In this current NFL climate, where some white capitalists continue to show their lack of appreciation for the African-American athletes talent, integrity, and social consciousness, where sure-shot No. 1 draft picks such as LaMar Jackson are still criticized and stereotyped using analysis from the 60s, I cant help but look at the quarterback battles in New York and Cleveland with a skeptics eye.
Cleveland HC Hue Jackson has already said Taylor is his starter over No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield, but nobody is buying. The Jets didnt fake any jacks and were ready to anoint Sam Darnold the day he stepped into camp, despite the fact that Teddy Bridgewaters redemption song was playing out in real time (at the publishing of this story, it’s been reported that Bridgewater will be traded to New Orleans.
The way fans and media are clamoring for rookies Darnold and Mayfield to start over proven veterans Bridgewater and Taylor is disturbing.
Tyrod Taylor is a solid seasoned QB. But Baker Mayfield is the future AND THE PRESENT of the Cleveland Browns, the face and leader of the franchise, the key to what Hue Jackson says will be “the greatest turnaround in sports history.” HE MUST BE THE STARTER.
Bridgewater and Taylor, are both African-American quarterbacks with proven, winning track records. Both have outplayed their rookie competition so far in preseason and practice. Darnold and Mayfield have shown flashes of potential brilliance, but despite returning from a tragic knee injury, Bridgewater has shown a veterans touch.
I don’t want to overreact here, but Teddy Bridgewater looks GREAT. Solid pocket presence. Making good decisions in 11on11 drills. It’s early, but he’s been impressive every time I’ve seen him. #Jets
Taylor, less than a year removed from leading Buffalo to the playoffs, has been his same reliable self despite threats of taking a backseat to an inferior white quarterback for the second consecutive season. Taylor briefly lost his job last season to white rookie that had no business playing in an NFL game.
How come it always appears that Black quarterbacks are taking the backseat to white quarterbacks? Maybe, the way the media has anointed Mayfield and Darnold as Game 1 starters, reinforces a long-time lack of confidence in Black quarterbacks and a need to see white players in positions of leadership.
Baker Mayfield is competing for the Browns starting quarterback job as a rookie. Will he win it? Click here to vote https://t.co/NNLtn1gmPi https://t.co/yJG6rkZV4C
Will Baker Mayfield win the starting job in Cleveland? We discussed on #NFL Live. Here is a clip. #Browns https://t.co/FhFLXguPPr
With Mayfield’s track record of failed leadership and outrageous public behavior, we shouldnt even be considering him as a starter. Hue Jackson knows this, that’s why hes standing by Taylor, but if Taylor gets off to a bad start, Jackson’s ass could be grass after going 1-31 the last two seasons.
James Brown Breaks It Down
I caught up with pioneer and groundbreaking CBS commentator “JB” at the NFL On CBS Media Day. Brown says that while the struggles of Black quarterbacks still linger, a lot of it has to do with the style of quarterback that a team wants. The league still hasnt fully embraced the dual-threat quarterback.
Brown says Taylor should be the starter in Cleveland, but last years experience in Buffalo is an example of the pitfalls and disrespect that Black quarterbacks still face two decades after Doug Williams became the first to win a Super Bowl.
“Some NFL executives have a preference for the style of quarterback that they want and I get that, Brown told the Shadow League. But don’t tell me that this young man doesn’t have the aptitude and leadership skills that he showed last year…It was one of the most embarrassing situations Ive ever seen when he was benched for a rookie quarterback (Nathan Peterman) who went on to throw five picks. Then, Tyrod Taylor comes back in, bites his bottom lip, sucks it up, thinks about the team and leads them to the playoffs for the first time since 1991. He continues to do this.
Here is Nathan Peterman throwing his fifth(!) interception of the day. All in the first half. #Bills https://t.co/OLWjQBLZYR
“I know Tyrod Taylor to be a man of character. A man of faith and a man of integrity. Give him his props and he can still do it on the football field. He may not be your kind of guy. I get that. He may not have the big arm and slinging it all over the field but hes a winner and there’s a place for him as a starter in this league.”
