Kill The Ghost!!

By Gary Norris Gray, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: May 1, 2010

CALIFORNIA (BASN) — Many years ago my godmother, Sue Johnson-Robinson, would tell me to “Kill The Ghost!!”

As a child, I did not understand what she meant. She explained what this meant and it’s still relevant today. Some individuals like Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell might need to hear this advice.

“That we (African Americans), have to be twice as good as others in every field that African Americans participated in, so whatever your occupation, be the best.”

“KILL THE GHOST!!”

That information my godmother told me has stuck in my mind for over 40 years. This is the reason why black athletes excel in everything they participate in today.

This leads me back to Russell. Many Raider fans are upset with this talented quarterback because his actions reflect on others — especially African American quarterbacks.

Mr. Russell still does not understand the gravity of his behavior and how his actions affects other African-American quarterbacks. He really has not given serious thoughts about others that could be in his position.

His job is a privilege not a right and maybe he has forgotten this.

Mr. Russell should understand the following statement by writer Lloyd Vance. On his web site, “Taking it to the House”, he states, “Wide receiver, Antwaan Randle El Pittsburgh Steelers and the Washington Football Club was drafted as a quarterback then converted to another position like most African - American quarterbacks”.

This rarely happens to white quarterbacks.

Russell was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft and is only the second Black quarterback (Michael Vick in 2001) to have that distinction in NFL Draft history.

This is a position that everyone watches.

He is considered the field general, leader, and top performer on every team.

JaMarcus Russell still does not get it.

“KILL THE GHOST!!”

He doesn’t acknowledges or understand the history of African American quarterbacks in the NFL. He thinks he’s the exception to this rule and he still doesn’t understand.

Last year, Russell arrived to training camp overweight and also wasn’t interested in acquiring knowledge of the new Raider offensive playbook. He hasn’t improved since he’s been in the NFL.

That’s not good for other black quarterbacks because the microscope is always on them. All too often, many will point to the failures and not the successes of black athletes in this position.

Team owners, presidents, general managers, and the four letter sports network will point and say these black quarterbacks are fat, lazy, and not intelligent. This is what Russell needs to understand. He has to change if he wants to stay in the NFL.

“KILL THE GHOST!!”

There are 16 black quarterbacks in the league with only six serving as starters. There are 32 teams in this league and most teams employ at least three quarterbacks.

What a sad commentary it is for the NFL when out of a possible 96 positions, there are only 16 Black quarterbacks in the league.

“KILL THE GHOST!!”

There is a long history of great black quarterbacks. Mr. Russell, you could add your name to that list if you put a time and effort into your position.

JaMarcus, you have to come to the table with a better work ethic to be in the class of the following African American quarterbacks.

Godfathers like Hall of Famer Fritz Pollard, Willie Thrower, George Taliaferro (a wing-t specialist) and Marlon Briscoe, the first Black quarterback in the NFL’s modern era.

Not to mention contemporaries like Randall Cunningham, who changed the position with his legs not his arms. Or Hall of Famer (both NFL and CFL) Warren Moon, who won five Gray Cup straight championships at Edmonton .

Don’t forget “Jefferson Street” Joe Gilliam of the Pittsburgh Steelers who had a record of 4-1-1 in 1974 before being pulled for Terry Bradshaw, never giving the chance to show how great he was.

Don’t forget James Harris of the Los Angeles Rams who threw one of the hardest ball in NFL history. The Grambling State standout was the first African American to guide his team into the NFL playoffs.

Remember Doug Williams, the first African American to win a Super Bowl. He led the Washington Football Club to a Super Bowl XXIII victory and breaking all Super Bowl passing records at the time.

Remember that in the 2005 NFC Championship game, two African American quarterbacks faced each other for the first time in a playoff title game — Michael Vick for the Atlanta Falcons and Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Last year, McNabb joined Washington’s Jason Campbell, Tennessee’s Vince Young, Tampa’s Josh Freeman, and David Garrard of Jacksonville as the league’s only black starting QB’s.

These are the African American QB’s that Russell should be honoring and emulating.

JaMarcus, it’s time for you “KILL THE GHOST!!”.