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Donovan McNabb: Shut Up or Get the Hell Out

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb is a black quarterback. According to him, he is first a black quarterback and secondly a quarterback for the Eagles. Any and all success he’s experienced has been because he’s black, too.

McNabb – who’s been struggling this season after major knee surgery nearly ten months ago – claims there’s a racial double standard in the NFL for black quarterbacks. The double standard? Black quarterbacks have to play a little harder to receive the respect and accolades that white quarterbacks such as Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer and Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning have in terms of public and media approval.

On HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, McNabb is quoted as saying: "There’s not that many African-American quarterbacks, so we have to do a little bit extra. Because the percentage of us playing this position, which people didn’t want us to play … is low, so we do a little extra."

I don’t know which century McNabb is living in because his comments belong in the pre-Jackie Robinson era, but not today. The list of successful black athletes in predominately white sports, such as golf (Tiger Woods) is a long one. But McNabb, through his ignorance, would trash Woods’ success simply because Woods worked harder than most anyone else – black or white – and reaped the rewards for his efforts.

When I was growing up, my father instilled in my head that because I was deaf, I needed to do better than most hearing people just to be considered as an equal. And he was right. Over the years, the more educated and successful I became along with the harder I worked, the more people were able to see beyond the fact that I’m deaf. Also, because of my father’s wisdom, I’ve managed to overcome many of the obstacles most deaf people face.

I don’t know. I’ve always had to work harder than most people to be considered an equal. I’m okay with that, too. It made me a better person. It also led me to pursue a dream in acquiring my doctorate, because I know I can do it. And I know I can do it because I’m smart enough to know that there are some things I have to work at to make me better as a writer, advocate, consultant, and human being.

I’m okay with putting in a little extra effort to be successful.

McNabb complains that the little “extra” that he has to do is somehow too much work for him. And I think he blames the fact he’s black for being lazy, although not directly. His claim that he has to work harder because he’s black makes him … well, what else?


More to the point, McNabb is playing the race card in hopes of deflecting his recent poor performances on the field. Meanwhile, Manning and Palmer have had wildly successful games thus far into the season.

McNabb played poorly in his team’s most recent loss to the Washington Redskins – whose own black quarterback, Jason Campbell, has been called the “next big thing” in the NFL by many pro football pundits – though he didn’t blame his being black for such a shoddy performance.

Meanwhile, Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young – who is also black – has been improving steadily, and is earning recognition around the NFL as a stellar player. Young – a second year player – has been widely praised for his athletic skills as much for his decision-making as a quarterback.

What's the old saying? Either lead, or follow, or get the hell out of the way.

McNabb’s basic problem as a football player has been his poor decision-making, and it’s followed him throughout his career. When the Eagles lost the 2004 Super Bowl to the New England Patriots, critics bashed McNabb’s poor performance, especially in the second half. McNabb blamed fatigue for his lackluster efforts during that game.

Maybe he was tired because he didn’t want to put in that little “extra” work? A little extra cardio-conditioning might’ve prevented him from being fatigued to the point where he nearly cost the Eagles the Super Bowl all by himself.

McNabb is being a hypocritical racist, blaming the white media for his own unrealistic expectations. But if a lazy quarterback thinks having to work hard to keep his job in the NFL is too much to ask, then maybe he ought to do us all a favor: get the hell out of the game.

Let somebody else who actually would be willing to work his butt off to become a starting quarterback in the NFL – white or black – because there are thousands of others who have the dream of making it to the NFL. McNabb is washed up. He’s been on a long, steady downward spiral since Terrell Owens left Philadelphia for Dallas.

When Owens left, McNabb became giddy at the prospect of being the only sheriff in town. Owens has enjoyed a productive stint in Dallas, and by early accounts, is slated to have another Pro Bowl season this year.

There is no racial double standard where McNabb is concerned. The only double standard here is McNabb and his performance: he complains too loudly for someone who has not been playing very well for a long time.

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About Paotie

  • Wow, you just contradicted your own opinion. You just said:

    When I was growing up, my father instilled in my head that because I was deaf, I needed to do better than most hearing people just to be considered as an equal. And he was right. Over the years, the more educated and successful I became along with the harder I worked, the more people were able to see beyond the fact that I’m deaf.

