When it comes to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, it’s not clear exactly what he was getting at when he leaked the Wonderlic scores of prospective NFL first round picks Leonard Fournette of LSU and Dalvin Cook of Florida State with the following post on social media.
As you can see, Rovell didn’t simply come out and mention that the duo had low scores, but added the indignity of listing the scores of other individuals based on position.
Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 20, 2017
He followed that with a list of the worst Wonderlic scores of all-time, including that of LSU DB Morris Claiborne, who was diagnosed in 2012 with a learning disability. Stay classy, Rovell!
Outwardly, you can’t really say it’s racist or classist beyond a shadow of a doubt. But, whether we notice it or not, people always tell on themselves.
For the uninitiated, the Wonderlic Test was designed by E.F. Wonderlic and was first introduced in 1936. It was used during World War II by the United States Navy to determine who is a proper candidate for pilot and navigation programs. It consists of just 50 questions and has a 12-minute time limit.
As has been widely reported over the years, there are many Hall of Famers and Pro Bowlers who did poorly on the test, yet still had stellar careers.
Terry Bradshaw scored a 16, Dan Marino had a 15, and Jim Kelly had a 15 as well. Brett Farve had a 22. QB Peyon Manning had a 32 and he’s one of the most cerebral signal callers to ever play the position.
Meanwhile, NFL QB journeyman and Harvard graduate Ryan Fitzpatrick had a 48, but that never really translated on the field.
Some guys just have it and others don’t, and no test can measure heart, pride, resilience and toughness. In the case of Rovell, we see his prejudiced slip peaking out from under his gown of professional decorum, and he likely doesn’t even know it.
How did I come to that conclusion? Well, it wasn’t so much about the fact that he chose to list the scores of two running backs who are also black, it’s the scores that he didn’t leak that raised my eyebrows.
Other than the quarterback position, offensive lineman are said to be some of the smartest players on the field. They have to know blocking schemes, defensive strategies, and much of the same information that QBs need to know.
It’s curious that he chose to mention Fournette and Cook, but not that of OL Garett Bolles out of Utah. You know who Bolles is, right? He only played one year for the Utes but is highly touted and projected to be an early round draft pick.
So, I’m perplexed why his score of 9 on the Wonderlic escaped Rovell’s gaze, yet two brothers who actually scored a bit higher than Bolles did not. I can’t speculate too much on Rovell’s mindset at the time that he posted that not-so-subtle knock on the intelligence of Fournette and Cook, but his sanctimonious allusion is actually prevalent throughout American society. It is a mindset that believes standardized testing somehow is a true testament to pragmatic and functional intelligence. But that’s false.
Of the top five Wonderlic scores ever recorded, only Harvard grad Pat McInally, who scored 50 and played both wide receiver and punter, has ever been to a Super Bowl or Pro Bowl. But, again, you’d think that someone with all the funding and resources of the so-called Worldwide Leader in Sports would be aware of that.
So, while this may not be a racist or classist on the surface, it has a very similar stench.