Earlier this week, hate radio host Rush Limbaugh was dropped from an investor group that was trying to purchase NFL’s St. Louis Rams franchise. Limbaugh’s involvement with the group sparked a week of controversy due to his history of racially divisive commentary. African-American NFL players said they “wouldn’t play” for Limbaugh’s team while the head of the NFL’s players union said he opposed Limbaugh’s bid because sports are meant to reject “discrimination and hatred.”
On Fox News Sunday today, the “All-Stars” jumped to Limbaugh’s defense. NPR’s Juan Williams set up a false comparison, claiming that people don’t complain about MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann announcing football games even though he makes “divisive” statements about conservatives. The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol used the NFL player’s union’s opposition to Limbaugh to attack unions in general, saying “thank God most of the workforce isn’t unionized”:
KRISTOL: Thank God most of business isn’t a monopoly. Thank God most of the workforce isn’t unionized. Why could this happen? This could happen because all the NFL players are in one union. Because all the NFL owners are in one club and pressure can be put on them. Thank God there’s more diversity in this country in terms of different industries and different businesses. And people can be controversial and can still find places that are willing to have them.
Kristol’s attack on unionization ignores the fact that unions are good for the American economy since unions help workers secure higher wages and greater benefits. Additionally, the collective bargaining of unions give workers the ability to shape the conditions of their employment, as the NFL players union successfully demonstrated.
According to Dan Lebowitz, executive director of the Center for Sports and Society at Northeastern University, the NFL has 78 percent African-American players. Because the player’s union has leverage, that means the players won’t have to work for someone who said just two years ago, “the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it.”