Rush Limbaugh is being branded as a racist because of his remarks about Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles. Said Rush: "I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. They’re interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well; I think there’s a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of his team that he really didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team.”
First I will comment on the accuracy of Rush’s remark in regards to Donovan McNabb. For any football fan that gobbles up statistics, look at Donovan McNabb’s stats and they read: he is just average. His stats are average at best, and below average at times. Except for his running game, which is always spectacular. Look at his QB Rating over the last few years; he’s not at the top of the heap.
However, diehard football fans know that McNabb is one of those players that are far better than his stats. Why? He has a huge presence on the field; he’s a superb athlete with great size; he’s a strong, feared leader; and he doesn’t make a lot of critical mistakes. Look at his TD-to-interception ratio, and that means he’s not a game-blower. He’s a steady, cool hand that can run like heck, and therefore he’s a threat every time he takes a snap. But he’s not a dominating game-breaker either. McNabb is not the nucleus of the Eagles; it was not he who was instrumental in his team being one of the top teams in the NFL last year. It was the great defense. Rush was right.
People ask, why then, did Rush have to bring up the “black thing?” The reason Rush interjected race was that he, I believe, just hates political correctness, as many of us do. We are sick and tired of it. And racial political correctness pervades sports everywhere and everyplace. As a confessed football fanatic for many, many years, I love the game, and I am tired of affirmative action dragging its demons and Jesse Jacksonisms into this game that I love so much.
I watch, and have watched for years, all of the NFL pre-game shows on the tube, from the ESPN shows to Inside the NFL to Fox NFL Sunday. Black quarterbacks and coaches are singled out for hiring, praise, and constant attention, and if it is too un-PC for me to say that, I say tough. If it is not true, then why does the NFL have a policy stating that teams must adhere to a quota system when interviewing head coaches? If Rush was so wrong, why then did the NFL fine the Detroit Lions nearly a quarter-of-a-million dollars for hiring a white head coach (Steve Mariucci) without interviewing a single black coach? If Rush was wrong, why does the NFL require teams to interview minority coaching candidates before hiring a coach? Why does the NFL apply constant pressure to teams to hire black coaches?
Here’s the kicker with the Detroit Lions scam: the Lions have been set up to run a West-Coast offense, player and personnel-wise. The current management team was brought in to run a West Coast-style offense (named after the SF 49’ers offense run by Joe Montana), players were brought in that were adaptable to this offense, and when the prior coach didn’t work out, Steve Mariucci, a white guy, and the best West-Coast offense guy in the game, happened to become available. Yoo-Hoo!, said Lions fans, including me. Mariucci is a proven winner.
The Lions knew they had to interview some black coaches, to conform to the quota system, so they tried to accomplish that task. But guess what? None of the black coaches invited to interview with the Lions would accept the invite, because they were all damn smart enough to know that Mariucci was the best West-Coast guy in the league, the guy that could best run the Lion’s offense as it had been built, and he was available, and that meant he would be the guy to get the job. So black coaches like Dennis Green said, why should I waste my time even interviewing? These guys didn’t want to fly all the way out to Detroit to fill a quota interview. They also knew the Lions’ coaching decision wasn’t about black-and-white; they knew it was strategic football planning.
Subsequently, why are the commentators and players always talking about the fact that skin color is irrelevant, such as Donovan McNabb did this week, when in fact teams are being forced to adhere to quota systems for hiring, and being fined and condemned when they do not? McNabb said: “It’s sad that you’ve got to go to skin color. I thought we were through with that whole deal.” Yes Donovan, it is sad. Sports teams are a business, and it is all about winning. But no Donovan, we are not over skin color. Look around you, at the NFL and its rules. Affirmative action and racial-political correctness both flourish.
The Detroit Tigers baseball club was also publicly condemned for hiring the white Phil Garner, as manager of the team a few years ago. Hiring white provokes a fight. What did the NAACP do because the Tigers interviewed no black candidates? They started a boycott, and their coercive pressure forced the offices of Major League Baseball to publicly spank the Tiger’s owner and management. I once worked in corporate treasury for an organization that owned two professional sports teams. The office went off into a drunken escapade when we won, and near-depression when we didn’t, because that meant millions lost, and it translated into disaster come raise/bonus time, and it also hurt the success of the organization overall. It was and is all about the bottom lines — winning and money.
