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.