Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on Wednesday pressured NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on why he cast doubt on conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh's bid to become a NFL franchise owner. 

Goodell previously said that he would not like to see controversial commments, such as ones Limbaugh made about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb in 2003, come from a member of an ownership group. Limbaugh was originally a minority partner in a group attempting to buy the St. Louis Rams. 


The commissioner appeared before the House Judiciary Committee for a hearing about the severity of head injuries in the league.

The majority partner, Dave Cheketts, earlier this month dropped Limbaugh from the group after it became evident his group would not be a viable contender to purchase the team with him on board. The move riled conservatives, who argued that Goodell's decision was politically motivated.

King pointed to pop singers Fergie and Jennifer Lopez, who have minority holdings in the Miami Dolphins, as examples of potentially divisive owners.

"I take you as a man of your word but I would point out that you have a couple of owners that have performed lyrics in songs that are far more offensive," he said to Goodell. "Fergie and...J-Lo, they have between the two of them alleged that the CIA are terrorists and liars. They've promoted sexual abuse of women, they've used the n-word, verbal pornography, recreational drug use, etc. and they are owners of the Dolphins."

Goodell defended himself by saying, as he said several weeks ago, that Limbaugh was not under active consideration as an owner because the current owners had not yet put the team up for sale.

The commissioner also defended his comments about Limbaugh's remarks.

"I made the point, and I'll make it again here today, that the NFL is about bringing people together, it's about unity," he said. "And that we do not move towards divisive actions. And in fact our teams, I think have demonstrated that on and off the field."

When King questioned Goodell again, he responded "I'm not shining any kind of a light on Rush Limbaugh here. I'm not an expert on all of his quotes. And I would try to reinforce to you something I said at the time."

Goodell's answer did not appear to satisfy King.

"I'd ask you to go back and take a look at the owners of the Dolphins and the language that's in the public venue," he concluded. 

Limbaugh, then serving as a part-time ESPN commentator, said with regard to McNabb, "the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well...There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve." Some interpreted his comments as racist.

He stepped down from his ESPN position after making his remarks.

Limbaugh's ownership bid came under fire from several members of Congress, including Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), who serves in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).

But another CBC member, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), said he had no problems with Limbaugh's bid and even suggested the outspoken conservative could improve the team's performance.

UPDATED 5:13 p.m.

Limbaugh responded to Goodell's remarks at the hearing today, calling the commissioner "a total weasel."

He added that Goodell "had no answer about the Dolphins' owners so wouldn't even address the question, and he got on his high horse about how McNabb is a fine player and a fine person and it has nothing to do with the color of his skin."

The radio host concluded that "(a) I never said he was not a fine person; (b) never said he was a bad QB -- just that he was overrated (which no one should deny); and (c) said the MEDIA was obsessed with the color of his skin (which is also undeniable), not that I was."