Tim Tebow gets his first National Football League start for the Denver Broncos on Sunday (October 23). Tebow is one of the more beloved players in the league…and one of the more reviled players in the league. He is a former Heisman Trophy winner who brings a dual-threat mentality (beating defenses by throwing and also by running, generally thought to be a black specialty). He’s a devout Christian…and he’s white.
Quarterback is one of the few remaining positions still dominated by white players. The NFL has long been eager to promote a black quarterback as its figurehead and poster-boy. The league and the MainStream Media outlets that cover the sport (ESPN, Yahoo! Sports, NFL.com, etc.) have all been pushing Cam Newton as “the Great Black Hope” when it comes to quarterbacking. (Michael Vick had his chance, but he lost a lot of capital with the predominately white fan base when he was convicted of animal cruelty.)
Never mind that Newton is 1-5 as a starter, while fellow rookie Andy Dalton (boring white guy) is 4-2 as a starter. The anointment of Newton as the heir apparent to media darling Peyton Manning was near completion.
But the superlatively talented Tim Tebow has derailed this coronation. As the son of missionaries,Tebow spends most of his time off ministering to (predominately black) prison inmates. But, in contrast to the MSM fawning over Newton—who was Tebow’s backup at the University of Florida before he ran afoul of the law for stealing a laptop and engaging in academic dishonesty—Tebow has had his potential as an NFL quarterback questioned by so-called experts who consider a quarterback who has a 1-5 record the next superstar player.
What’s going on here?
In his hilarious cover story Immigration, the Republicans, and the End of White America in his American Conservative (September 21, 2011), Ron Unz let slip one truth that must be repeated:
“As in most matters, public perceptions of America’s racial reality are overwhelmingly shaped by the images absorbed from the national media and Hollywood, whether these are realistic or not. For example, over the last generation the massive surge in black visibility in sports, movies, and TV has led to the widespread perception of a similarly huge growth in the black fraction of the population, which, according to Gallup, most people now reckon stands at 33 percent or so of the national total. Yet this is entirely incorrect. During the last hundred-plus years, American blacks have seen their share of the population fluctuate by merely a percentage point or two, going from 11.6 percent in 1900 to 12.6 percent in 2010.”
[VDARE.com links added]
It’s primarily through sports on television that black people are invited into the homes of white America—most notably through the viewing of college and professional football games. The NFL is now 67 percent black—not far off the National Basketball Association`s (NBA) 80 percent black, 19 percent breakdown.
It is hard to believe that as recently as 1960, the NFL was overwhelmingly white: a mere 16.5 percent of the players were black—with the American Football League employing virtually the same amount.
Just as black players were once “stacked” at certain positions in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, white players are now stacked at certain positions like center and quarterback. Only 12 percent of running backs, 15 percent of wide receivers, two percent of corners, 15 percent of safeties, 26 percent of linebackers, 21 percent of defensive ends, and 11 percent of defensive tackles are white guys.
Now any professional sport that is overwhelmingly white (think NASCAR, the PGA, the NHL, tennis) is automatically considered in need of an injection of “diversity”. See the gnashing of teeth over the erosion of black participation in Major League Baseball. See the horror that greeted the 2005 Houston Astros World Series team for having no black players, or the 2007 Colorado Rockies World Series team for only having one black player. [Astros first W.S. team in 52 years without black player, AP, October 26, 2005]
Less than eight percent of the MLB rosters are black players. One can only wonder when Iranian immigrant Cyrus Mehri will file racial discrimination charges with the EEOC against the owners of “America’s pastime”.
Don’t know who Mehri is? He extracted $176 million from Texaco in a racial discrimination suit on behalf of aggrieved black employees back in 1995 (settled out of court); he extorted extracted $192.5 million from Coca-Cola in 2000 in a similar suit; and now he is going after the advertising agencies on Madison Avenue for the lack of opportunities for black people. [Cyrus Mehri`s Race Battle on Madison Avenue, By Burt Helm, BusinessWeek, February 25, 2010]
It was in the early 2000s that Mehri, with the late Johnnie Cochran, threatened to file suit against the NFL for the lack of opportunities for potential black head coaches. But instead of settling out-of-court for hundreds of millions as he did with Coke and Texaco, Mehri forced the NFL to accept the Rooney Rule: any franchise with a head coaching vacancy must interview a white applicant and a black applicant or face a fine.
The entire sordid affair of using the threat of EEOC and racial discrimination class-action lawsuit action against the NFL is documented in N. Jeremi Duru’s book Advancing the Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL.
Before the NFL capitulated and created the Rooney Rule, Mehri and Cochran held a press conference to introduce a report on the alleged black Coach dearth. At it, as quoted by Duru, they said this:
“Football is ‘America’s game.’ But it is more than a game. It is deeply woven into the fabric of our society and is part of our shared culture as Americans. In city after city around the country, football provides a rich common ground for a diverse fan base. Each week people of all backgrounds discuss, debate, celebrate and agonize—together—over the fortunes and disappointments for their teams. We prepared Black Coaches in the National Football League: Superior Performance, Inferior Opportunities because we, too, love the sport and we believe that America’s Game should represent America’s diversity and the best values of our society.”
The “best values of American society” being, of course, the promotion of non-whites (and blatant discrimination against whites) in every avenue of American life—or else the suing of corporations and universities and lucrative out-of-court settlements.
Does a league that is 67 percent black really reflect America’s diversity—when black males are less than five percent of the United States population?
Does the high percentage of black players reflect a form of meritocracy?
Or does the fact that the teams that have dominated the NFL over the past decade (the Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, the New England Patriots) have all fielded teams that are significantly more white than average show that some form of discrimination has been common?
We need only look at the recent cases of white running backs Peyton Hillis and Toby Gerhart to see there is much truth in the discrimination hypothesis.
