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Originally published Monday, October 12, 2009 at 8:42 PM

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NFL | Revs. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson oppose idea of Rush Limbaugh owning a team

The Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson attacked the bid by Rush Limbaugh to buy the St. Louis Rams, saying the conservative radio host's...

ST. LOUIS — The Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson attacked the bid by Rush Limbaugh to buy the St. Louis Rams, saying the conservative radio host's track record on race should exclude him from owning a team.

Sharpton sent a letter to commissioner Roger Goodell, arguing Limbaugh has been divisive and "anti-NFL" in some of his comments.

Jackson said Monday in a telephone interview that Limbaugh had made his wealth "appealing to the fears of whites" with an unending line of insults against black people and other minorities.

"The National Football League has set high standards for racial justice and inclusion," Jackson said. "He should not have the privilege of owning an NFL franchise — and it is a privilege."

Limbaugh, on his radio show, responded to Sharpton.

"Now, this saddens me as well this disappoints me," he said. "I know Rev. Sharpton. Sharpton is better than this. He knows better than this. You know, I didn't judge Al Sharpton's fitness to be in radio when he wanted to earn an honest living for once, given his well-documented past as the author of the Tawana Brawley hoax. I believe in freedom and I also don't discriminate."

Limbaugh said last week he is teaming with Dave Checketts, an owner of the NHL St. Louis Blues, in a bid to buy the Rams.

In 2003, Limbaugh worked briefly on ESPN's NFL pregame show. He resigned after saying Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated because the media wanted to see a black quarterback succeed.

Transcripts posted on the radio host's Web site also say that on a January 2007 show, Limbaugh commented: "The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league is aware of the concerns voiced by Sharpton and Jackson.

The latest complaints came a day after the executive director of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith, urged players to speak out against Limbaugh's bid.



• Oakland coach Tom Cable, a former Snohomish High School player, said one of the keys to getting the Raiders (1-4) to improve is to eliminate distractions. Cable was talking about the how the Raiders respond to adversity early in games. The potentially bigger distraction of Cable's legal problems regarding his alleged training-camp assault on defensive assistant Randy Hanson is not an issue, Cable said.

"I don't believe it is," he said. "I would never believe that because, as I've said, I know the truth and I trust in the system, the process, and I just know that what's supposed to happen will happen. I've not let it become an issue."

Napa, Calif., police announced last week they have ended their investigation and forwarded the results to the district attorney's office. The DA office has not said how long it will take to decide whether to file charges. League officials are monitoring the case.

• Hanson, in an interview with Yahoo Sports, said Cable shouted profane death threats in his direction during a coaches meeting.

"And I have no reason to believe he wouldn't have killed me if they hadn't pulled him away," Hanson said.

• Defensive back Dre' Bly of the San Francisco 49ers apologized to teammates. Bly embarrassed himself and the 49ers during Sunday's 45-10 home loss to the Atlanta Falcons when he intercepted a pass by Matt Ryan in the third quarter and struck a Deion Sanders-like pose with his right hand to his helmet and the ball unprotected in his left hand. Roddy White knocked the ball loose and Atlanta, leading 35-10 at the time, recovered. The Falcons marched downfield and scored again.

Bly said he approached 49ers coach Mike Singletary to apologize for the display, which also included him saying after the game he had done nothing wrong because "Dre"s going to be Dre'. "

A day later, Bly said, "I want to publicly apologize for yesterday. My comments were totally inappropriate. I apologized to Coach. I'm not a selfish guy. I didn't mean to embarrass him if I did, embarrass my team, embarrass the ownership, embarrass the fans."

Singletary said he would not discipline Bly.

• Top return man Allen Rossum has been released by the 49ers, creating roster room for newly signed rookie receiver Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech. Rossum, 33, is second in league history with 14,987 return yards.

• A day after playing in his first game with an injured plantar fascia, quarterback Eli Manning of the New York Giants said the injury continues to improve.

"It feels good," Manning said. "I'm able to move around and I didn't have a setback by any means."

• Cleveland coach Eric Mangini said he is cooperating with the league in its investigation into rookie running back James Davis' mysterious season-ending shoulder injury. reported Davis was injured during a recent post-practice period for extra work when he was hit by a Browns linebacker.

According to the report, witnesses said Davis was not wearing shoulder pads while the unidentified defender who hit him wore pads.

Injury report
Player, position Team Injury, status
Michael Lewis, S 49ers Concussion, might miss season
Jeff Ulbrich, LB 49ers Concussion, might miss season
Eric King, CB Lions Shoulder, out for season
Kawika Mitchell, LB Bills Knee, out for season
Marcus Buggs, LB Bills Knee, out for season
Nick Harper, CB Titans Arm, out for up to 6 weeks

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