Straight No Chaser: VY’s Anatomy

By Desi Cortez
Updated: September 12, 2008

DENVER – Maybe the booing and jeering coming from the hometown fans will serve as a swift kick in the gut for young Vince Young. Yes, the infamous 3 a.m. wake-your-ass-up-call…..

Vince, baby, everybody in the stands… they’re not your friends, and truthfully, they’re only fair weather fans, winning season fans to be blunt. You’d better accept that harsh reality son, or… you’re not going to make it in the NFL.

Not For Long, if you don’t get tough.

Vince, my man, you may not get this, but get this; you are, as a Black QB in the NFL, an endangered species — which the league and the sports fans throughout the jungle, don’t want to see grow in numbers, nor god forbid… prosper. Your success is something not everybody wants to see happen.

I know you want them to luv you, like they luv Tupac — but that ain’t the case with athletes. Your love, the love you get…is based on the uniform you can’t take off, the one you were born with. The luv you seek — is not based on what you did last Sunday, not what happened in a Bowl game years ago. Your hit records will not allow you to go on tour, playing to filled to capacity stadiums, for seasons to come.

This 6-foot-5, 235 pound momma’s boy needs to get tough. Not have his ma on the tube defending and protecting her baby boy. Papa Young needs to set his boy down, explain to him life — If you want to ride this train son, you’d better quickly, like over-blinking-night…grow up, and grow some thick-ass crocodile skin.

Most sports writers, as they do a drive-by on Vince, seldom explore the failure of the team, the revolving door for O-coordinators. They’d prefer to focus on the Black QB’s numbers, as if he draws up the gameplan, calls his own plays, blocks for himself, and catches his own passes.

Hardly ever do they dig a little deeper to understand the debutante personality these pampered little monsters display like a Vegas neon sign. Young, like so many Black gladiators, grew-up playing sports their mothers have no idea about, never played – and can’t enlighten their sons to the nuances of sports. The ‘way” to play, not just ‘how” to play.

There’s no crying in football! Are you crying son? There’s no crying in football !!

The excessive Soul Train dance line which struggles to form in the end zone after a TD, or in the center of the field when a cat makes a play — a play he’s paid to make — is a reflection of, I’m getting old, but also, in part, fatherless homes where boys are not taught to how to play the game by a guy who played the game.

How to win, and most important, how to lose.

As if you couldn’t guess, Vince’s father, not really around during his childhood or college days. You know the script; Momma and momma’s mother — Big Momma raised Vince, along with Aunt Johnny Mae, Aunt Earlene, Aunt Augusta, Aunt Ophia and Aunt Pearl……don’t forget Nana.

Maybe, just maybe — this cycle of pain and poverty, of man-less Afro-American homes…is apart of the problem. Maybe this pattern is not a inherently “Black Thang” . Might it be, in great part, the culmination of our fourth class experience here in the land of freedom and liberty?

There are more than a few reasons why the Black family is in a continual critical condition; one of those reasons — the Black male has been under attack since 1619, and today after four centuries, it has all taken a grave toll on the mental and emotional mindset of Black folks.

We’ve been tore down, trained and conditioned to, as Chris Rock stated — react to books like Superman reacts to kryptonite, like a mole to light, like a cat to water, like a balloon in at a porcupine convention, like a …you get the picture.

BET, MTV, HBO, all three are dreadfully the baby-sitters for a entire generation of Black America has provided an around-the-clock glorification of pimps, thugs and gangsters for young mildly educated minds to absorb , and soak it all up they’ve done.

We’ve now a generation of academic underachievers, meatheads, rock heads, knuckleheads who simply don’t value knowledge. There’s no honor among hoodlums and ho’s…….

Heartbreakers and life-takers, like the cats who killed Shaun Taylor and shot Richard Collier.

This dysfunctional environment is responsible for the weaknesses and flaws we see in young Black folks. From Vince’s Michael Jackson like sensitivity ….to the reckless, rudderless ignorant behavior of man-cubs like the Broncos’ Brandon Marshall here in the Mile-Hi metropolis – these weaknesses reflect, at least in part…the tragedy of babies having babies, having babies, with no good man in site to teach a man to …be a man.

A dad’s not mandatory, but a good one sure-in-the-hell helps…..

Now, I understand I’m not suppose to go here, but I question Vince’s cerebral abilities, based on his so-low you couldn’t get a dwarf under it Wonderlic score…. there’s some connection between that number, and his on-field numbers, be it was six or a 16.

Had Dante Marino, the greatest QB I’ve ever seen thread a needle…. not scored in the single digits – I could make a bigger argument out of this. But, being smart is not a determent to a QB, who can’t help but benefit from the knowledge, discipline attained when one succeeds in the classroom.

Obviously. scholarly achievement, knowing “how to” study and organize ones thoughts and notes is an asset in understanding NFL playbooks – which resemble Big Apple phone books.

If this big cat is as sharp as a bowling ball…then I can’t help but assign the blame to his family, the Houston Public Schools, the family preacher and the University of Texas, who had to know this man couldn’t spell “the” – but passed him on, minimized if not ignored his ridiculously low academic skills, because somehow it benefited them.

Intelligence is something you construct, build upon brick-by-brick, class by class, not some item you go purchase when you sign your first million dollar contract.

Early on, folks around Young most likely realized he had the athletic skills to pay a lot of bills, buy a lot of meals….so he was passed on. Pimped, exploited if you will….

Like so many, Young may not have been prepared to learn. His academic record makes him a big ass target for the Black quarterback haters who dot the stadium and populate the nation.

They will ignore his lack of targets on the outside, and completely ignore the pressure a racist press corp place on these mobile quarterbacks to stay-in-the-pocket, trying to prove the nay-sayers wrong, when they should take off for the first down.

But, once more, this is the NFL. Everybody on the field was All-State, All-Conference, All-American, All every-damn-thing you can think of in high school and college. The difference in the NFL between players is mental capabilities; attitude and heart…end of story.

If Vinny does not grasp this simple thought, it will be the end of the Vince Young story long before any of us could have imagined ……