"That cracker made a lot of African-American millionaires," the radio commentator said Tuesday on his show after the New York Yankees owner died at age 80. "He fired a bunch of white guys as managers left and right."
Rev. Al Sharpton called Limbaugh's statements "repugnant and offensive whether they were intended to be facetious or tongue and cheek."
"For the last 20-years I have known George Steinbrenner and we have quarreled over diversity and community programs but I always found him fair, direct, and genuinely prone to do what he felt was right," Sharpton said in a statement. "He generated a lot of money for a lot of players as well as for baseball as a whole. ... Mr. Limbaugh and his broadcasters owe his family an apology."
Steinbrenner, who rebuilt the New York Yankees into a sports empire with a mix of bluster and big bucks that polarized fans all across America,, just over a week after his 80th birthday.
His death was the second in three days to rock the Yankees. Bob Sheppard, the team's revered public address announcer from 1951-2007,.
For more than 30 years and through seven World Series championships, Steinbrenner lived up to his billing as "the Boss," a nickname he earned and clearly enjoyed as he ruled with an iron fist.
George was the Yankees. He was involved in every aspect of the Yankees from the board rooms to the bathrooms, reports CBS News correspondent Armen Keteyian. Every last detail devoted to what Steinbrenner craved above all else: Winning.