Gerhart openly asserted before the 2010 draft that he was the victim of discrimination, that his draft stock was hurt because he was a white guy trying to play a position that black athletes have latterly dominated.
Hillis, whose whiteness is apparently keeping him from signing a big contract extension in Cleveland, was forced to play fullback when he entered the league, a position that talented white running backs are often pushed to play. Other examples: San Diego’s Jacob Hester, Cincinnati’s Brian Leonard, and the New Orleans Saint’s recently-retired Heath Evans. It was only through injury attrition that Hillis was able to have a breakout season. When the others have been given the chance to play running back, they too have put up spectacular numbers.
But where did this come from? Why would NFL teams discriminate in favor of black athletes (and now black coaches)? Part of the answer can be deduced from a new book: Showdown: JFK and the Integration of the Washington Redskins by Thomas G. Smith tells the story of the Federal governments mandating that the Redskins integrate their football team.
The Redskins were the last NFL team to field an all-white team. But John F. Kennedy’s Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall found the hiring practices of Redskins (Paleskins as he derisively called them) unacceptable. Smith wrote:
“He moved against the Washington ‘Paleskins,’ he later wrote, because he ‘had personal convictions about civil rights and considered it outrageous that the Redskins were the last team in the NFL to have a lily-white policy.’”[ Civil Rights on the Gridiron, By Thomas G. Smith]
Arguing that the Interior Department owned the ground on which the new Washington Stadium (now renamed RFK Stadium) was erected, Udall asserted that a no-discrimination provision could be inserted into Redskins owner George Marshall’s lease.
Udall was convinced that Marshall was the last remaining vestige of Jim Crow in American sports. He believed that such legal actions would have a wide impact in the civil rights field.
George Marshall defended his lily-white teams by saying that “he would integrate his team when the Harlem Globetrotters integrated.” It took Federal involvement attacking a private company to force Marshall to capitulate.
What’s interesting to note about the racial makeup of the NFL teams in the early 1960s is that it resembles the black-to-white ratio found on most teams now—only in reverse.
Each NFL team has only 53 roster spots, so the white players on the Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New Orleans Saints—all teams with less than 15 white players—resemble the teams of the 1960s NFL, when black players were overwhelmed by white players.
We are approaching the moment when an NFL team will field a team comprised of 22 (11 on offense, 11 on defense) black starters, with a token white kicker employed for diversity reasons.
Will the Federal government step in and try and correct this egregious racial injustice?
To a certain extent, sports teams “tip” racially quite naturally, because one style of play becomes dominant. Michael Oriard in his book Brand NFL makes an important point:
“Into the 1970s, black players were still proving that they could compete in the NFL. Since the 1980s, black players have been reinventing the game as their own. Black receivers and black cornerbacks have transformed the passing game on both offense and defense. Huge but mobile black lineman and linebackers have change play along the line of scrimmage. With African Americans comprising roughly two-thirds of NFL players since the early 1990s, has the game become culturally as well as physically blacker? Or more simply: just how “black” has NFL football itself become?”
But more importantly, with the league at 67 percent black—and with the concept of black athletic superiority firmly conditioned into the minds of sports fans and, above all, of scouts and coaches—anytime a statistical increase in the number of white starters is discernible in the league, or if the league were to go from 31 percent white to, say, 40-45 percent white, sports writers and professional racial activists would immediately complain of “racism”.
Indeed, this is exactly happened to the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, when Larry Bird was attacked for having a team that was one-half composed of white players.
Thus Fox Sports writer Jason Whitlock (a black guy) instantly noticed that the Indianapolis Colts used a team of more than 80 percent white offensive players many times last season, putting up huge numbers in the process. To Whitlock’s credit, however, he echoed Oriard and wrote:
“Peyton Manning is the Larry Bird of this era. I mean that as high, high praise. I’m not accusing Manning or the Colts of any kind of racism. Bill Polian, Jim Caldwell (and Tony Dungy) have surrounded Manning with players who mirror his approach to the game. Race is not the determining factor.” [ NFL Truths: Colts offense has the white stuff, FOX Sports on MSN, September 30, 2010]
And racial change can be rough. Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis ran for more than 1,000 yards last year, the first time a white guy has done this in more than 20 years. As he was re-integrating the running back position, opposing defenses found time to taunt him for being a “white boy”.
But, interestingly, Hillis became a fan-favorite in not only Cleveland, but around the country, with his jersey becoming one of the hottest-selling in the league. Another white running back, Danny Woodhead of the New England Patriot’s, had a hot selling jersey as well, beating out fellow white teammates Tom Brady and Wes Welker, two of the most popular players in the league.
Indeed, white fans of the league are explicitly cheering on members of the minority in the league. Just take a look at the top selling jerseys of 2010, with 15 of the top 25 jerseys for men being white players and 8 of the 10 for women being white guys.
In other words, the free market shows that the overwhelmingly white fan base of the NFL identifies with the minority of players who look like them. But were franchises to start acquiring more than the allotted amount of white players for a team, lynch mobs in the media and professional racial activists would start circling the league like sharks.
Moreover, the Redskin precedent has been set for the Federal government to target the racial makeup of professional sports teams. Don’t think that the notoriously race-motivated Obama Department of Justice wouldn’t get involved to maintain “the Black Man’s Game” that is modern football.
Mehri and Cochran asserted that the game should reflect America’s diversity and values. So why do the NFL’s rosters appear to reflect, not the U.S., but its prison population?
Paul Kersey[Email him] is the author of the blog SBPDL, and has published the books SBPDL Year One, Hollywood in Blackface and Captain America and Whiteness: The Dilemma of the Superhero. He works in political consulting and resides in Denver, Colorado.