September 18, 2007

He plays in Philly for heaven's sake! What's he expect?

Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles thinks he and other black quarterbacks get more scrutiny than their white counterparts:

In an interview on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” to be broadcast Tuesday, McNabb said black quarterbacks “have to do a little bit extra” because there are relatively few of them, adding “people didn’t want us to play this position.”

McNabb said if he passes for 300 yards and his team wins by a touchdown, critics will say, “Oh, he could have made this throw here. We would have scored more points if he would have done this.”

Asked if white quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer are held to the same standards, McNabb replied: “Let me start by saying, I love those guys. But they don’t get criticized as much as we do. They don’t.”

Is McNabb, when he says "people didn’t want us to play this position," referring to the past or the present? If he's talking about thirty years ago, he might have a point. I'm sure the first black QB ever to start an NFL game -- one of my childhood sports heroes, Grambling grad and LA Rams quarterback James Harris -- dealt with real pressure and criticism, not to mention outright racism. But now? If McNabb is referring to the present, who exactly doesn't want him (and other black QBs) to play that position?

Second, how precisely does Donovan know that he and the other black QBs are criticized more than Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer? Does he regularly monitor the Indianapolis (Manning) and the Cincinnati (Palmer) press? Not to mention that of other cities?

Lastly, his comment about being criticized despite a huge passing game and winning by a TD just reveals how tough it is to play in Philly. Face it -- Philly is the toughest city in which to play a sport as a pro athlete! Hell, Philly fans would boo the Eagles if they were up by 31 but let the other team creep a couple TDs closer in the waning minutes of the game. They'd boo the Phillies if they won the World Series in six games instead of five because they happened to blow a big lead in that fifth game. They'd criticize the Flyers for allowing a shorthanded goal despite them winning by four. Remember: This is the town that booed Santa Claus.

Black QBs, still relatively rare, surely might be scrutinized more than the more numerous white QBs, but criticized is a whole other matter. Hell, Rush Limbaugh was promptly canned by ESPN -- not because he criticized Donovan -- but because he pointed out that (in his opinion) since the media wanted to see McNabb succeed so badly, Donovan was hence "overrated." (Limbaugh did indeed believe McNabb wasn't that great of a QB, but that wasn't the issue in that "controversy.") Feel free to argue the point, but considering how the MSM is so politically correct when dealing with race, he definitely had some degree of a point. But notice I said MSM. Local Philly media is as hard on 'ol Don as anyone else who plays sports in Philly. All one has to do is listen to WIP sports radio on a daily basis.

Posted by Hube at September 18, 2007 07:19 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I had this conversation with a Cock-a-roach, I mean Cowboys fan today. Naturally, he layed into Mc Nabb (I had to separate the spelling because muNu flagged it!) as a crybaby. While I didn't go to that extreme, I did agree that he (Mc Nabb) oversimplified the issue. I think you and I agree as well.

I think that because he is exposed to the Philly media on a regular basis, he experiences that criticism on such a normal occasion, that he mistakes it for the conclusion he made. You're right, how does he know what Manning goes through (or used to go through before the 2006 season) in Indy? How about what Bledsoe probably went through at the end of his starting days in NE? Better yet, Ryan Leaf in any city? Oh...Wade Wilson when he was hurt in New Orleans?

Yes, I will concede that black QB v White QB are likely scrutinized differently for whatever reason, and I am not saying that is fair. Criticized, though? I don't think so. I prefer to think one of two things of his assessment: he mistook scrutiny for criticism, or he is so beaten down by the Philly media (and fan interaction with them), he believes that part represents the whole. I wouldn't necessarily blame him for the latter, either.

P.S.: Sorry I won't see you at golf tomorrow. Enjoy the shin-dig!

Posted by: r smitty at September 18, 2007 08:52 PM

Eagle fans have even booed Santa Claus and were the only major sports team with their own jail in the stadium.

Posted by: Duffy at September 19, 2007 07:50 AM

What kind of treatment did Randall Cunningham get when he took over from Jaworski? I wouldn't know, being a Redskins fan, but I'm pretty sure he was always well-regarded by Philly fans. I can't believe Cunningham isn't in the Hall, but I guess never making it to the Super Bowl will do that.

Posted by: G Rex at September 19, 2007 02:57 PM