Tuesday, September 25, 2007


There has been a bit of a brouhaha this past week over comments made by Donovan McNabb that black quarterbacks receive more scrutiny than their white counterparts. A number of writers have taken issue with Donny Mac, partially because the comment can be construed as an attack on the press - a statement that the press treats the two groups differently. I don't think McNabb was trying to be quite so specific as to single out the press.

And while I don't think McNabb's comments are completely accurate, I take a dissenting view from many of the other press who feel that McNabb is being overly sensitive to the criticisms and complaints that come with playing in Philadelphia. To wit - until recently, Michael Vick was often praised as the most exciting player in the NFL...in spite of the fact that he is a horrible quarterback. McNabb, who has been a perennial pro-bowler, however, has been slammed... Ironically, not by the predominantly white press, but by African American civil rights leaders who seem hell-bent on perpetuating an athletic stereotype on the football field. For whatever reason that I cannot fathom, Vick seems to merit the same organization's sympathies in spite of giving the African-American community in the South a black-eye (no pun intended - and more on Vick later).

Do I think black quarterbacks get an unfair amount of scrutiny? Only in as much as there have been fewer successful ones - but that's attributable to the total number of black men who have been allowed to play the position on the professional level. The jury is still out on Vince Young, Tavaris Jackson, David Garrard, and Jason Campbell. Byron Leftwich is still a work in progress and is not going to be helped by playing behind Atlanta's porous offensive line. Daunte Culpepper is a one-time league MVP, but is at the tail-end of his effectiveness due to injuries. Steve McNair can still win games, but has also struggled in recent years due to injuries (and don't be surprised if the injury bug causes him to miss significant time this season as well).

Fifteen, even twenty years ago when it was Doug Williams, Randall Cunningham, and Warren Moon and no others, color was a common issue in the criticism of those in the position. Just ask Doug Williams who was famously asked, "how does it feel to be a black quarterback?"

Now...less so. Just ask Rex Grossman.

Race II

Nike, the company with the horrible human rights record in Southeast Asia, has introduced the first sneaker ever designed for a specific racial demographic's feet. The shoe is designed specifically for the feet of Native Americans.
A strong emphasis was placed on providing a performance product that would cater to the specific needs of Native American foot shapes and help provide motivation to Native Americans predisposed to, or suffering from, health issues that can be improved by leading physically active lifestyles.
Evidently Nike, a company that makes shoes narrower than a Boston back alley, has created a shoe for the Native population which they say is a broader than the average foot of the European descended citizens of the United States.

As someone whose ancestors come from Ireland and Italy and has trouble finding comfortable sneakers and shoes due to his EE-width foot, may I be the first to say...Fuckers.

I admire the fact that Nike is trying to support the Native American communities (proceeds go to programs on Native American lands that leverage sport to promote an active and healthy lifestyle), but given Nike's track record in other parts of the world, I can almost picture a very inappropriate marketing session as they try to name the shoe -

"Hmmmm...how about the Nike Wahoo?"

"Nah, too Cleveland."

"Nike Redskin?"

"Too Washington."

"Nike Reservation?"

"Too passive."

"Air Tonto?"

"Current generation wouldn't get the reference."

"Well we have to do something that references the Native American community."

"That's it!"

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