Gary Susman
October 02, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Just weeks after he joined ESPN’s ”NFL Sunday Countdown,” radio host Rush Limbaugh has sacked himself, resigning from the show in response to the uproar over his remarks on Sunday’s show that many viewers considered racist. ”My comments this past Sunday were directed at the media and were not racially motivated. I offered an opinion. This opinion has caused discomfort to the crew, which I regret,” Limbaugh said in a statement issued late Wednesday. ”I love ‘NFL Sunday Countdown’ and do not want to be a distraction to the great work done by all who work on it.”

On Sunday, Limbaugh suggested that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb had been overrated because he is African-American. ”The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well,” Limbaugh said. ”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. The defense carried this team.”

Limbaugh has not apologized to McNabb, not that the QB would likely accept an apology. He told a news conference on Wednesday that he was bothered by Limbaugh’s injection of race into what he thought was otherwise fair criticism of his performance on the field. ”An apology would do no good because he obviously thought about it before he said it,” McNabb said. Others who criticized Limbaugh’s comments were former NFL quarterback Warren Moon, Democratic presidential candidates Wesley Clark and Howard Dean, and the management of ESPN, which reprimanded Limbaugh but did not plan to fire him, according to a statement issued earlier Wednesday.

Critics of Limbaugh’s conservative political commentary on his popular radio show said at the time ESPN hired him in July that he would make an awkward fit in an apolitical panel discussing a sport dominated by African-Americans. He’s long been criticized for making racially insensitive remarks on the radio. According to Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, Limbaugh once told a black caller, ”Take that bone out of your nose and call me back.” Another time, he told listeners, ”Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?”

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