Greg Gumbel Drops Science
Broadcast legend Greg Gumbel became the first African-American announcer to call play-by-play of a major sports championship in the United States when he announced Super Bowl XXXV for the CBS network in 2001. When I spoke with Gumbel, he didnt feel as strongly as Brown that race figures into the current quarterback controversies in New York and Cleveland.
“I don’t believe Tyrod Taylor has proved himself consistently since hes been in the league,” Gumbel told The Shadow League. “Hes had some good games but in the NFL you’ve got to be consistent and do it year after year.”
Teddy Bridgewater is coming off an injury, but I think the world of him. If the Jets choose to trade him they will get big returns for him. Hes a talented player. Its easy to say its because of their color but the NFL, their owners and the coaches and their fans they dont care if you’re green if you can help them win a football game. That’s all they care about.
Bring the energy ! https://t.co/A6TfbS4oqr
I think its easy to make that argument from an outsiders point of view.
Brown, an insider, implied that Bridgewater being penalized for a past injury is part of the double standard.
Bridgewater…Its a given that hes had to overcome injuries but so many quarterbacks have had to overcome injuries, but Andrew Luck is coming back and overcoming an injury too right?, asked Brown. I pray reverently that Bridgewater returns from the injury and is better than ever. Its a shame that many Black quarterbacks still have those extra hurdles to overcome but that’s a fact of life and it’s understood.
Gumbel’s race-less NFL was flourishing in the decade leading up to Colin Kaepernick, but now politics are amuck in the NFL on every level and the blame is being clearly being placed on the Black faces who speak out against social injustice and police brutality.
Colin Kaepernick is a scapegoat, Brown told TSL. Hes a more than capable quarterback. As good as, if not better than half the quarterbacks sitting behind some starters in the league. And yet he can’t get a job. To me, its an obvious reason. They are shutting him out. You see some of these guys that are No. 3 on the depth chart. Its an absolute joke. The fact that they are targeting him as the reason why all of these player protests are happening — and punishing him for it is just wrong.”
Colin Kaepernick, Meek Mill Donate 20 G’s To Philly Youth Organization – The Shadow League (blog) https://t.co/IulaXPFE27
Nate The Great Chimes In
Former NFL wide receiver Nate Burleson is now a rising star on the NFL Network on Good Morning Football and CBS Sports on The NFL Today.
Burleson doesnt feel that the Cleveland competition is much of a race right now, but he understands the hype.
“I think that Tyrod Taylor has proved to be the better quarterback. Now, theres more hype for Baker because he’s the No. 1 draft pick and the hype is going to be there,” Burleson said. “It was the same thing when Johnny Manziel was brought in. People were clamoring for him and he was making one play a practice and messing up more times than one.”
I see Drew Brees.” The #Browns are proactively resisting giving Baker Mayfield first-team reps because they think proven-average starter Tyrod Taylor gives them a slightly better short-term chance of success so Hue Jackson can save his job. What a shame. https://t.co/6VjElLskRt
“In Buffalo when Taylor got benched, I was like be careful what you asking for. Y’all sitting there calling the rookies name wanting him at quarterback when the one you have protects the ball and has you with a winning record.”
Burleson feels that Taylor has actually helped a positive shift in the perception of the Black quarterback as game managers.
They can be efficient and smart and effective, Burleson said. and take care of the rock and lead teams to the playoffs. Cam Newton did it in 2015. He was the MVP.
Those hurdles that Brown spoke of for African-American quarterbacks still exist, especially since the quarterback position is the most powerful and marketable in football. An NFL organization wont admit it but if ownership has a chance to put a white quarterback in as a starter over an African-American player, its probably, sadly considered a better business move for the franchise to do it these days. African-American players are still being punished because Kaepernick took a knee. Its just not as blatant as the blackballing.