My Radio

My attempts to channel what's playing on the many stations of my mind

Path of the Black Quarterback

Posted by and1grad on August 29, 2011

I recently read Toure’s article asking “What if Michael Vick were white?” You can find it on ESPN. As you can imagine, the article set off a maelstrom on twitter, particularly among the people who dislike Toure & love to disagree with him on principle. Its hard to get an objective opinion on anything, even harder on twitter, so I stayed away from looking at it until now.

My initial opinion is that I thought he could’ve said more. Its kinda like knocking on the door of the impact of race but not really stepping into the room. There is a LOT that can be said about the black quarterback. I thought Toure went into a lil bit…then kinda boiled it down to Vick’s bad decision-making (dogfighting) being a result of bad parenting…which could be true, of course. Although it may be more common to black people, absentee parenting isnt what interests me.

Personally, I do not believe Vick would have been as severely punished if he were white. A white star at the level of fame/notoriety of Michael Vick, at the time, would have been given not only a shorter sentence but sent to a far more lax prison as well. Just to remind you, Vick was sentenced to 23 months…the prosecutors recommended 12 to 18. I dont believe that would’ve happened to a white sports celebrity.

Anyway, the thing that really struck me about this article is that Toure kinda reinforces the perception of the black QB as always being the running, unorthodox style of player. This perception annoys me bc of the way it pigeonholes players, not to mention the obvious implication that the classification as a “running QB” brings. They only call you that when they think you cant get it done in the pocket. It made me wonder why so many of our black QBs are considered “running QBs.” Arent all QBs taught to escape the pocket when a play breaks down?

It made me wonder…are young aspiring black QBs trained to run more often than their white counterparts? I watched an excellent show, put on by ESPN, called “Year of the Quarterback” a few weeks ago. It was a reality show where they took the top 25 high school QBs, put them through a series of challenges, and came out with their “Elite 11.” I believe only 2 of the 25 kids were black, one of which made the 11. Not that this was a surprise but I do wonder if the black kids, that start out being quarterbacks, wind up not making it very far, in that position, because they are more lauded for their “escapability” than they are for their mastery of the position, accuracy, etc. I really hope coaches arent doing those kids that kind of disservice.


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