St. Louis — Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been dropped from a group seeking to buy the St. Louis Rams.
Limbaugh was to be a limited partner in a bid led by St. Louis Blues chairman Dave Checketts, but Checketts said in a statement Wednesday that Limbaugh’s participation had complicated the effort. The group will move forward without him.
Checketts said he will have no further comment on the bid process.
Limbaugh said on his radio show earlier Wednesday that he had been inundated with e-mails from listeners who supported him in the bid.
“This is not about the NFL, it’s not about the St. Louis Rams, it’s not about me,” Limbaugh said. “This is about the ongoing effort by the left in this country, wherever you find them, in the media, the Democrat Party, or wherever, to destroy conservatism, to prevent the mainstreaming of anyone who is prominent as a conservative.
“Therefore, this is about the future of the United States of America and what kind of country we’re going to have.”
Limbaugh’s bid ran into opposition from within the image-conscious NFL on Tuesday when Colts owner Jim Irsay said he would vote against the radio personality. Commissioner Roger Goodell said the commentator’s “divisive” comments would not be tolerated from any NFL insider.
The league tries to avoid getting snared in controversial issues outside sports, which has caused Limbaugh trouble in the past. In 2003, he was forced to resign from ESPN’s Sunday night football broadcast after saying of Philadelphia’s Donovan McNabb: “I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well.”
A league source said Limbaugh was “very unhappy” when informed he was being dropped from the bid.
The move was hailed by the Rev. Al Sharpton, one of the most vocal critics of Limbaugh’s bid.
“It is a moral victory for all Americans — especially the players that have been unfairly castigated by Rush Limbaugh,” Sharpton said in a statement. “This decision will also uphold the unifying standards of major sports.”
Crabtree to debut Oct. 25
Santa Clara, Calif. — Michael Crabtree will make his NFL debut in his home state as planned.
The San Francisco 49ers’ rookie wide receiver is set to take the field for the first time at Houston on Oct. 25 following the team’s bye week.
“That’s my first game home, so I’m very excited about the opportunity to play at home,” Crabtree said Wednesday.
Coach Mike Singletary said when Crabtree signed last week he expected Crabtree to be ready by next weekend.
Lions QB Stafford practices
Allen Park, Mich. — Matt Stafford took his first step toward returning from a knee injury. The Detroit Lions quarterback now has to wait to see if he took it too soon. Stafford returned to practice Wednesday after missing Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh with a knee injury. It’s not clear whether he has a shot at playing against Green Bay (2-2) this weekend.
Vick declines offer
Oakland, Calif. — A Bay Area pit bull advocacy group says Michael Vick has declined an invitation to visit eight of his former dogs this weekend when the Philadelphia Eagles are in town to play the Oakland Raiders. The group BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls) told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it extended the invitation through the Eagles to Vick last week to view his former dogs that were part of the dog fighting operation at Bad Newz Kennels in southeastern Virginia.
France first hall inductee
Charlotte, N.C. — NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. has been selected as the first inductee of the sport’s Hall of Fame. France formed the National Association for Stock Car Racing in 1947 and headlines the inaugural class of five for the Hall.
Also joining the Hall in next year’s induction ceremony is Bill France Jr., who took over for his father as head of NASCAR in 1972. He spent nearly 30 years running the family business. Also selected were Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR’s two seven-time Cup champions, and Junior Johnson.
U.S. ties Costa Rica
Washington — Jonathan Bornstein headed in a corner kick in the fifth minute of stoppage time, giving the United States a 2-2 tie against Costa Rica on Wednesday night that put Honduras in next year’s World Cup. Bryan Ruiz scored twice in a four minute-span midway through the first half to give Costa Rica a 2-0 lead, but Michael Bradley cut the U.S. deficit in the 72nd minute.
Rangers, Jaramillo to part
Arlington, Texas — The Texas Rangers are looking for a new hitting coach after Rudy Jaramillo turned down their offer to return in 2010. Jaramillo had been with the club since 1995.
Binghamton coach punished
Binghamton, N.Y. — Binghamton basketball coach Kevin Broadus has been placed on an indefinite paid leave of absence. Interim athletic director James Norris said the decision announced Wednesday was reached after discussions with university president Lois DeFleur and vice president James Van Voorst.
Czech player banned
London — Czech player Ivo Minar was banned for eight months on Wednesday after testing positive for a banned substance following a Davis Cup match. A sample taken after the Davis Cup quarterfinal against Argentine on July 11 contained the banned stimulant methylhexanamine, the International Tennis Federation said.
Allenby apologizes to Kim
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. — Robert Allenby said Wednesday he has apologized to Anthony Kim about his comments after losing to the American in the Presidents Cup, and both golfers said the issue was over.
After their singles match Sunday, Allenby was quoted as saying his friends saw Kim returning to his hotel room at 4 a.m. that morning, and the Australian referred to him as the “loosest cannon in that team.”