Monday, October 17, 2011

Roy Johnson raises the stakes in the race-baiting game

ESPN employs some dude named Roy Johnson who I hadn't heard of before finding this article. As far as I can tell he's here to pick up where Jemele Hill left off. Because I've seen some people play the race card inappropriately over the years, but this is a whole new deal right here. Roy is raising the stakes. He's not fucking around. The article is actually more than a month old, but it's plenty relevant now because of the ol' QB shuffle going on in Denver.

Tim Tebow ought to go out and get a big ole tattoo.

Hopefully you can already tell where this is going. What if Mike Vick were white? What if Tebow were black? WHAT IF DANNY WOODHEAD WERE AN ALIEN???

And have his ear pierced while he's at it. (Better yet, some other much more intriguing body part.)

His butt?

Heck, he might as well do something a few NFL owners (or at least one) seem to believe is associated with some fan-unfriendly aspect of black culture.

Assuming you're talking about Jerry Richardson, look, Jerry Richardson is a cunt. It's unfair to bring him up in an article like this because Richardson's actual racism is shocking enough to most educated people in the year 2011 to lend false credibility to your completely insane point. It's a classic red herring. "Hey, here's a bunch of mindless bullshit about how people unfairly hate on black QBs, BUT KEEP IN MIND THAT THERE IS ONE VERY RACIST OWNER OUT THERE."

Because the way he's been talked about in recent weeks, you'd think the Denver Broncos' third-string (or 2.5-string) quarterback was black.

Oh brother.

"He can't play. He can't throw. … What [former Broncos coach] Josh McDaniels saw in him God only knows. Maybe God does know -- because the rest of us don't." -- Former NFL QB and current radio host Boomer Esiason

Which is exactly what people say about black QBs? Look, Tebow can play (inasmuch as that means that he can stay on the field, not fuck up too much, occasionally succeed, etc.), but he can't throw (not against this level of competition), and yes, only God knows why Josh "Hey Denver I'm just here to ruin your football team for the next five to eight years don't mind me" McDaniels made him a first round pick. Boomer is being plenty fair there.

And that's just a dab of the criticism/hate-ism spiraled at Tebow throughout this labor-truncated NFL offseason. (You should see what my editors took out.)

Your editors didn't take anything out and we all know it. Actually it would be pretty sweet if an editor made Johnson remove someone else's quote that was like "TEBOW IS A NO-GOOD CRACKER" but I doubt that happened.

Was any single player more debated, dissected and derided as all the prognosticators assessed the goings-on leading us to Week 1 of 2011?

He was debated and dissected because he's a lightning rod for attention and has been since 2007. He was derided because 1) there are plenty of knowledgeable people out there who say he can't play QB in the NFL, yet he was on the verge of being given the starting job in Denver and 2) people like seeing players who are lightning rods for attention like Tebow fail. Here's why he wasn't debated, dissected, or derided: because he is white, or not black, or secretly Mexican.

The only ones who come close are black:

Peyton Manning, Jay Cutler, and Ben Roethlisberger! Of course!

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam (the tattoo-less) Newton

Who was scrutinized like noted black QB Sam Bradford before him because Newton was the #1 overall pick in the draft.

and Oakland Raiders QB Terrelle (no priors) Pryor -

Who wasn't scrutinized; the Raiders were merely laughed at for using a supplemental draft pick to make Pryor the most predictable and typical Raider in the history of Raiderdom.

both of whom are rookies and thus expectedly subject to the kind of annual pre-draft what-they-can't-do scrutiny typically reserved for the privacy of your doctor's office.

The same kind of scrutiny white rookie QBs get.

You might add to the list Michael Vick, whose biggest "SportsCenter" offseason move was signing a $100 million (but not really) contract extension that prompted many to debate whether the resurrected and rehabilitated Philadelphia Eagles quarterback deserved to be the highest-paid QB in the world not named Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.

Oh come fucking on. First of all, 90% of the offseason press about Vick was positive. Second of all, any debate about whether the contract was a good idea for the Eagles had to do with only one of the two following questions. See if you can identify it. Can Vick stay healthy? Have you noticed that Vick is black?

Vick's new deal coincided with a firestorm of a story in ESPN The Magazine that carried the headline: "What if Michael Vick were white?"

Which was a pretty simple and overplayed article that mostly hammered home the idea that most black kids in America grow up in a different environment than most white kids, and as a result they encounter more obstacles and challenges. Didn't really have anything to do with Vick's playing style or the non-existant criticism thereof that Johnson seems to want to make us believe exists. In fact, the "What If?" article can be best summarized by these two passages:

But after his arrest for dogfighting, so many people asked: Would a white football player have gotten nearly two years in prison for what Vick did to dogs?

This question makes me cringe. It is so facile, naive, shortsighted and flawed that it is meaningless. Whiteness comes with great advantages, but it's not a get-out-of-every-crime-free card. Killing dogs is a heinous crime that disgusts and frightens many Americans. I'm certain white privilege would not be enough to rescue a white NFL star caught killing dogs.

