ESPN’s The Undefeated claims that the NFL and the entire “football-industrial complex” is a “racial institution.”
In an article posted Monday, The Undefeated’s Martenzie Johnson claims that the rise of white quarterbacks in the 2021 Draft and the fall of a black quarterback, Justin Fields, can be attributed to race.
As Johnson writes:
We can leave the draft evaluating to the experts, but with zero explanation, two white quarterbacks with comparable or lesser resumes than Fields were suddenly can’t-miss picks. Whether that is true is irrelevant; it’s more about what happened to Fields since he declared for the draft that exposes the draft process – and the entire football-industrial complex – for the, let’s say, racial institution that it is.
But when it comes to Black quarterbacks in particular, the NFL has long gone out of its way to keep the position as white as the painted yard lines on the field. Quarterbacks are expected to be smart, rational decision-makers who command a team and act as the de facto coach on the field. Accuracy and strong arms are a plus, but it mostly comes down to what’s between your ears rather than any other physical attribute. As the authors of The Bell Curve would have you believe, few Black men possess those attributes.
While Johnson apparently didn’t seek comment from the sole living author of the Bell Curve, one can test Johnson’s theory on the NFL’s views of black quarterbacks by looking at what they pay black quarterbacks…Johnson’s theory does not test very well.
The top four highest-paid quarterbacks in NFL history: Pat Mahomes, Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson, and Russell Wilson, are black.
Not only that, the league has looked beyond some pretty damning off-the-field issues, which would have easily given them an excuse not to draft black quarterbacks, and still drafted them.
In 2011, NFL evaluators looked past a serious “pay-to-play” accusation involving Cam Newton and drafted him #1 overall. In 2010, the Philadelphia Eagles welcomed federal felon and convicted dog killer Michael Vick back to the league and eventually made him their starting quarterback. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers overlooked serious rape allegations to draft Jameis Winston #1 overall.
If the NFL were interested in keeping the QB position as lily-white as possible, surely they wouldn’t be paying black quarterbacks more than white quarterbacks. Certainly, they wouldn’t be bending the rules of character and morality to give them opportunities.
ESPN is also a business partner of the NFL. ESPN televises Monday Night Football and two playoff games every year. If ESPN believes the NFL is truly racist, why do they pay them over a billion dollars a year to broadcast their games?