Hey McNabb, Don’t Play The Race Card, Unless You Have A Full House

By Renee' West
Updated: December 15, 2005

ILLINOIS—When I lived in L.A. a prominent Black judge married a who’s who Black doctor in one of those ‘everybody was talkin’ like they’d been there when you knew they weren’t invited’ weddings. They went to Europe for their honeymoon, and I don’t mean for a week or two, and then they came back. And then she missed her call to the bench, and they found her huddled in the corner of her office. Depending on who was ‘givin’ the news’ she ‘was losing it, ‘had had a breakdown, or ‘was having trouble in the marriage.’ What I remember was another Black attorney telling the media, ‘what’s a shame is how the laundry is being aired.’ And that was the first thing that came to my mind when I read the letter J. Whyatt “Jerry” Mondesire, head of Philly’s NAACP, penned in the Philadelphia Sun to Eagles QB Donovan McNabb. And since I’ve had a lot to say about the Eagles this season, I’ll address Mondesire’s points as well as the bigger issues, playahating on our own, and reverse racism.

1. Black QB’s are gifted runners. By trying to play in the pocket McNabb becomes mediocre and the biggest affront to those great Black QB’s before him. I have to admit that was deep. In essence you deny the ethnic trait that makes you great to the point you discriminate against yourself. Before you dismiss it as malarkey, didn’t Atlanta Falcon QB Michael Vick want the media recently to acknowledge that he wasn’t just a running (Black) QB, he could also play in the pocket? And ever since he said that, his play has been mediocre.

2. If McNabb had shared his bonus with T.O. and Westbrook, the whole media circus around the Eagles this season could have been avoided. I don’t know how much McNabb makes or the amount of his bonus take. But, I have said before, and I will continue to say, I do not feel McNabb handled himself as a leader of the Eagles football team. There is a difference between ‘not stooping to someone’s level’ and ‘looking spineless.’ From the outside looking in it appeared that management told McNabb what would go down, and he just went ‘yes massa.’ (Yes, I say sports is high price slavery, but come on.) So how could one think it would cross his mind to share his money, or soup (Mondesire suggested that too), with anyone, or ever talk to management about team affairs? That’s not his nature. I would do it. I think Brett Farve should have done it with Javon Walker. I think it was intentional on Brett’s part that he didn’t do it.

Finally the two big issues that all the sports shows weren’t quite sure how to handle – Black folks talking about Black folks, and how would this fare if Mondesire were White. To the first, “I always thought the NAACP supported African Americans and didn’t talk bad about them,”Donovan McNabb, said in response to Mondesire.

Clarence Thomas. Condoleeza Rice. Colin Powell.

No, I’m serious. The fact that McNabb could even let those words come out of his mouth … I’m trying to figure out if he has any more points to lose with me. There is nothing wrong with us criticizing each other. There’s a difference between criticizing and airing dirty laundry. Mondesire was criticizing. Negroes were airing my Black judge’s laundry. We know where the line is.

For the second point. If Mondesire was Rush Limbaugh, would the criticism be racist? Absolutely. But I say so what. Black folks didn’t create the unlevel playing field. We weren’t the ones who said Blacks weren’t smart enough to be quarterbacks, or couldn’t be quarterbacks because they ran and didn’t stay in the pocket and pass like White quarterbacks, skipping 49′ers Steve Young and Bronco’s John Elway. So since we didn’t make the rules, we can just use them to hold others accountable when they break them.

Bottomline, Mondesire said things others have said and written already. Only reason I can figure his letter is a big deal is because he’s the head of the NAACP. Personally, it’s nice to see them taking an interest in something that’s not a photo op moment for a change. That’s criticism, not laundry.