There are nine Black Starting Quarterbacks in the NFL.
But I don’t want to talk about them just yet. I want to talk about Charlie Ward. You remember Charlie Ward right? Maybe some of you don’t so watch these highlights.
Looks familiar doesn’t it? Looks a lot like of what you saw last weekend. If you are really young, you maybe wondering what were Charlie Ward’s NFL stats? I can show you.
Charlie Ward also played basketball. He wasn’t as good of a basketball player as he was a football player, but one thing became apparent, he couldn’t get assurances he would be a high draft pick in the NFL. Didn’t matter if he was the best quarterback in college and possessed an uncanny skill set that could have made him an effective quarterback. It was simply because he didn’t fit the “mold” of a NFL quarterback in the early 90s.
This is where people seem to misunderstand my frustration with the phrase “Black Quarterback.”
There is a huge difference in being happy a black athlete who happens to play the quarterback position is getting opportunities and having a label attached to them.
It is like the phrase “Well Spoken Black Man” or “Educated Black Man.”
If you meet someone Jewish or Italian or Asian or Russian. You don’t say “Educated Russian Man” or “Educated Jewish Guy.” If he is smart, he’s smart, and you make those determinations based on what? Interactions and observations.
Stereotypes rule the world, but when you are black those labels stay attached when you break the stereotype. When Charlie Ward was thinking of entering the NFL Draft those stereotypes were strong.
Black QBs aren’t smart enough, aren’t accurate enough, can’t play from the pocket, can’t win the big game and more. It was a form of racism and prejudice that has been in our country for years. We aren’t just talking football, we are talking life.
Just like most things in life, things have gotten better. They aren’t where they need to be, but there are two things that I know.
1- In 2013, NFL teams just care about the Quarterbacks who can win games.
2- The media won’t let go of the old Black QBs stereotypes.
The Big Lead wrote a huge feature on “The Golden Age of Black Quarterbacks,” and it is a very well written piece. I have no beef with them, no matter what Jason Whitlock says. My issue isn’t the story, it’s this.
That’s Andrew Luck (who is mentioned prominently in the piece). He ran for almost a 1,000 yards while at Stanford (Geno Smith ran for 342). He is young and athletic; he moves around the pocket (scored winning TD last week on a rushing TD). Believe it or not he’s white.
So is Aaron Rodgers, Jake Locker, Tony Romo, Christian Ponder, Ben Rothlisberger, Jay Cutler, Alex Smith and Ryan Tannehill (a former WR).
What do they all have in common besides being white? The athletic ability to run and make plays with their legs.
Let’s count them up.
That is nine athletic white quarterbacks and nine athletic black quarterbacks.
So, why isn’t it the age of athletic white quarterbacks? Because no one associates race with white quarterbacks, just wins/losses. No one says Christian Ponder is bad because he’s white. In the end that is what we are looking for, no labels, just be judged on our interactions and observations.
If I am garbage then I am garbage, not because of my race and vice versa. If a quarterback misses an out route, it shouldn’t be because black quarterbacks aren’t accurate and can only run, it should be because he couldn’t throw the out route.
That is all Charlie Ward wanted, that is all Warren Moon wanted, that is all the black junior executive at Macy’s wants. If you are white it is very difficult for you to understand how it feels to be stuck with a label for no reason at all besides the color of your skin and then have that label stick to you even when you are doing well.
People might say well why do you call your site BlackSportsOnline if you feel that way, and it is a fair question. One thing I learned from watching Eminem in 8 Mile is take the power away from your critics before they can use it against you. So, I turned it around on them, but that was a decision that I made. I can sum up the reason why I did that using Whitlock’s favorite rapper Jay Z.
Hov’ is back, life stories told through rap
You acting like I sold you crack
Like I told you sell drugs; no, Hov’ did that
So hopefully you won’t have to go through that
Just like Doug Williams, Randall Cunningham, Vince Young, Warren Moon, Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick and many others had to suffer through horrible prejudice and stereotypes — not just from fans but media and teams– to make sure someone like Terrelle Pryor wouldn’t have to.
If you asked those nine quarterbacks that started this weekend do they like being called Black Quarterbacks, I know the answer you will get.
We are in a Golden Age, but not because of Black Quarterbacks. It’s because coaches and teams aren’t as stubborn and implement systems that work the best for the Quarterbacks they have.
Doesn’t matter if it is Drew Brees, Colin Kaepernick or Tom Brady. There is a reason Brees has had more success with the Saints than the Chargers and it starts with Sean Payton. You play to your strengths, no one cares about your race. Ask Matt Flynn if he is getting any white privileges in the NFL.
The media drives the Black Quarterback storyline into the ground partly because of ignorance and partly because, frankly, it drives ratings. It is the new Skiptizing of the media we live in. It is the same way every white WR is compared to Wes Welker, even if he plays nothing like Wes Welker. Lazy age of journalism, that is more shock than substance.
This is only my opinion, and you are free to have yours (even Whitlock). It is my belief that until I don’t have to write articles like this, we truly haven’t moved on to a point that quarterbacks, regardless of their race, should be judged equally on what they do on the field and on the field only.
Charlie Ward went on to have a pretty decent career in the NBA, and I am sure he wonders from time to time, what it would have been like to compete in………..
The Golden Age of Athletic Quarterbacks Who Are Also Excellent Passers