Given how frustrated I am by the Eagles these last few weeks, the last thing I want to do is spend my insane-anger-bitter-with-rage-phase talking about them more than is absolutely necessary – every mention of the team makes me tense up with the sweet cocktail of hopelessness, apprehension, and despair that only a true Philly fan understands. Let's just call it a championship-size case of blue balls and move on. So, naturally, I instead find myself in the midst of Donovan McNabb's latest media orgy, this time concerning his supposedly controversial comments concerning black quarterbacks in the NFL. Fantastic. This is exactly what I wanted on my plate as a fan following two hard to swallow losses… more lunacy surrounding my team!
Fine, I bite. What's all the fuss about? Why the hubbub? Did he call Andy Reid a white devil? Did he threaten to kill whitey? Express his support for a racially themed ultimate fighting league for babies?
Um, no. He, when prompted, mentioned that he felt like black quarterbacks were more scrutinized than white ones.
The unbelievable bastard. How dare he!?
Reading some of outraged vitriol spewing forth from bloggers and columnists alike, you’d think that McNabb himself called a press conference to announce his feelings on how black quarterbacks were treated and to proclaim all disagreeing naysayers thoroughgoing racists.
Fact is, he did NOT bring up the issue. He was asked a question, and he provided an answer based on how he felt. So how is this worth rehashing as a major story? Most critics of Donovan’s comments include a rant along the lines of “RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE, ALL quarterbacks get criticized, that’s the nature of the position!”
“McNabb then went on to spit his drivel about how black quarterbacks have it so much tougher than white quarterbacks, though when asked, he offered no empirical evidence. Maybe Donovan hasn't been paying attention to the treatment of Rex Grossman, or Jets fans cheering when Chad Pennington got injured, or the criticism leveled at Eli Manning on a weekly basis.”
Did McNabb say that white quarterbacks aren’t criticized? Not to my knowledge. It’s clear, particularly after his press-conference on the matter, that he believes all QBs are scrutinized.... he just thinks there’s some more scrutiny to the play of black quarterbacks.
You’ll note that McNabb never came out and cried racism concerning the discussion of African-American quarterbacks, he simply answered that he believes that they’re held to a different set of standards – in McNabb's case, he’s seen critics, white and black alike, play the race card in their critiques of his play. You want empirical evidence? If anyone can comment on dealing with racially tinged criticism, it’s McNabb. I’m pretty sure we don’t need to rehash the ludicrous Rush Limbaugh debacle of 2003 (side note: it was damn near impossible to find a video clip of this), not to mention the widely publicized article by Philly NCAAP head J. Whyatt Mondesire.
So why the brouhaha? The man was asked how he felt on a certain subject, answered based on his own experiences with the media, and then is somehow labeled a moronic crybaby making much ado about nothing. This is obviously a logical chain of events.
Fact is, McNabb has seen his fair share of race-based criticism. And, since I’m having trouble finding a note to end on, I’ll just quote MJD’s particularly well-phrased take on the matter:
Couldn’t have said it better.
Update:Some more sane discussion at The 700 Level