Rant of the Week: Pulling the “Racism Card”

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way racist.  I have black friends, I root for many black athletes and I IN NO WAY condone, support or tolerate racism.  This post is aimed at the idiots who “pull the race card” in every possible instance.  With that said…

For years, this subject has bothered me.  No, it has enraged me!  The following scenario plays out in our society time and time again.  [Insert random athlete] gets in trouble for [insert random stupid act].  The media rips him to shreds, and deservedly so.  [Insert random idiot media voice] pulls the racism card, claiming [insert random athlete] is being targeted only because he/she is [insert random race].  Right, sure they are.

Let’s go through an example scenario, one that actually occurred not too long ago.  Former University of Memphis guard and current Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose gets in trouble for having someone else take his SAT’s for him.  The media rips him, the university and former Memphis Coach John Calipari to shreds, and deservedly so.  Media idiot Jason Whitlock pulls the racism card, claiming that Rose is being targeted only because he is African-American.  Right, sure he is.  It couldn’t be that he cheated, lied, defrauded the NCAA and the institution and took away a full athletic scholarship from someone who rightfully earned that opportunity.  It’s because he’s black.

See how that works?  Another perfect example occurred this morning on my drive to work.  As always, I was listening to the highly entertaining “Steve Czaban Show” (on Sports Talk 570 for those of you in the DC area).  My man Czabe was ripping former Auburn quarterback and current top draft prospect Cam Newton.  Newton, who as we all know has plenty of question marks already, had the usually quarterback sit-down with Monday Night Football‘s Jon Gruden.  If you’ve never seen this segment, here’s how it goes:

  1. Gruden sits down with [insert random QB].
  2. Gruden shows [insert random QB] a random play.
  3. Gruden asks [insert random easy question].
  4. Segment ends with them cutting back to Gruden and him saying, “I really like [insert random QB]!”

Never fails.

But I digress.  Sorry for the digression, there might be a good deal of that here.  Anyways, so Gruden says to Newton, “You know in the NFL we’ve got some really complex verbiage in our playbooks.  Like ‘X 94 Split Blast Left Hook Z Scat Pass Corner’ (or something to that effect).  What’s an example of a playcall you used at Auburn?”

Newton: “Uh you’re kind of putting me on the spot.  Well, we were all about keeping things simple.  We used numbers.  Like someone would hold up a card that said ’36’ and that’s a play.’

Gruden: “Wow, that’s cool!”  Translation: “Wow, you’re in deep s***!”

I mean seriously, that’s a huge red flag!  As an NFL scout/talent evaluator, you have to seriously question whether or not you think this guy can master an NFL level playbook.  Right?  Well that’s what my boy Czabe was trying to say on his show this morning.

“There should be sirens going off in every NFL scout’s head right now!” Czabe exclaimed.

Then someone e-mail’s the show: “Hey Czabe, Blaine Gabbert (another top-level QB prospect in this year’s draft) played in the same offense at Missouri, so you better rip him just the same!”

Please people.  Enough.  Let’s start with the obvious in that there are many variations of the “spread” offense.  Just because they both played in a “spread”, doesn’t mean that Gabbert had playcalling flashcards on the sideline like Newton did.  I mean it’s not like anyone ripped apart Tim Tebow’s game last year and he played in an unconventional offense and had questionable mechanics and great athleticism…  Oh wait, they did.

Second, this is not a race issue.  It’s an intelligence issue.  The fact people would insinuate that this is at all related to the fact that Newton is an African-American is ridiculous.  How about the fact that he couldn’t name a single playcall he used at Auburn?  How about the fact that the system he played in at Auburn has produced numerous “busts” in terms of quarterbacks at the NFL level?  How about the fact that the school he attended is notorious for getting athletes to magically pass classes despite not knowing how to read!

But no, that would make too much sense.  It makes more sense for people to continue to make excuses for the kid.  They did it when his father, Cecil “Creflo” Newton, got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, demanding payment for his son to choose a certain college.  They did it at the NFL Combine when Newton showed more interest in being an “icon” than an NFL quarterback.  Why stop now?

