Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Donovan McNabb recently proclaimed that African American quarterbacks receive “greater scrutiny” than their white counterparts do. Having raised the question on several college campuses, and as an African American, the truth is that sports fans of all ethnic groups tire of the great race-related cloud that seemingly never stops hanging over our sporting world and certainly, our country. Racial prejudice and racial tension is in no way unique to America, however, given our painful history with regard to human and civil rights, one would think that we would collectively focus on a more united, and tolerant future.

It is credible to assume the viewpoint that professional sports is the most open segment of our society when it comes to judging someone based on their skills and abilities and not their skin color. This is not to say that racism does not exist in sports. Racism exists in every segment of our society from the Supreme Court to the NAACP. However, in the context of personal experience, the participation in sports allows millions of youngsters to experience genuine camaraderie and friendship with many people of different race and gender. The experience broadens one’s perspective and makes them better citizens.

In remembering our nation’s history, the horrors of slavery casts a indomitable shadow. Truthfully, it should; as history forgotten is history repeated. However, the acts of benevolence, friendship, and sacrifices of those who opposed slavery deserve greater recognition. The emphasis needs to soldier on with positive role models such as the Quakers, or the great statesman Charles Sumner.

In the same attitude, articles and opinion columns underline Donovan McNabb’s rant over his perceived greater scrutiny, than articles highlighting the positive examples such as Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders, or The Rooney family of the Pittsburgh Steelers… they led by example, hiring and African American head coaches. These owners clearly made the decision to look beyond color or tradition.

Donovan thinks there is greater scrutiny for black quarterbacks. Tell that to Rex Grossman, whom the fans of Chicago wanted to divorce without ever going through a “honeymoon”. Peyton Manning… even while he was on pace to enter into the hall of fame, he was scrutinized for “never winning a big game.” One of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, John Elway, was bitterly scrutinized early in his career in Denver. On another level, Jeff Hostetler and Trent Dilfer never got “a pass” even after winning the Super Bowl.

From this restricted perspective, the bottom line is that in the NFL, for the most part, you judgment is based on wins and losses. I am no apologist for the NFL. Sports are a microcosm of the society it represents, and the NFL has a negative history. The fact that Warren Moon did not enter the NFL straight out of college is a travesty. Even in today’s world, every reasonable person must ask the question, if Romeo Crennel is fired this year, will he get the same number of opportunities as Norv Turner.

The Philadelphia Eagles spent their first pick on Donavan McNabb, knowing that all of Philly wanted Ricky Williams. I find it hard to believe that they would make the public relations and financial investment, in an effort to make it harder for him than his white counterparts. There will always be closed-minded people; however, Donovan is scrutinized because he has not won a championship. He is not being paid millions for mediocrity.

Donovan compares his divergence with Terrell Owens to black on black crime. It is laughable to compare the castigation of one multi-millionaire against another, to the senseless murder of impoverished youths. Mr. McNabb should sell his plight to the half-million massacre victims in Darfur. Donovan McNabb needs to grow up and stop making excuses. I am sure that every African American athlete who grew up in the 60s and 70s experienced a strike zone, offensive holding, or a basketball foul that was different from his white counterparts. Their only option was to “play through it or quit”. It appears that Donovan and Rush Limbaugh live in the same parallel universe. Obviously, McNabb is not tough enough to endure the hardships of real “pioneers” like Jackie Robinson, Jim Brown, or Jesse Owens.

I root for Lovie Smith of Chicago, Romeo Crennel of Kansas City, Tony Dungy, Mike Tomlinson, Leslie Frazier, or any black head coach to be successful for altruistic reasons. The more we are exposed to them, the more we understand that these men are individuals. Dungy and Tomlinson are no more alike than Bill Parcell and Wade Phillips.

We are fans for many reasons, but everyone loves a winner. As a life-long Raiders fan, when my team plays the Colts, Browns, Bears, or Chiefs… I will root for the Raiders. The only color that matters is the color of the uniforms. Go Silver and Black!

By yanam49

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