Friday, December 15, 2017

Lefty Sportswriter: Rush Limbaugh was Right about the NFL, the Media, and Black Quarterbacks

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

In Super Bowl XXXIX, following the 2004 season, late in the game Donovan McNabb literally choked. He was sucking wind, as if he were ready to faint.

With McNabb’s opponent, NE Patriots signal-caller Tom Brady, it was smooth sailing ahead.

Note just how racist black NFL players typically are. Six years after Barra emphasized how right Limbaugh had been about black quarterback Donovan McNabb, black players attacked him all over again for that, as well for his having once shown a video of racist black kids mercilessly beating a white kid for sitting down on the school bus.

Jets linebacker Bart Scott got a job as a studio analyst not in spite of his racism, but because of it. And when he was a failure his first season as an analyst, Scott got asked back. (He said nothing the entire regular season, and when he did, it was during the playoffs, and his statement—about Peyton Manning’s failing arm strength—was almost certainly ghost-written by white partner Boomer Esiason, who suddenly had nothing to say.)

Black NFL Players ‘Wouldn’t Play’ For Limbaugh’s Team: ‘He’s A Jerk’
Ben Armbruster Oct 9, 2009, 4:18 p.m.

Earlier this week, the media reported that hate radio host Rush Limbaugh is involved in a bid to purchase the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams franchise. Many sports media figures lambasted the idea of Limbaugh owning an NFL team, with one writer saying it “would definitely hurt” the Rams while another said his “head exploded after hearing this Limbaugh news” because he is “a pungent bowl of stark raving bigoted lunacy.”

Now, the players themselves are piling on. Specifically, many African-American players have explicitly stated that they would never play for a team that Rush Limbaugh owns. “All I know is from the last comment I heard, he said in (President) Obama’s America, white kids are getting beat up on the bus while black kids are chanting ‘right on,’” New York Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka told the New York Daily News, adding, “I don’t want anything to do with a team that he has any part of.” Other black players expressed similar sentiments:

[New York Jets linebacker Bart] Scott says players remember what Limbaugh said [about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donavan McNabb], and adds that the NFL would be wise not to allow the nationally syndicated host into the league.

“It’s an oxymoron [?] that he criticized Donovan McNabb,” Scott said. “A lot of us took it as more of a racial-type thing. I can only imagine how his players would feel. I know I wouldn’t want to play for him. He’s a jerk. He’s an — -. What he said (about McNabb) was inappropriate and insensitive, totally off-base. He could offer me whatever he wanted, I wouldn’t play for him. … I wouldn’t play for Rush Limbaugh. My principles are greater and I can’t be bought.”

Indeed, as CNN reported at the time, ESPN fired Limbaugh from Sunday NFL Countdown for “his statement that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated because the media wanted to see a black quarterback succeed.” But, of course, Limbaugh has a long sordid history with making racist remarks. Some of his more recent lowlights:

— “Look, let me put it to you this way: The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it.”

— “We need segregated buses. … This is Obama’s America.”

— “President Obama is black. And I think he’s got a chip on his shoulder.”

— Democrats are interested in Darfur to secure black “voting bloc.”

— “Minorities never do anything for which they have to apologize.”

— Obama’s nomination for president “goes back to the fact that nobody had the guts to stand up and say no to a black guy.”

— Obama is a “halfrican-American.”

Advising the NFL to block Limbaugh’s pursuit of an NFL franchise, St. Louis Dispatch sports columnist Bryan Burwell wrote recently,
“Dancing with Limbaugh is like dancing with a snake. Eventually, the snake will bite you. That’s his nature.”

Oct. 2 2003 6:33 PM
Rush Limbaugh was Right

Donovan McNabb isn't a great quarterback, and the media do overrate him because he is black.
By Allen Barra

Limbaugh leaves over unfair football flap

In his notorious ESPN comments last Sunday night, Rush Limbaugh said he never thought the Philadelphia Eagles' Donovan McNabb was "that good of a quarterback."

If Limbaugh were a more astute analyst, he would have been even harsher and said, "Donovan McNabb is barely a mediocre quarterback." But other than that, Limbaugh pretty much spoke the truth. Limbaugh lost his job for saying in public what many football fans and analysts have been saying privately for the past couple of seasons.

[“More astute”: That’s a cheap shot by Barra. Limbaugh was being diplomatic.]

Let's review: McNabb, he said, is "overrated ... what we have here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback can do well—black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well."

"There's a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of his team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."

Let's take the football stuff first. For the past four seasons, the Philadelphia Eagles have had one of the best defenses in the National Football League and have failed to make it to the Super Bowl primarily because of an ineffective offense—an offense run by Donovan McNabb.

McNabb was a great college quarterback, in my estimation one of the best of the '90s while at Syracuse. (For the record, I helped persuade ESPN Magazine, then called ESPN Total Sports, to put him on the cover of the 1998 college-football preview issue.) He is one of the most talented athletes in the NFL, but that talent has not translated into greatness as a pro quarterback.

McNabb has started for the Eagles since the 2000 season. In that time, the Eagles offense has never ranked higher than 10th in the league in yards gained. In fact, their 10th-place rank in 2002 was easily their best; in their two previous seasons, they were 17th in a 32-team league. They rank 31st so far in 2003.

In contrast, the Eagles defense in those four seasons has never ranked lower than 10th in yards allowed. In 2001, they were seventh; in 2002 they were fourth; this year they're fifth. It shouldn't take a football Einstein to see that the Eagles' strength over the past few seasons has been on defense, and Limbaugh is no football Einstein, which is probably why he spotted it.