    McNabb never said that he didn’t want to put in the extra effort because he was black, but just like you and your hearing disorder there are already set notions, prejudices, and stereotypes that you have to overcome to be accepted in society. Your “extra effort” in life is no different from McNabb’s. So how can you criticize??

  • Do you want me to hold your hand while you read the article again?

    So what if he has to work a little “extra” to be successful in the NFL? Last I checked, it was virtually impossible for anyone to breeze through the NFL without any extra “effort.” Or needing any “extra” statistics to stay in the NFL, in which case, he’d just prove himself to be more of a selfish player than a team player. Either way, your contention I contradicted myself proved one thing clearly: you missed the point entirely.

    I worked harder because that’s what it took for me to achieve what I wanted in life. If you think McNabb needs a social hand-out to justify his poor performances, then you need to walk down to the welfare office and apply for food stamps and mail them to McNabb.

    And really, why aren’t we hearing LESS about JaMarcus Russell, Jason Campbell, Vince Young, et. al.? They probably do that little “extra” – even if it were because they’re black – and they’re being successful, and so we hear more about them.

    And it just so happens that Manning and Palmer are doing superb, too.

    What’s McNabb’s excuse?

    He sucks. He’s lazy. He wants a social hand-out. He’s the weakest link.




  • Austin

    Yep, contradictory. I am also deaf, and I always have to work harder than most hearing people to achieve what I want. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be given the treatment that most normal hearing people effortlessly get. What you said about the deaf part (of yourself) is basically the same thinking that McNabb has. I think you should’ve work out the logical reasoning a little bit better before presenting an argument in a clear way in order to prove your point.

  • What the hell did you just say?

    “Otherwise, I wouldn’t be given the treatment that most normal hearing people effortlessly get.”

    What do “most normal hearing people effortlessly get?”

    If you’re talking about jobs, there is no such thing, or go ask a black man about racial discrimination. Or go ask a woman about pay wage differentials. Or go ask a NCAA Division III football player who aspires to make it into the NFL.

    All of these people have to do that little “extra” to get what they seek in life – even if they have “extra” standards to overcome.

    You’re whining and complaining – just like McNabb.



  • mylow young

    briefly, blacks unlike anybody else in this country have had to work harder than their white counterparts to succeed at anything. because of the world we still do live in, whites are generally picked first, chosen first, intervied first, and on and on. again, i say generally because there are always isolated incidents. this is still a racist world that we live in. i don’t complain or blame anyone, it’s just a fact that stems from slavery. this said, we as a people need to move on with that fact. sometimes idon’t think we should accept it but we must live withit. i myself would never have said that if i was Mcnabb because everything he says gets scrutinized, anylized, etc. he made life a lot worse for himself. i did say briefly didn’t i?

  • Austin

    Again, you miss the point.

    Of course, there are people at different levels of life, from bottom to top.

    The point is: when somebody is at that level, there is a variation of treatment going on.

    How that person got to the level has nothing to do with your argument: “If you’re talking about jobs, there is no…”

    You are so far away right now.

    When I say “effortlessly”, it comes with prejudice. High school setting is a great example where some people are treated royally because of some silly aspect whileas the others are not because of some discerning aspect. That’s equally translated to everywhere else in America. Rare examples are when those who really work hard and reach very far in life such that the discerning aspect vanishes.

    This will be my last post because you, Paotie, are a terrible writer and worse than that, a moronic defender.

    You need to learn to be a lot more humble and less bitter when you take in defeat. Your initial story was 100% contradictory.

  • RJ

    “There’s not that many African-American quarterbacks, so we have to do a little bit extra. Because the percentage of us playing this position, which people didn’t want us to play … is low, so we do a little extra.”

    Hmm. Six starting QBs in the NFL are black, correct? (I mean, when they are healthy…you know, McNair is injured, Tarvaris Jackson is supposedly injured, and McNabb himself is hobbled.)

    Six QBs divided by 32 teams = approximately 19%.

    And the percentage of blacks in the US population is approximately 13%, correct?

    So, how in the hell is this evidence of an under-representation? Or are blacks just assumed to be more athletic than whites (or Asians, or Hispanics, or…)? And if that is the case, isn’t that assumption evidence of racism itself?

