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Receivers, Run – Stuffers & Racism
By Michael – Louis Ingram, BASN Associate Editor
PHILADELPHIA (BASN) By the time this piece is finished, the National Football League and its defunct Players’ Association will have heard the ruling from a three judge panel, which will ascertain how billions of dollars in revenue will be divided between labor and management.
But on April 29, the League went out of their way to provide a “business-as-usual” atmosphere as The Draft went off without a snitch, er…hitch.
Now a three day event where potential $igning Bonu$ cash rises as falls on what day you are called (if you’re called) provided more dynamic tension because of the questionable status of whether there will be football; predicated by the unquestionable greed of the team owners.
Say what you will about the supposed greed of the players; as my colleague Tony “Tee – Mac” McClean says, “If Player A is gettin’ X dollars, then the owner has to be making XXX dollahs to afford him!”
Now that it has been almost four months since the lockout, the immediate impact of the Draft came down to three facets:
Receivers: Of those who expected to have their names called, two receivers, A.J. Green and Julio Jones stood above the pack. Green, selected by the Cincinnati Bengals (4th) and Jones by the Atlanta Falcons (6th, moving up from 27th) are expected to play key roles in their new teams’ immediate future.
Defensive Line: The Pit is where any team serious about building a strong foundation should be.While every Draft has had its bumper crop of whatever position, the best projected linemen are almost always off the board very early in spite of the protracted hype emanating from the Mouse Hole and elsewhere.
This year’s first round had a dozen potential D-linemen selected, where Marcell Dareus (‘Bama), Aldon Smith (Missouri) J.J. Watt (Wisconsin) and Nick Fairley (Auburn) could be the leaders of what could be the best Draft class of pit bosses in decades.
Sadly, the overwhelming atmosphere of fake “bro-hugs” from Commissioner Roger Goodell to the new crop of millionaires was dripping with racism; in large part spurred by the selection of Auburn’s Black QB as the number one overall selection by the Carolina Panthers.
Cam Newton was hit with more scrutiny and vitriol than any player at the position ever before him. Not because he didn’t win enough games; not because of inability to withstand the game day pressure (went undefeated in the bad- ass SEC!).
Not due to lack of leadership (led Auburn back from a 24 – 0 against arch rival Alabama at their home field – and that little thang called the BCS Championship versus Oregon!).
Not because of inaccuracy (college career stats: 2,908 yards passing, a 30/7 TD pass/interception ratio with a 65.4 completion percentage; 1,586 yards rushing for a 5.6 yards/per carry average and 24 TDs – with one TD reception).
Ironically, Newton’s worst passing performance (7-14, 2 TDs, two picks) in a victory against Clemson) was used to imply that he wasn’t consistent as a passer – while Washington’s QB Jake Locker (drafted by Tennessee in the first round and touted by Draft dimwit Mel Kiper Jr. as his number one QB prior to the beginning of the college season) folded like a cheap suit with a 4-20 performance in an embarrassing loss to Nebraska.
Kiper changed his tune faster than a cornerback’s swivel!
(For the record, Newton’s best passing percentage performance? He threw 12-15, 2TDs, one pick for an 80% completion rate versus Georgia – how’s that for inaccurate?)
However, all those nasty facts notwithstanding, making objective arguments over Player A vs. Player B is okay with me – it’s the nature of the industry.
But when a loathsome Nigger like Nolan Narwocki got personal over his perceived impression of Newton (having nothing to do with football) it opened up the scars that really never healed; and the inability of others in the industry to speak up and put his punk ass in check endorsed his position by their silence.
Because in this NFL, the letters have always stood for (No) Niggers For Leaders; they will play “Black Star Rising” on the NFL Network and the Mouse during Black History Month – but they casually forget to tell you that they thought Warren Moon would make a great defensive back in spite of his two Hall of Fame memberships…
That Chuck Ealey could perhaps play defense in spite of being the only QB to ever go undefeated and untied throughout his entire collegiate career (and be denied the College Football Hall of Fame because of their nebulous bullshit!)
That while Brad Johnson and Kurt Warner could play in the Arena League and NFL Europe and be perceived and accepted as pro QBs, Kerry Joseph can win a NFL Europe title, yet be forced to play out of his position for at least four years in the NFL before going up to the Canadian Football League to win a Grey Cup title (as a quarterback) with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Or the 611 yards passing Dameyune Craig threw for allowed for his Scottish Claymores jersey to go to Canton, Ohio – but Craig goes into obscurity because he was the wrong color? Irony rears its ugly head again because Craig at that time was the property of the Carolina Panthers.
I guess it was the level of competition which made the Panther brain trust come to the conclusion Craig wasn’t a pro quarterback; oh well, winning isn’t everything….
It’s one thing if you don’t like a person or player; but to get personal in such a way it infects the process of weighing pluses and minuses for said players happens far too often when the player is Black – and a quarterback.
Former Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor was constantly pressured to “switch positions” because of his color. Taylor, selected as Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, threw for 2,743 yards and a 24/5 TD/INT ratio in his senior year, reinforced his desire to play quarterback; one that would cost him at least a million in bonus money as he was selected on Day Three – in the sixth round by the Baltimore Ravens.
Taylor, who is allegedly the same height as Drew Brees, would have been cited for his “intangibles” if he were white like Brees. But because he was Black and a winning QB, he’s told to go to Canada and learn – or switch positions.
Call this song exactly what it is; and even Sista ‘Reetha will you that aura of racism has been Rock Steady ever since the NFL had conspired to create their “Gentleman’s Agreement” (what a fucking joke of a phrase!) in the 1930s.
If at any time Newton had suggested he’d be willing to play another position or had played a different position, there never would have been this insidious invective injected into any discourse involving him.
He would’ve been praised and envied as an “athlete” (read Nigger) who could run over defenses. But be a field general? Never – not as long as his Black ass desired to be standing over center reading defenses.
And while Carolina will now put some more asses in the seats thanks to Newton, how serious they will be about putting a Super Bowl team around him begs to be seen.
In reality, one could make the case that this formula has been the same since the Draft was first formulated. Positions in demand, while interchangeable, rise and fall by the talent pool.
Racism in determining who goes where – what they can or can’t do – and what color at what position in any and all future Drafts will last as long as some people consider the 40 yard dash a worthwhile statistic.
Always outnumbered…never outgunned.