An unbowed Rush Limbaugh kept his date as the National Association of Broadcasters’ Radio Convention keynoter Thursday despite his resignation as an ESPN commentator the night before and allegations in the National Enquirer
and New York Daily News
that he has been abusing prescription drugs.
The controversial radio host made no apology for the comments on Sunday NFL Countdown
that led to his resignation. Limbaugh had said that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb received undeserved credit for his team's success because the media was "very desirous that a black quarterback do well."
"We live in a country where there is supposedly a First Amendment and you can offer an opinion," Limbaugh told an audience that contained many affiliates of his daily conservative talk show. "But in certain places and certain times, you can't."
Limbaugh said he had thought about his McNabb comments in advance and did not mean to hurt or diminish anybody by them. "It was not a racial opinion. It was an opinion about the media," he added.
ESPN had initially supported him, he said, but he decided to resign because other ESPN commentators were being made "uncomfortable by the press and others who couldn't believe they had not responded to what I had said."
"We accept his resignation and regret the circumstances surrounding this," ESPN and ABC Sports president George Bodenheimer said in a prepared statement. "We believe he took the appropriate action to resolve this matter expeditiously."
Limbaugh did not address newspaper stories alleging that he has been abusing drugs. But Premiere Radio Networks Inc., which distributes his show to more than 600 radio stations, issued a statement attributed to Limbaugh.
"I am unaware of any investigation by any authorities involving me," the statement said. "No governmental representative has contacted me directly or indirectly. If my assistance is required in the future, I will, of course cooperate fully."