  • DreMo

    “McNabb is playing the race card in hopes of deflecting his recent poor performances on the field”

    Really? This taping ocurred in August. In the midst of camp break. BEFORE THE SEASON. Like someone once said, you have a responsibility to learn the facts. If not…then you have a responsibility to shut up. The latter applies here beacuse your reasoning is pretty awful.

  • “Anybody who doubts McNabb needs only to walk around one of the upper-concourse areas of Lincoln Financial Field late in a game when, as several white friends have told me, the frequent use of the word “NIGGER” preceding McNabb’s name during a losing performance is so casual it sickens them. REX GROSSMAN, just to name one white quarterback who has to deal with daily criticism, doesn’t have to be on the wrong end of that kind of hateful venom, even though he’ll never be HALF THE QUARTERBACK McNabb has been.”

    Just those HARD NOSED Philly fans, eh? Rexy has never been to the Pro Bowl has he?

    “Black quarterbacks have come a long, long way. Just seeing James Harris and Williams play in the 1970s brought black folks to tears.”

    So the days of owners being afraid to draft black quarterbacks or coaches being afraid to play them seems long gone.

    “But that doesn’t mean the criticism or scrutiny is the same on the outside. For the most part, people younger than 30 could not care less, largely because they don’t know the history of any sport beyond last week, and sadly this includes sportswriters and players. But there are plenty of people older than 30, people who don’t even examine what they’re saying. Is this a huge deal? No, probably not. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, and McNabb simply stated that. He didn’t say it angrily, he didn’t say he wanted to take up arms and attack The Man. He just said black quarterbacks are scrutinized and criticized more than their white frat QB brothers — in other ways, too. As my friend Tony Kornheiser points out, black franchise quarterbacks also have been criticized by black fans and players for not being “black enough” and being too close to white ownership.”

    “What really annoys me is that some young black quarterbacks don’t seem to have any idea of the context of the issue. Don’t get me wrong, it was great to hear Tennessee’s Young and the Redskins’ Jason Campbell (two kids who played quarterback in the South) say they hadn’t faced any particularly stinging criticism. It’s yet another sign of great progress. But there also was a naivete about their comments, especially Young’s, when he said the notion of black quarterbacks dealing with unfair criticism is “not my fight to fight.”

    “Of course, it isn’t. Harris, Joe Gilliam, Marlin Briscoe, Moon and Williams, among others, fought it so that Young wouldn’t have to. They changed positions and missed out on playing time and left the country so that this wouldn’t be an issue in 2007. And for Young to say something that self-absorbed, that ignorant of the history of the men who made it possible for him, is disappointing to the extreme. Young is obliged to those men, the same way Tiger Woods is obliged to Charlie Sifford and Lee Elder and Calvin Peete. Difference is, Tiger says so every chance he gets. Tiger knows who fought the fight for him. Young, sadly, doesn’t. Somebody should get in his ear and make sure he understands . . . before he takes the field again.”

    “Vince Young hasn’t heard the boos, hasn’t heard the ugly and vicious catcalls that address his heritage and color . . . not yet anyway. He led the University of Texas to a national championship and presented himself as everything the position of quarterback demands. He got to the NFL and at Tennessee has in short order been exactly what a team wants in a young franchise quarterback. But it’s not always going to be kisses and candy. It wouldn’t be if Young were white, either. But very likely one day, he’s going to read something, see something, hear something that lets him know that there’s a gap between progress and conditions being the same. And his instinct will be, quite naturally, to pick up the phone and call somebody who’s been through what he’s going through, somebody like McNabb, whose words might make a little more sense to him then.”

    If Tiger Woods, Barry Bomds, Michael Vick can be poster biys for the news no matter good (Tiger) controversial, (Bonds) or bad (Vick) isn’t it interesting that they have all had a taste of the “N” card? Vince Young is a baby. He hasn’t felt it …yet. His commenst were silly, and (obviously) pre-mature. He is a 21-22 year old kid. I laughed when I heard him because he is still growing up.

  • And I will take 5 Prow Bowls, 5 Division titles, 3 Conf Champ appearances, a 4,000 yard season, a career 84.8 passer rating (Higher than Grossman, Eli or Harrington, and on par with Brett Favre-85.0), 1 conf Champ, multiple 300 and 400 yard passing games without an all star receiver (like Palmer, Manning and Brady have…hec even Eli and Rex have better wideouts) and 1 Superbowl appearance for being (yeah, sigh) “Lazy”. Silly. Football commentary is not your thing.