Yes. And:

And to those who believe we should judge a man by how he responds when dealing with the worst life has to offer -- with how he climbs after he hits rock bottom -- Michael Vick has become heroic.

And that has nothing to do with race.

Exactly. Trying to lump that article in with this one is a fucking farce.

(The piece was accompanied by a brilliant, if somewhat pale, photo illustration portraying what Vick might look like as a white man. As I said, brilliant.)


Well, what if Tebow were black?

Nothing? I think that's the answer to this question. "Nothing" if Tebow were black.

Now before you get all fired up and start rolling your eyes over yet another story tainting our precious sports landscape with "race" droppings, relax: It's all in fun.

Ah my bad, I thought we were playing for keepsies.

/takes back money and bag of own blood from center of table, puts into pocket

It's also very hard to throw around the idea that a white QB is being criticized for playing like black QBs for get criticized for being black and say that "Hey now, just messin' around. Don't get all hot under the collar, country that kind of sucks at dealing with racial issues."

Tebow, the Broncos' 2010 No. 1 draft pick (25th overall), just may be the most popular human in at least two states (Colorado and Florida).

And for good reason: He's probably the second-best college football player in history (behind Herschel Walker) or maybe third (Lord, I wish there was film of Jim Thorpe).

At the University of Florida he: (A) stayed four years; (B) generated 9,286 passing yards, 2,947 rushing yards and 145 touchdowns; (C) played on two national champion teams; and (D) won the Heisman as a sophomore.

He's also the guy your momma wishes you were: a devout, God-fearing young man who does missionary work in foreign orphanages, for goodness' sake.

Which makes him absolutely identical to someone... another pro athlete.... who am I trying to think of?

If he were black, he might have been … Tiger Woods.

Yeah! Tiger Woods! That was it! He stayed in college for two years and really didn't have an off the course reputation until late 2009 when he revealed himself to be kind of a scumbag, but yeah, Tebow's just like that. Except more whiter.

But, uh, never mind.

Shut up.

Tebow's leadership talents and personal integrity are unchallenged.

His football skills?

Now that's what riles people up -- especially those folks who say he's already an NFL bust. Ryan Leaf with a halo.

Ah yes, exactly. A draft bust of a QB who couldn't cut it in the big time, like Leaf, or Joey Harrington, or Cade McNown, or Kyle Boller, or David Carr, or Tim Couch, or dozens of other guys who AREN'T BLACK.

Or maybe Troy Smith, Vince Young, Jason Campbell, or Josh Freeman -- black QBs whose skills at times have been diminished because they didn't fit the mold of an elite NFL QB, an image that has been handed down and cherished since Johnny Unitas first struck the passing pose by which all subsequent quarterbacks are still measured.

Oh boy. This is where it gets rich.

Each of the four aforementioned quarterbacks have, to varying degrees, responded to their critics.

Yes, to varying degrees. Freeman has responded by being pretty good. Campbell has responded by being just good enough to kind of keep a starting job. Young has responded by basically washing out of football after five years, and Smith has responded by never being relevant in the first place. So, to summarize: all four of these guys have faced criticism, just like dozens of young white QBs over the years. One of the four has responded. Another has kind of responded. The other two suck balls. But let's hear about how wonderful they all are, because surely this has something to do with Tebow and race.

At 6-foot, Smith, the 2006 Heisman winner and 2007 fifth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens simply wasn't NFL "big."

Yep. Correct. (Rest of praise for Smith omitted because he is a "never was" and any attempt by a sportswriter to make it sound like he's anything else will make you laugh out loud while you read this at work.)

Like Tebow, Campbell was the 25th overall pick in the draft (2005) and was largely said to lack the arm or the pedigree (his alma mater, Auburn, is no QB factory) to succeed at the get-paid (more) level. Yet he's started 64 games for Washington and Oakland, and will start for the Raiders on Sunday.

At this point he has started 70 games and won 31 of them while completing 60% of his passes and compiling a QB rating of about 83. In related news, the Raiders are now talking to David Garrard and Carson Palmer.

Young, for all the lows of recent seasons, hit the league like a lightning bolt -- despite those who scoffed at his awkward delivery and propensity to escape from the pocket like it was on fire when he still had time to throw. He was the Offensive Rookie of the Year and became a two-time Pro Bowler for the Tennessee Titans before his career spiraled downward due to problems on the field, and off.

He did hit the league like a lightning bolt. And then about three seasons later, the league had adjusted to him and he failed to return the gesture. As soon as the Eagles cut him,you can find him spending the rest of his life starring in car dealership and legal services commercials in the greater Austin/Dallas area. He's like a version of Troy Smith who was big enough to succeed in running people over for a couple years.

