The Fallacy of the Black Quarterback in the NFL
I’ve heard people call Jamarcus Russell the biggest bust ever. I think Russell was put in a no win situation but this is not me making a case for Russell’s validation as a NFL quarterback. This is my attempt to point out the inconsistencies of the mainstream media and the short leash they give black quarterbacks. I would argue Matt Lienart is a way bigger bust than Russell but for whatever reason the football writers of America thinks he deserves a second look. Chew on this…
Leinart won a national championship and a Heisman trophy, Russell’s only real claim to fame is a spectacular performance in a bowl game against a mediocre at best Notre Dame defense. Matt Leinart was given two different opportunities to be “the guy” in the same offense his whole career not to mention he had two top fifteen receivers to throw to. Jamarcus Russell played for several coordinators in a dysfunctional organization and had nowhere near comparable talent around him. Leinart threw 14 TDs to 20 interceptions in 29 games over 4 years; Russell threw 18 TDs to 23 interceptions in 31 games over 3 years. The stories about how Russell doesn’t know how to be a professional are similar to the stories floating around about Leinart being a playboy and being unprofessional. The argument that Jamarcus Russell was a number one pick and Leinart was a number ten is not valid because if Leinart would have came out after his Heisman year he would have been the number one overall pick over Alex Smith. With all these facts at their disposal, the media managed to immediately write off Russell but still hold out hope for Leinart.
All week I have been hearing analyst give excuses for why Leinart has been a failure in Arizona and try and make a case why he should get another shot. Those same people said Russell was never an NFL quarterback in the first place and he would be lucky to get a job in the UFL. White quarterbacks get seasons to adjust to the “learning curve” of the NFL, black quarterbacks apparently get games. Since the expectation for failure for black quarterbacks is so high once they don’t show flashes of brilliance as soon as they step on the field they are cast off and forgotten. Blacks are held to the highest standard at every other position in football except the position of leadership. The contradictory practices do not stop with quarterback; look at the number of white head coaches that are turned over compared to the number of black head coaches. Let’s not even get started on college football coaching discrepancy. The reality of it all is Jamarcus Russell and Matt Leinart just might not be NFL caliber quarterbacks. Leinart will get another opportunity to prove he can play QB in the NFL but Russell might have to switch positions and pray he gets another chance to be a NFL player. That is the fallacy of being a black quarterback in the NFL.