This Week in Race Controversy

The latest racial controversy concerns the decision of the Washington Redskins “Football Team” (by the way, did you hear Al Michaels slip up and refer to the “Washington Redskins” in the NBC Sunday Night Football broadcast?) to release quarterback Dwayne Haskins for violating multiple team rules. The story comes with a slight twist, as ESPN football analyst Booger McFarland charged that the decision, while not perhaps racially motivated, reflects badly on black players who want to “build their brand” more than they want to work hard on the game. Who’s engaging in racial stereotyping now? Never mind that black quarterbacks are thriving in the NFL: take your pick from Wilson, Mahomes, Jackson, Watson, Newton, Murray, and Hurts. Some of them manage to “build their brand” just fine (lots of TV spots featuring Wilson and Mahomes these days) while working extremely hard at the game.

Mike Freeman of USA Today is having none of it:

Before we fully address the absurd and remarkably dangerous comments from ESPN football analyst Booger McFarland, where he said the reason quarterback Dwayne Haskins failed in Washington was because like other young Black men in the NFL he cared more about his brand than working hard, let’s go back in time to a name many will remember: Johnny Manziel.

Manziel was one of the true wastes of talent in recent NFL history because he cared more about partying and branding and tomfoolery than he did actual football. This is not opinion, this is fact. Manziel was taken in the first round by Cleveland in 2014 and lasted just two seasons in the NFL. He then played for three different CFL teams in two years before flaming out and becoming one of the greatest cautionary tales in sports history.

And Manziel never, not once, became a symbol of failure for young white players. He was just a singular, total bum.

To Manziel’s failure of discipline and seriousness add in the examples of Todd Marinovich and Ryan Leaf, among other famous NFL washouts.

Meanwhile, there has been another police shooting of an unarmed black man in Columbus, Ohio, and the officer has been fired for an unjustified use of force. A complete investigation is just getting under way, but the initial press reports, and some body camera footage, support the narrative that the officer reacted poorly in the situation. (He mistook a cell phone in the victim’s hand for a gun.) Naturally the racial angle means it is receiving national publicity, unlike numerous similar shootings of white suspects that seldom get national media attention. But my question is: where are all the protests? Is protest season over now that the election is done?

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