By Michael P. Tremoglie
Tea Time Blog
Since writing about the possibility of reverse discrimination in football last week (Tremoglie’s Tea Time Blog Oct. 8, 2009 http://tremoglieteatime.blogspot.com/2009/10/reverse-discrimination-in-football.html), I have received some examples of this and there has been a very public controversy involving the National Football League.
My article was prompted by a quote from Stanford University Cardinals running back Toby Gerhart I read in Sports Illustrated magazine. Gerhart, who is white, said that white running backs are stereotyped.
First, the public controversy:
Rush Limbaugh was prohibited from being a member of a group that was trying to purchase the St. Louis Rams NFL franchise, largely, it seems, because of totally bogus quotes attributed to him that slavery was a good thing and an assassin of a civil rights figure should receive a medal.
These quotes were repeated by a mainstream media that did not bother to do the slightest due diligence in checking the source of them and realize these were hoaxes.
Limbaugh was labeled a racist. This is not true of course. The racism label is used to quiet any political dissent. It has no bearing to someone’s racial attitudes.
Never mind that Limbaugh counts among his friends such as Marcus Allen, a former great running back with the LA Raiders and Clarence Thomas. Or that Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams guest host for him occasionally. The aforementioned are all African-Americans.
Black Americans are calling black person defending Limbaugh Uncle Tom’s.
For example, Warren Ballantine, an African-American talk radio show host, who calls himself the, “People’s Attorney” used a derogatory term to describe Juan Williams, an African-American journalist defending Limbaugh’s parody of a column written by an African-American columnist called “Barack the Magic Negro.”
Here is a transcript of what occurred on the Bill O’Reilly Show.
BILL O'REILLY: The reason that Limbaugh is not going to be able to buy into the NFL is because a bunch of made-up stuff became legend, and he got hammered.WARREN BALLANTINE: OK, we won't look at the made-up stuff. Let's look at him playing "Barack the Magic Negro", and we're going to say that's just funny, that's just a joke, that's not racial either. It is racial to real black people.JUAN WILLIAMS: Hey Warren, you were saying my argument was a red herring. Maybe you should do some research, go back and find out that it was an article written by a black person, headlined "Barack the Magic Negro."BALLANTINE: He made it a song and played it on his show.WILLIAMS: So what? He was making fun of it.BALLANTINE: You can go back to the porch, Juan. You can go back. It's OK.
Such is civility in the America of Barack Obama the great unifier.
I have also received anecdotal information about white running backs that have not played despite objective evidence that they are very talented.
Two players cited were Peyton Hillis and Jacob Hester – both of whom were white. Hillis plays for the Denver Broncos and Hester for the San Diego Chargers.
According to the information I received, although I did not verify it first hand, is that they are both superior players to those who are starting, who are black.
Here is one comment: “Peyton Hillis is bigger, stronger, faster and has a better yard per carry average than “KnowShow” Moreno. Not to mention he is a much better blocker. Yet, he is sitting on the bench and Knowshow is starting. Jacob Hester led LSU to a national title at LSU (you know, the SEC...”best conference in the nation”) with over 1000 yards rushing and a 5.5 yard per carry”
I cannot verify who is faster Moreno or Hillis. The standard used to judge how fast a runner and how capable a running back a player will be is the 40 yard dash time.
Some sources say that Moreno has a slightly faster 40 yard dash time than Hillis. This is inconclusive.
However, Brian Leonard, who was drafted out Rutgers by the St. Louis Rams (the team Limbaugh wanted to buy), had a 4.49 40 yard time, was relegated to the fullback position which Toby Gerhart said is reserved for supposedly slower white players.
Yet, Leonard’s 4.49 is much faster than Knowshon Moreno’s 4.62 run in the 2009 combine. Tony Fiammetta’s was also faster. Neither one start at running back.
Another example was furnished to me in a newspaper article about a New Jersey high school player. Dillon Romain, was passed by for scholarships by every Division I A program.
“He had qualified academically for college with a 3.0 grade-point average and 1,410 on the SAT, Joe Romain said. He ran the 40-yard dash in a swift 4.46 seconds. He stood out for a nationally renowned program. He had been to countless camps and clinics, getting noticed by the right people,” according to article by Matthew Stanmyre, which appeared in the October 14, 2009 New Jersey Star-Ledger.
The Star-Ledger quoted Chris Melvin, a New Jersey-based high school talent evaluator from Elite Recruits as saying, “In this case he didn’t do anything wrong. He just got overlooked for whatever reason.
Don Bosco coach Greg Toal also praised Romain. “It’s rare that any player cracks the starting lineup so quickly at the school, but didn’t hesitate. “He had all the qualities you want. He can block. He can run. He can catch. There’s nothing he can’t do well,” he said to the Star-Ledger.
Both gentlemen told the Star-Ledger what they think is an issue not said. “Melvin and Toal think a contributing factor could be that Romain is white and plays running back. ‘”Being a white running back is not the easiest thing,” Toal said. “There’s stereotypes out there in this day and age.”’
Could Gerhart, Toal and Melvin – three different people, one in California and two in New Jersey – all be imagining this?
Or could it be that in football the rule is “White Running Backs Need Not Apply” just as it was a generation ago when the same rule applied to black quarterbacks?