Backlash Rises Over Claim NFL Prefers White Quarterbacks

Backlash Rises Over Claim NFL Prefers White Quarterbacks (ESPN/"First Take")

By Eric Mack | Wednesday, 28 April 2021 12:24 PM

White ESPN announcer Max Kellerman is suggesting NFL teams' scouts and top brass are racist when it comes to drafting a Black quarterback, despite some noting the top 4 highest-paid players are all Black quarterbacks.

Kellerman said it is on his "radar" the projected top three picks in Thursday's NFL Draft are white quarterbacks, despite a pair of Black quarterback prospects being candidates to be drafted early, too.

"I know it's on my radar," the "First Take" co-host said. "Sometimes quarterbacks rise, sometimes they fall, but what I've noticed, in recent years after decades of artificial barriers being put in place for Black quarterbacks is that vis-a-vis white quarterbacks, Black quarterbacks in the draft tend to fall pre-draft.

"Sometimes it's right, Daniel Jones looks like he’s going to be better than Dwayne Haskins. And sometimes it's wrong. Mitch Trubisky is not as good as Deshaun Watson or certainly not Patrick Mahomes.

"The point is, the correlation that can be made, is that your status falls, vis-a-vis white quarterbacks, and so that's why my antenna are up when I notice 1, 2, 3 this year – white guy, white guy, white guy. But that may be correct. We need to see in the end how these guys turn out as pros."

Black ESPN co-host Stephen A. Smith "has a problem with the evaluations," noting Ohio State QB Justin Fields is not projected to go before Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, BYU QB Zach Wilson, and potentially Alabama's Mac Jones. The latter 3 are white, while Fields and North Dakota State QB Trey Lance, a Black man from a smaller school, might not be picked as high.

Despite the take, The Sporting News noted the top four highest-paid players are Black quarterbacks:

1. $45 million Patrick Mahomes Chiefs
2. $40 million Dak Prescott Cowboys
3. $39 million Deshaun Watson Texans
4. $35 million Russell Wilson Seahawks

"The NFL must be the worst racist organization in the history of the world when the highest-paid people in it are all black," the Daily Caller's David Hookstead wrote.

Notably, the winningest Super Bowl quarterback in NFL history and the most recent champion, Brady, was a 6th-round pick, 199 overall in 2000.

Wilson did slip to the 3rd round (75th-overall) on Draft Day 2012 due to concerns over his height, and he tweeted Wednesday with a video advising "rooks" to "ignore the noise":

"He will be lucky to be a backup."

The NFL has had a checkered past when it comes to covering race and the quarterback position. The late Rush Limbaugh resigned from ESPN for rebuking the media's overrating of former Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb in 2003.

"I don't think he's been that good from the get go," Limbaugh said. "I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. I think the media has been very desirous of a Black quarterback to do well."

Limbaugh issued an apology in his resignation statement in October 2003.

"My comments this past Sunday were directed at the media and were not racially motivated. I offered an opinion. This opinion has caused discomfort to the crew, which I regret. I love 'NFL Sunday Countdown' and do not want to be a distraction to the great work done by all who work on it.

"Therefore, I have decided to resign. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the show and wish all the best to those who make it happen."

Also, the social justice movement of former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick has led many activists to suggest he was ostracized from playing in the league because of his race and starting protests. Kaepernick was criticized for sitting on the bench during the national anthem and then responding by kneeling on the sidelines during the pregame song and flag salute – a practice that spread throughout sports worldwide and was frequently criticized by former President Donald Trump as anti-American.