want to add another one to that list. St. Louis has really been on the slide for the past half dozen years, and now they are in the bottom third of market revenue.
And o they would like somebody with a lot of football expertise to come in there and build a franchise back up.
BREAM: All right, Jim Litke, thank you so much for sharing your insights.
LITKE: Thank you.
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