The news that the Eagles defense has "carried" them over this period should be neither surprising nor controversial to anyone with access to simple NFL statistics—or for that matter, with access to a television. Yet, McNabb has received an overwhelming share of media attention and thus the credit. Now why is this?

Let's look at a quarterback with similar numbers who also plays for a team with a great defense. I don't know anyone who would call Brad Johnson one of the best quarterbacks in pro football—which is how McNabb is often referred to. In fact, I don't know anyone who would call Brad Johnson, on the evidence of his 10-year NFL career, much more than mediocre. Yet, Johnson's NFL career passer rating, as of last Sunday, is 7.3 points higher than McNabb's (84.8 to 77.5), he has completed his passes at a higher rate (61.8 percent to 56.4 percent), and has averaged significantly more yards per pass (6.84 to 5.91). McNabb excels in just one area, running, where he has gained 2,040 yards and scored 14 touchdowns to Johnson's 467 and seven. But McNabb has also been sacked more frequently than Johnson—more than once, on average, per game, which negates much of the rushing advantage.

In other words, in just about every way, Brad Johnson has been a more effective quarterback than McNabb and over a longer period.

And even if you say the stats don't matter and that a quarterback's job is to win games, Johnson comes out ahead. Johnson has something McNabb doesn't, a Super Bowl ring, which he went on to win after his Bucs trounced McNabb's Eagles in last year's NFC championship game by a score of 27-10. The Bucs and Eagles were regarded by everyone as having the two best defenses in the NFL last year. When they played in the championship game, the difference was that the Bucs defense completely bottled up McNabb while the Eagles defense couldn't stop Johnson.

In terms of performance, many NFL quarterbacks should be ranked ahead of McNabb. But McNabb has represented something special to all of us since he started his first game in the NFL, and we all know what that is.

Limbaugh is being excoriated for making race an issue in the NFL. This is hypocrisy. I don't know of a football writer who didn't regard the dearth of black NFL quarterbacks as one of the most important issues in the late '80s and early '90s. (The topic really caught fire after 1988, when Doug Williams of the Washington Redskins became the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl.)

So far, no black quarterback has been able to dominate a league in which the majority of the players are black. To pretend that many of us didn't want McNabb to be the best quarterback in the NFL because he's black is absurd. To say that we shouldn't root for a quarterback to win because he's black is every bit as nonsensical as to say that we shouldn't have rooted for Jackie Robinson to succeed because he was black. (Please, I don't need to be reminded that McNabb's situation is not so difficult or important as Robinson's—I'm talking about a principle.)

Consequently, it is equally absurd to say that the sports media haven't overrated Donovan McNabb because he's black. I'm sorry to have to say it; he is the quarterback for a team I root for. Instead of calling him overrated, I wish I could be admiring his Super Bowl rings. But the truth is that I and a great many other sportswriters have chosen for the past few years to see McNabb as a better player than he has been because we want him to be.

Rush Limbaugh didn't say Donovan McNabb was a bad quarterback because he is black. He said that the media have overrated McNabb because he is black, and Limbaugh is right. He didn't say anything that he shouldn't have said, and in fact he said things that other commentators should have been saying for some time now. I should have said them myself. I mean, if they didn't hire Rush Limbaugh to say things like this, what did they hire him for? To talk about the prevent defense?


David In TN said...

It always amazed me how eager Rush Limbaugh was to get into the NFL in some way, even though he had little "common ground" with the players. Limbaugh did have some acquaintance with some coaches and owners.

Even before his ESPN gig, Rush applied for a slot on Monday Night Football! Imagine that! He even did a demonstration tape, I believe, but was politely turned down. But he did land a job with ESPN, who couldn't take the heat from racist players after just one comment.

Back when I listened to him, I can't tell you how many times Rush said, "I LOVE the NFL!"

Then in 2009, he tried to be a (part) owner and found himself viciously attacked and STILL was a big fan.

This year, after the Anthem protests, Limbaugh finally gave the NFL up. I don't know if it will last.

Anonymous said...

jerry pdx
Rush was right about McNabb, and I get that he got tired of hearing the effusive praise heaped on him beause he was a black QB, something that sports talking sock puppets often do in order to sound PC. It just go to be too much with McNabb, he had a few decent seasons but his numbers rarely exceeded mediocre and he was not remotely in the class of a Brady or Peyton. You see the same happening now with Cam Newton, another "athlete" at QB like a Vince Young or Colin Kaepernick (or even Tim Tebow), whose mediocre passing skills are (or were) offset by their ability to run the ball Newton did have a great season last year when he won the MVP, but any QB can have a great season. Every other season Newton has been average at best and he has not shown the ability to consistently elevate a team year after year. Problem is that once in a while he break out on a great run down the field then white sportscasters can't stop falling over each other with praise proving to the world they are down with the black man. The excitement of those runs obscures the fact he doesn't move the ball in the air as well as most other QB's, which is essential in today's NFL for consistent success on offense.

Anonymous said...

Go start your own damn league. Take all those millions and tens of millions of money you make per year, pool your money and start your own damn league. Good too they will not play for a team associated with Rush. Good. Maybe it will leave openings for whitey players who ordinarily do not get a chance to play and advance their careers. Good. I hope so.

Anonymous said...

Much like Peanuts. The white Charlie Brown trying to kick a game winner
(against Racism) but in this scenario, Lucy is black and represents the folly of even bothering to try in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I just scrolled down and saw you have something on Peanuts! Good grief

Regarding my previous comment