In regards to football analysis itself, in terms of black quarterbacks like Aaron Brooks, Daunte Culpepper, Kordell Stewart, Quincy Carter, and Michael Vick, many are overrated or average, except Daunte Culpepper, who I think is one of the most exciting QBs in the game already, and he’s still a puppy. Michael Vick can run like hell, but he’s not the QB that everyone makes him out to be. He doesn’t do a whole lot outside of his running game, yet commentators drool over him as if he is changing the entire nature of quarterbacking in the NFL. He is not; he likely will not. He’s a blast to watch, but his style usually doesn’t win championships, especially when he slows down as he gets older. Drop-back, in-the-pocket quarterbacks win championships, especially when they have a defense like the Eagles had last year to help them along. The reason McNabb has been so successful at his position is that he’s smart, solid, and mistake-free for the most part. And he’s a sufficient passer when he stays in the pocket. Kordell Stewart — a great athlete — bombed because they put him at a position where he couldn’t utilize his best skills.
Like Doug Williams, Vick has a super-strong arm, but he’s tossing the ball to Alaska when his receivers are in Oregon. And Doug Williams? He was the favorite of the politically correct crowd, and an average black quarterback whose team happened to get to the Super Bowl. Again, a heck of a strong arm that could throw the play-action from Tampa Bay to Detroit, but couldn’t consistently hit his receivers ten yards up the field. So must we over-celebrate players just because they are playing in non-traditional roles? Can’t we just quietly accept that the game is naturally evolving to a degree?
What about attributes? Is it too politically incorrect to talk about the attributes of blacks as versus whites in sports? Jimmy the Greek wouldn’t want to answer that one. The current crop of black quarterbacks aren’t as well-suited to the drop-back, in-the-pocket, accurate-passing quarterback position. Most black quarterbacks, current and past, have relied on running, speed, power, and moves, and that is what people expect of them. And white guys are rarely (if ever) suited to the nimble, herky-jerky, deftly-moving, ultra-quick tailback position. How many black quarterbacks play a game like Montana, Elway, Marino, etc.? There have only been a few. And name me one white running back that ran/moved like Barry Sanders, Walter Payton, or Billy Sims. White running backs — the few that there are — play fullback, and run the straight-ahead, slower, power game like Mike Alstott and Cory Schlesinger. Is it a sin to note this? How can someone like me watch, follow, and obsess on this game for so long, and not notice it?
The black coach and black quarterback worshipping is a product of political correctness; it exists, it is real, and it is indeed tiresome. Why does nobody question why the Dusty Baker incident went by so quietly, when he actually spoke more like a racist — as the media would term it — in terms of talking about characteristics in which blacks were superior to whites? He was talking about how whites and blacks adapt differently to the hot weather, and of course, Dusty Baker was entirely correct. He is not a racist. I thought his remarks were fascinating, and besides, can’t those remarks be substantiated by anthropology? But the media was fairly passive about that incident because Baker is black.
Rush Limbaugh — a neocon-Republican shill that I almost never agree with — is a heck of a football mind. He knows the game, and I’ll always give him that. Dusty Baker was speaking on the basis of his years of experience with the game and the people who play it, and so was Rush.
Rush was sensationalizing his remarks up, as these radio talk show guys do, and that is a different matter. He was guilty of stupidly throwing out political incorrectness at a very unforgiving, PC crowd. His purpose/job was to comment on football, not politics in football. Stupid, yes. But that does not make him a racist. Should he have been fired if he didn’t resign? Yes, his brand of politics did not belong on the show, and certainly not framed in that context. Rush was right, but irresponsible and stupid all the same.
Karen De Coster, CPA, [send her mail] is a libertarian freelance writer, graduate student in Austrian Economics, and a business professional from Michigan. Her first book is still in the works. See her Mises Institute archive for more online articles, and check out her website, along with her blog.