Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Sensitive" Subject

I have not had the energy to blog about last night's debacle yet...and oh, there is so much to vent about...but in the meantime, I cannot ignore Dmac's latest media foray. Seems like with every season (and with every failure), old #5 steps into the spotlight surrounding a controversy. At this point, I am conflicted whether he is a lightning rod of criticism or the lightning itself, but I am leaning toward the latter.

The latest now is a report that during an interview on "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," McNabb says that African-American quarterbacks face added pressure because "there are fewer black QBs -- and because some still don't want black athletes playing the position." Wow, that's a bold statement and is just another landmine that threatens this already shaky season.

First, let's put aside 2 things: my general feelings that I have been happy to have a talented QB at the helm in Philly for the last 8 seasons and that I think McNabb is a "quality guy", a "good" guy. Many franchises, like the Skins, have suffered for years without that kind of talent. He has provided a lot of entertainment for Philly fans.

The problem is that the name of the game is winning; in particular, winning a Super Bowl, being a champion. Let's face the facts we're presented with - McNabb has had his shot and has cracked under pressure on a number of key occasions...most notably, in the Super Bowl where I saw a man who was downright panicky and frightened to be there. Anyone see his eyes during closeups in that game? FEAR. So, I think he has proven that he is a very good QB, yes, but not championship caliber.

The report noted that Dmac mentioned a couple white QBs: Manning and Carson Palmer: "'Let me start by saying I love those guys," McNabb tells HBO. 'But they don't get criticized as much as we do. They don't.'" This is just not true in my opinion - I think Manning received a ton of criticism...that is, until he went out and won a Super Bowl. Dmac, can't you do the same? Hey, you had a shot 3 years ago and you threw 3 INTS, my man! Not your best game...when it counted the most. I promise Donovan McNabb that if he could win Philly a trophy, he would be crowned as King of Broad Street, South Street, Market Street and every other street in Philly for eternity (except Quince Street, because that's Popstar's kingdom)...AND Philly fans are waiting and wanting to crown you ,Dmac...we really are. We WANT to love you, we want you to be great.

Also, it is obvious to me that Manning is a technician and a student of the game.
Is Donovan? Just an observation, but after a possession is over, I see Manning go directly to the phones and begin studying printouts, and I also see him work like an animal with Harrison to perfect his passing routes....does Dmac have the work ethic? Donovan, I see you standing around the sidelines a lot, smoking and joking with your boys, jawing and acting goofy....I see that quite a bit in fact. I also see you saunter up to the line of scrimmage, with seconds left on the clock, as if there was all the time in the world to get the play off. I don't think I have ever seen Manning do that, with or without time on the clock...I see him march down the field like a commander, urgently directing his soldiers....is that your style, Dmac? Maybe you just don't have the personality to be great; not everyone does.

I thought Dmac's final comment in the report was hilarious: "'I try to handle myself with class. I try to handle myself with dignity. I think sometimes people look to players to act out, speak loudly, pretty much be an idiot. But that's not me.'" Um, Dmac, was that you doing the robot in the booth last season when you were hurt or was I seeing things? I also swear I have seen you break into "the Michael Jackson" (badly) after you score TDs...is that what we're calling "class and dignity" these days? I'm not saying the McNabb is not dignified, but come on, let's not go too far with proclamations here...

Look, I don't doubt that Dmac has faced many pressures, and probably some because he is black. But you often see this kind of finger pointing from people who don't succeed...it is always someone else's fault. The bottom line for me is that Donovan is a very sensitive person and has let normal criticism get to him. He needs someone to step in and manage this situation right now, or he is not going to accomplish anything significant as a leader of the Birds, or any team.


Blogger Dave Popstar said...

I agree with your conclusion.

It always stirs up a hornets' nest to bring up racism, especially in sports. From my perspective, it's a non-issue. However, I certainly don't deny that racism exists everywhere, and that many people still unfortunately see players first as black athletes or white athletes, rather than as athletes...

That said, in the upper echelon of the media, I'd still be surprised to think that people covering the NFL retain those truly preposterous notions about black QBs not being "smart enough" to play the position. I acknowledge that there is a stereotype out there that black QBs scramble more (at least Donovan seems to mention it enough), but that's not inherently a negative stereotype, is it? Does that cast black pocket QBs in a negative light? Sure, stereotypes are by definition harmful, but sometimes dwelling on things can make it seem more significant than it really is...

I think we have to focus on the more pernicious problem in the National Football League -- the lack of Jewish linemen.

9/18/2007 5:03 PM  
Blogger Paulomon Grundy said...

I would have thought that Dmac would be smarter than this at this point in his career. Especially considering that Vick said these things last year and stirred up a hornet's nest. The NFL is predominantly black, so I'm having trouble distinguishing the real problem here. I guess as you said, from whatever angle you look at things, there is always a bias in some direction. If more people like chocolate ice cream than vanilla...well, suffice it to say, that's a recipe for trouble. I don't think anyone of any stature in the media has ever implied that McNabb is not competent or smart enough to do his job...if criticizing his shitty performances is racist, I'm not sure he's ever going to escape that racist hell... maybe if he plays better, the "racism" will disappear.

And it's always about the Jews, isn't it? Fine, I'll bite and give you Mike Rosenthal (Miami Dolphins O-lineman)...look him up! Now go spin a dradel or something.

Now, let's focus on Aleutian eskimo punters...I think they need a leg up to get ahead in the NFL.

9/18/2007 6:19 PM  
Blogger Dave Popstar said...

I still haven't seen the whole interview, but I heard his comments replayed on the radio. I don't know if they might've been somehow taken out of context, but it sure sounds like he was complaining about being criticized too much, and then blamed it on being black.

I tend to think that everyone who is criticized must feel like they are being criticized worse than everyone else -- when you're personally involved, it's hard to be objective. It's also easier to dwell on criticism than praise, and I recall many instances where McNabb was rollin' and getting universally praised.

Regardless of any anti-McNabb media bias, which I really don't think exists (apart from criticizing his performance, which is valid and appropriate, especially now when his performance is poor), the NFL or the Eagles as institutions apparently don't discriminate too much -- Donovan was the HIGHEST PAID player in the entire league, up until Michael Vick and Peyton Manning. Does anyone know if he was asked about that in his interview?

Besides, criticism in this town is just simply part of how we cheer for our team. Jaws used to get impaled by the press and the fans, as bad as anyone, maybe even including Mike Schmidt. BUT we love our sports teams so much here, that those guys are still living legends here. I think that says a lot about us as fans, and a lot about how everyone else misconstrues our booing and criticisms. And perhaps McNabb does too -- it's hard to play in this town. Athletes, especially ones who get $115 million dollar contracts -- can face probably the harshest critics in the country. They also can receive the most over-the-top praise. Christ, T.O. actually sold T.O. brand peanut brittle on his website when he was in our good graces -- and people actually bought it.

I gotta see that interview...

9/19/2007 8:49 AM  

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