Freeman? Please? Just about any team other than New England or Philadelphia would take the rising young third-year Tampa Bay Buccaneers signal-caller who slipped to No. 17 in the 2009 draft despite a 124.73 passing rating at Kansas State.

Any team other than New England or Philadelphia or Green Bay or Pittsburgh or San Diego or Dallas or Detroit or Atlanta or New Orleans or St. Louis or maybe three or four other teams like the Giants and Chiefs would kill to have Freeman, I agree.

Look, what's the point of all this? Those four QBs took their lumps from the press when they entered the league. Tebow took his lumps from the press when he entered the league. Every single fucking quarterback takes their lumps when they enter the league and for the entire duration of their stay in the league. It's how things work and it has not a fucking thing to do with the color of their skin. Yes, Young and Campbell took their lumps for not having NFL-quality arms, as Tebow has. But those criticisms aren't racial in nature and if you can't see that you should be fed to bears. White QBs might usually face a different brand of criticism, but it's criticism all the same. Sheesh.

This isn't the Alphas, Kappas, or any of the other proud black national fraternities, but Tebow is unquestionably a member of this frat. He's just still being hazed.

Like Andy Dalton, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder once he gets on the field, Jake Locker once he gets on the field, etc., etc.

Now, some of his critics have a slight point. Tebow is a football freak, a 6-foot-3-inch, 245-pound force of nature who doesn't fit the textbook description of the QB position but scores touchdowns and wins football games anyway.

Clichce cliche cliche mindless bullshit that means nothing

He defies every convention and bowls over every coaching rule of thumb as if it were a teeny defensive back.

He runs first and throws with uncertainty.

He's a leg-QB, not an arm -- at least not an NFL-accurate one. Yet.


Each of those shortcomings has been levied as criticism for some black quarterback in recent seasons. Now, it's brother Tebow's turn.

And when white QBs who have good arms but no pocket presence and no ability to anticipate and avoid the blitz are criticized for that, uh... something.

I believe Tebow, in time, will indeed overcome his shortcomings and become a solid, capable NFL quarterback.

He has been a leader at every level.

And he has won at level.

Black or not, those attributes count more than any words -- as many of his brothers have shown.

Hoo hoo! HEY-OH! I see what he did there. But seriously, this is such fucking garbage. If Johnson's point were that black QBs tend to face a specific kind of criticism while white QBs tend to face another, and that Tebow's critics sound more like they're criticizing a black QB than a white QB, he'd be right. But that would be a pointless article and wouldn't give Johnson a chance to not-so-subtly whine that black QBs face more criticism than white QBs. What's maddening about the fact that he's sipping exactly that whine in this piece is that he defeats his own purpose by admitting that Tebow kind of sucks at throwing the ball right now.

There are so many layers of dumb to this that I can't spend any more time trying to parse it. Suffice it to say that Mike Vick is black and really good, Tim Tebow is white and not very good, Jason Campbell and Colt McCoy are different races but are both kind of shitty, and that 100% of NFL fans who are not racist fuckhats don't care about race.


Chris W said...

I prefer Ray Jay Johnson

Adam said...

I actually think if Tebow were black nobody would care about him.

HRosen said...

Re: Josh Freeman's 124.73 college QB rating: the NCAA calculates QB rating differently than the NFL resulting in much higher #s for college passers. Freeman's K State #s were actually mediocre for a 1st round pick: 44 TDs and 34 INTs. Tebow's college QB rating was over 170. So Freeman didn't drop to #25 DESPITE his QB rating, he was drafted so high IN SPITE of it.

Jacob. said...

The writers of this blog are undoubtedly racist in my mind. Not explicitly racist, but their general dismissal of and ignorance to racial issues and the racial stratification of U.S. society simply lends itself to a perpetuation of the status quo, i.e. a society founded on White privilege. I do think Roy Johnson missed the point here, and the point is that if Tim Tebow were Black, no one would care about him. At all. He certainly wouldn't have been a first round pick. Tim Tebow is basically a more powerful Vince Young, except everyone hates VY and everyone is obsessed with Tim Tebow. I'd also like to point out that Jason Campbell is actually a decent starting QB, I'm not sure what your issue with him is, and yes the Raiders talked to David Garrard and Carson Palmer after Campbell was INJURED FOR THE YEAR, you really need to get your shit together before making such abrasive and outlandish claims about the state of racial politics in our country. Finally, if you are so dead-set on Black and White athletes getting an equal shake, please explain to me Brian Scalabrine. Why is it that Brian Scalabrine, without question one of the worst players in the NBA throughout his entire career (other than one not entirely abysmal season with the new jersey nets), is not only still in the NBA, but is absolutely beloved? It's because he's White. When was the last time you saw fans chanting for DeSagana Diop or Earl Barron to check into the game? No, you fools, race remains a problem whether you want to see it or not.

Snarf said...


Your VY criticism is pretty hollow when you consider that VY was the #3 overall pick in the draft over whitey whitestein glory boy Matt Leinart, mind you.