Race and the Redskins

For all intensive purposes this post is not intended to cause or stir up any controversy. It is merely the thoughts of a diehard Redskins fan.

As a black man I am perplexed that within past yr and a half two Redskins quarterbacks were deemed as not being "black enough" by there peers (Donovan Mcnabb and of course Robert Griffin III).Through the years however, it is a known fact that racism has been synonymous with our storied franchise. ( Just read a few pages of The Racists Redskins by Micheal Tomasky)

For the past 80 years the Redskins name and logo has been under constant scrutiny from various outlets of the media. Legal action has even been brought against the team to have its name changed. To add insult to injury former owner George Preston Marshall was a well-known racist himself (He was the last NFL owner to integrate his roster). To make things even more ironic, the first African-american quarterback to win a Super Bowl donned the burgundy and gold (Doug Williams).

In today's society, people have a tendency to think that racism doesn't exist anymore, but it still does. What is even more startling is that it's becoming even more prevalent in the African-American communities .

In May of 2011, Bernard Hopkins trashed Mcnabb by saying he wasn't "black enough". "He's got a suntan. That's all," Hopkins further implied that McNabb's privileged childhood upbringing set him up for a rude awakening when the Eagles traded him to the Redskins. "Why do you think McNabb felt he was betrayed? Because McNabb is the guy in the house, while everybody else is on the field. He's the one who got the extra coat. The extra servings. 'You're our boy,' Hopkins said.

Replace "guy in the house" with "slave in the house," then replace "on the field" with "in the field," and Hopkins' message is "Uncle Tom" clear. Hopkins also went on to say that Mcnabb lacked the mental toughness of former Eagle Terell Owens and Micheal Vick because of their different upbringings.

As we all know, 19 months later RGIII faced a similar predicament from ESPN's Rob Parker who insinuated he was a "cornball brother" because he has a white fiancé and was a rumored Republican. "Is he a brother or is he a cornball brother?", Parker asked. "Well he's black, he kind of does his own thing, but he's not really down with the cause, he's not one of us."

Although I'm not a Republican I share many of their views, so am I a "cornball brother"? At the same time I've had a similar upbringing to Terrell Owens and Michael Vick, so I guess that makes me more black? Why isn't the "blackness" of a Cam Newton, or Micheal Vick, or a Terrell Owens called into question? Because they aren't Republicans? Because they don't have white fiances? Because they were raised in urban areas by single mother? Is it because of they "talk" like their black? Or is it because they have had character issues in the past that have exemplified actions of the typical "black athlete"?

In sports it's so easy to make racial connections, as evidenced by sports writers and analysts comparing RGIII to the likes of a Vick or Newton. Personally I think those are lazy comparisons, but because of the "eye test" it is easy to make that comparison. Here's another example, any and every white slot receiver I see in college and pros I compare them to Wes Welker. (I'm sure a lot of us as sports fans are guilty of that.)

When will the time come when people are judged on the content of their character n not the color of their skin. Just because a white receiver plays in the slot is he like Wes Welker? Just because a quarterback is black does that mean he doesn't fit the mold of a traditional drop-back passer?

As a Redskins fan I am ecstatic that Griffin is in the burgundy and gold. Not just because of his athletic ability but more so of he is a player of high character. Since Coach Shanahan has arrived, he has made it a focal point in the off-season to bring in high character players. We have had enough "Albert Painsworths" on this team throughout the years.

Just a little food for thought as our Redskins take over the NFC EAST and the rest of the NFL. Thanks for reading. Please feel free to comment with your own insight.


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