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Thursday, October 2, 2003
Players react to comments made by Limbaugh


PHILADELPHIA -- Some NFL players were still upset Thursday at last weekend's comments about Donovan McNabb that caused conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh to resign from ESPN.

On "Sunday NFL Countdown," Limbaugh said the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback was overrated because the media wanted to see a black quarterback succeed.

"You can have your opinion, but there are certain things that are sensitive that you have to adhere to and certain lines that you don't cross," Carolina Panthers quarterback Rodney Peete said. "And I think he definitely crossed that line with that particular comment."

As one of McNabb's closest friends, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Kevin Johnson offered another view.

"He's disappointed," said Johnson, a teammate of McNabb's at Syracuse. "He has done everything right as a player. He's been a perfect role model. He has done everything that you would ask him to do as an NFL quarterback."

Limbaugh resigned from the show Wednesday night.

Rev. Jesse Jackson told The Associated Press on Thursday that Limbaugh's remarks were "a painful insult."

"It is not true and it is demeaning to the black athlete," Jackson said in a phone interview from California. "It is wrong to suggest that the hard work of black coaches and black quarterbacks are breaking in by the gratuity of the media."

In 2000 Tennessee's Steve McNair became the second black quarterback to start a Super Bowl.

He said the fans always treated him fairly and he was surprised the issue of race has resurfaced.

"Until this episode, I thought it was gone," he said. "Evidently, there will always be a small portion out there. That's just people's opinion and how people look at different things."

Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said Limbaugh's opinion doesn't "represent how the majority -- the high majority " of people involved in the game for a long time think.

"I know it doesn't represent anything near what I think," he said.

Washington Redskins coach Steve Spurrier was far from agreeing with the overrated part of Limbaugh's opinion.

"They didn't give him all that money because he's an average quarterback," Spurrier said. "He's one of the best in the league."

Many Redskins players took issue with both the premise and conclusion of Limbaugh's statement. They felt McNabb is indeed worth all the attention he gets, and they wondered what on earth race has to do with it.

"Who's Rush Limbaugh to make a statement like that?" linebacker LaVar Arrington said. "He needs to stay in his area of expertise because clearly he's out it. That's one of the most asinine comments a person can make. It shows his IQ level in football."