Maybe they’re right.  Maybe it is just about race.  Because I can’t remember the media ripping any prominent white figureheads for similar bonehead maneuvers.  Oh wait…

  • Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy getting caught fixing games.
  • Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid’s idiot sons getting arrested for carrying enough weapons in their car to arm a small militia.
  • Former Vancouver Canuck Todd Bertuzzi assaulting another player on the ice and nearly killing him.
  • Every college coach, football or basketball, who has gotten caught cheating.
  • Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco and any other idiot who got caught in the baseball PED scandal.
  • Journeyman NFL quarterback Kerry Collins for being a drunken idiot in his Carolina years.
  • Former NFL linebacker Bill Romanowski for repeatedly spitting on opponents and being a general idiot.
  • Brett Favre for sending Jenn Sterger pictures of his “cash and prizes”.
  • Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for apparently being a total predator when it comes to women.
  • Former Braves pitcher John Rocker for making racist, homophobic and sexist comments.
  • Pete Rose for being the biggest degenerate gambler in the history of sports.
  • Former Reds owner Marge Schott for being an outward racist.

Seriously, do I have to continue?  I apologize for the length of the list, but I felt it necessary to be emphatic.  This is a joke.  It’s not about race.  It’s not about culture, class or economic standing.  It’s about stupidity.  It’s about thinking you don’t have to play by the same rules as everyone else.  The fact that these situations tend to involve African-Americans more often than any other race is because two of our flagships sports here in America (football and basketball) are dominated by African-Americans!  It’s not a coincidence and it’s not because of race, it’s because of numbers.

But this all comes back to our society in the 21st century.  We’ll make excuse after excuse to get a kid off the hook and then wonder why these guys hit their 50’s and still think they can get away with murder (both literally and figuratively).  It’s because no one holds them accountable for their actions!

Appropriately, I’ll end this with a quote from the immortal Denzel Washington in Remember the Titans.  His character, Coach Herman Boone, is explaining to Coach Yoast why he’s hurting, not helping his young players by coddling them:

“Which boys are you talking about?  Which ones you talking about?  I come down on Bertier.  I don’t see you coddle him.  Come down on Sunshine.  Don’t see you grab his hand, take him off to the side.  Which boys are you talking about?  Now, I may be a mean cuss, but I’m the same mean cuss with everybody out there on that football field.  The world don’t give a damn about how sensitive these kids are — especially the young black kids.  You ain’t doing these kids a favor by patronizing them.  You’re crippling them.  You’re crippling them for life.”

Truer words were never spoken.  Preach on Denzel.

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6 Responses to Rant of the Week: Pulling the “Racism Card”

  1. kevinjfisher says:

    i watched the Gruden/Newton segment this morning. I had to turn it off after two minutes, it was brutal. Any GM who drafts him first round should be fired. And the people who pull the race card when people criticize Newton seem to ignore the fact that critics are equally harsh on Ryan Mallett.

  2. Java says:

    Great article. Go Mason Basketball!

  3. Jared says:

    “It’s an intelligence issue. The fact people would insinuate that this is at all related to the fact that Newton is an African-American is rediculous.”

    The irony is you spelled ridiculous wrong. And your link doesn’t work.

    • Ross says:

      Thanks spelling wizard. Anything to actually add to the conversation?

      And I don’t know what link you are refering to, I don’t have any in this post.

  4. NoCzabe says:

    Cam Newton….made a total fool out of all of you!!! Racist indeed!!!

    • Ross says:

      While I’ll be the first one to admit I was wrong about Newton’s on-field ability (at least so far, I still think he struggles at some point when defenses adapt), that in no way refutes my original point. For a GM to worry about the ability of a quarterback to pick up and master an NFL-level playbook after playing in a one-read offense throughout college is not racism, no matter the color of the player’s skin. It is a justified concern.

      Now if you want to refute my comment be saying that too much is made of such a concern and that a quarterback’s intellectual aptitude is overrated, then that is your opinion. However, Newton’s success so far in no way confirms that those who doubted him were/are “racist”.

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