  • Judy

    That’s so crazy to say Vince Young hasn’t experienced much criticism. I would say the attacks on his Wonderlich score alone are more than McNablb has ever had to deal with. He has been criticized like all black QB’s since he started playing. He just has been taught by his family and Steve McNair to focus on winning. I don’t have a problem with McNabb’s statement, but let each player deal with the criticism as they see best. (Knowing Vince’s temper, he probably would just slug some people if he let himself dwell on it!)

    I find it ironic, that some of those who express the most dismay at black QB’s being criticized want to turn and criticize another black QB.

  • Judy. The wonderlich score is only the “surface”. I know Vince Young has faced his share of undue criticism, it is just a matter if you are willing to point it out. Put it this way, he calmed himself when in the QB battle at Texas (as a frosh and soph) with a blue-colar white kid named Chance Mock. Vince eventually won it because of a combination of people seeing that he was clearly better, and Chance Mock not being a good QB for that team.

    It will come out later. It alawys does. Jerome Bettis, Tiki Barber, etc are willing to talk about controversial matters that they experienced while they were playing AFTER they leave the game.

    Don used to be the “company man” doing as his coach told him & shutting up, letting TO throw him under the bus, while hearing the disproval for a team and in a city that he has just led to the SB, though they lost. If he wsnt any good, he wouldnt be with the same team he has been with for the last nine years knowing that Philly fans are throwing N bombs his way (Did you know at the Vet there was a jail inside the stadium the fans were so violent?).

    This is not peachtree city USA. The N-bombs, irrational fans, sportscasters, innate coach, lack of a #1 receiver (Kevin Curtis was #3 in St Louis, and Philly deems him a #1..when he wouldnt be a #1 on most teams in the NFL), and B. Westbrook as the only help he has.

    The front office wants a winner…but has invested in talent costing less than a chicken dinner and buusy recycling talent from other teams and expecting top tier results.

    This is more the creation of the Front Office and leading to Donovan’s stance and being upset. Steve McNair won’t let it distract his play. Watch it come out when he retires. Ray Lewis brought up the same bone of contention regarding how McNair was treated when locked out of Tennessee while they tried to restructure his deal.

    Locked OUT!?!? McNair was teh franchise, and I am sure the Titans learned a lesson with the way they mis-handled the situation. As bad as guys like Rex Grossman, Eli Manning are, you wont see that ocurring (locked out). The same happened a year later to Daunte Culpepper as he essentially was a has-been in Miami and was shunned from practice. For a guy (Trent Green) that was shunned in KC, but yet still very involved until the day he left for Miami.

    Pretty ridiculous. If you dont learn anything from history, you are bound to repeat it. And its ugly head continues.

    Hey, McNabb is the ONLY QB from the 99 draft with his orginal team. (sigh)

    “Of the five quarterback picks of the 1999 draft, only Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles is officially a starting quarterback as of August 2007. However, even McNabb’s status may be tentative as he has now failed to finish three of the preceding five seasons due to injuries, though he is the only one of the five to get his team into the Super Bowl (XXXIX, Feb. 6, 2005, v. Patriots, lost 24-21).”

    Here are numbers comparison

    QB A-
    2002 – 60.8%/3284/17TD-16int/76.9rating (01-94.9)
    2003 – 57.6%/2108/11TD-15int/67.5rating
    2004 – 65.5%/3159/27TD-7int/104.8rating
    2005 – 64.6%/3576/24TD-15int/89.2rating

    QB B-
    2001 – 57.8%/3233/25Td-12int/84.9rating
    2002 – 58.4%/2289/17TD-6int/86.0rating (01-84.3)
    2003 – 57.5%/3216/16TD-11int/79.6rating
    2004 – 64.0%/3875/31TD-8int/104.9rating
    2005 – 59.1%/2475/16TD-9int/85.0rating

    Which is which. One is regarded as a top 5 NFL QB. These numbers are pretty comparable until you put the “brush” to it.

    QB A is Drew Brees, B is Donovan McNabb. But yet as many like to think…Mcnabb stinks, but this guy Drew Brees (who demanded to be remeasured at the combine coming out of college because he was measured at 5-11, not 6-0).

