Rush Limbaugh is expected to be dropped from a group bidding to buy the St. Louis Rams, according to three NFL sources.
Dave Checketts, chairman of the NHL's St. Louis Blues and the point man in the Limbaugh group attempting to buy the Rams, realizes he must remove the controversial conservative radio host from his potential role as a minority member in the group in order to get approval from other NFL owners, the sources said.
Three-quarters of the league's 32 owners would have to approve any sale to Limbaugh and his group. Earlier this week, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay predicted that Limbaugh's potential bid would be met by significant opposition. Several players have also voiced their displeasure with Limbaugh's potential ownership position, and NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith, who is black, urged players to speak out against Limbaugh's bid.
Ultimately, the sources said, Checketts must reconfigure his group and find another investor to make his bid more viable.
Exactly when Limbaugh will be dropped is uncertain, though some familiar with the situation said it could be within the next week. It is unclear if the two sides even have spoken.
A Limbaugh spokesman told ESPN that Limbaugh would have no comment on Wedneday. Earlier, on his syndicated radio show, Limbaugh was defiant, holding on to hope that he still could be part of the ownership group that buys the Rams.
"I'm not even thinking of exiting," Limbaugh said on his program, according to a transcript provided to ESPN. "I'm not even thinking of caving. I am not a caver. None of us are. We have been betrayed by too many who have caved. Pioneers take the arrows. We are pioneers. It's a sad thing but our country over 200 years old now needs pioneers all over again, but we do."
Without Limbaugh, Checketts and his group would have to find a financial substitute to replace the investment that Limbaugh intended to make. At the NFL owners meetings this week in Boston, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addressed Limbaugh's potential involvement in the league and said "divisive comments are not what the NFL is all about."