  • RJ

    Lions by 3.

  • RJ

    I’m sorry. I meant Eagles by 30.

    Damn typos… :-/

  • Yep. Those typos alright. Donovan McNabb has a perfect QB rating today. 158.8, higher than any other QB. Is he a whiner now? He has consistenly performed like this. It will only get better.

  • Paotie….”He sucks. He’s lazy”

    Really? 21-26/381, 4TD’s 0ints? Wow. Yeah, he really stinks. And that is not his best ever.

    Try 2004 – 467 yards vs Green Bay
    2006 – 434 yards vs Dallas after TO left.

    Hmmm…yeah, he does “suck” alright.

  • RJ

    Kitna passed for more yards today…and Brady threw for just as many touchdowns.

    McNabb is sometimes good and sometimes not. Like most quarterbacks. (Tom Brady, however, is always perfect.)

  • “Tom Brady, however, is always perfect.”

    easy to be perfect when you the know the plays the defense is coming with

  • Martin Lav

    Good article Paotie…..these guys are all smacking on you because that’s what they do. They only love you when you win. Period. Don’t matter the color of your skin, just win baby. Dononvan got tired at the end of the superbowl game and threw the ball away. That lazy QB typical of most lazy QB’s is just trying to use a crutch like any good losing QB. Look at Payton a couple years ago when he threw his offensive line under the bus for not protecting him.
    “Listen, I’m trying to be a good teammate here”.
    He couldn’t say it was harder for him because he’s white, although he could say it’s harder for him because of his last name. Did he say that? Now he said you can’t complete passes from your backside.

  • DreMo

    Yes, Kitna passes for more yards, and Brady more TD’s…neither one of them had a “perfect QB” rating for the day. Neither one. 158.3 baby. Zero picks and 4 incompletions.

    Look up perfect QB rating and see what I mean. Neither Brady nor Kitna had it that day.

  • alessandro

    Yeah but Tom Brady is soooo dreamy.

  • Dan

    Mcnabbs stellar performance Sunday lifted his career QB rating to 85.5. That’s above Brett Favre’s 85.2.

    On the negative side though, QB’s who played Sunday and have higher career QB ratings:

    Carson Palmer 91.9
    Brent Rothlesberger 89.0
    Peyton Manning 94.6
    Tom Brady 89.9
    Drew Brees 86.0
    Marc Bulger 90.2
    Daunte Culpepper 90.7
    Jay Cutler 86.8
    Jeff Garcia 86.8
    Trent Green 87.1
    Chad Pennington 90.1
    Phillip Rivers 90.3
    Tony Romo 98.6
    Kurt Warner 94.2
    Matt Hasselbeck 85.5 (tied)

  • Dan, does your comment elevate McNabb, or just tear down Favre? 😉

  • Donovan

    Hey dawg I just read yo article. I think dats preposterouz wut yo saying. I aintz lazy and i aintz stoopid, i just dont like workin hard let alone workin at all yo. If dat westbrook would stop gettin hurt maybe i could stop throwin dirtballs.

  • Say WHAT?

    Yes, but you cannot compare deing deaf to being black. Being deaf is a physical handicap; being black is not. Society has tried to make it so, so in the eyes of some, it is a social handicap, but only in the minds of a narrow-minded few. I don’t even like McNabb, but don’t compare his skin color with your physical shortcomings.

  • Chris

    Everything isn’t always about race…but sometimes it is. The “Stop playing the race card” card is sometimes played more than the race card itself. Saying his comments belonged in the pre-Jackie Robinson era, when racism is far from over and when Warren Moon wasn’t even given a chance or drafted because of his skin color is laughable. The guy had to play in Canada and then come back to be somewhat respected..and we still don’t hear about him as much despite what he accomplished

    Idk if the double standard people hold McNabb is due to the color of his skin..I can’t read people’s minds. But I do know that people hold a different standard with McNabb. In Philly…he was the scapegoat for every loss no matter how well he did. The guy has accomplished way more than Carson Palmer, Romo, and others..yet people place a lot of Qbs ahead of him. His touchdown to interception ratio is VERY respectable..and he gets no credit. 4 back to back NFC championships and everyone treats it like what he did was easy. The guy deserves WAY more credit than he gets and he doesn’t