Much to the chagrin of Roger Goodell and the National Football League’s (NFL) Park Avenue marketing executives, the newest face of the League has evolved into a black quarterback. Not a fair skinned, high yellow mulatto like Patrick Mahomes; or, an articulate, curly haired, bronze colored all-American like Russell Wilson; but one with jet black skin and “Buckwheat” style platted hair who breaks verbs and butchers sentences. He is none other than the late, first-round draft choice of the Baltimore Ravens who was passed over by 31 other NFL teams—Lamar Jackson.
Jackson was passed over in spite of a Heisman trophy-winning sophomore year where he was the youngest ever to win the award, annually given to the single, most dominant collegiate player. The irony here is profound, especially considering the fact that for half a century, NFL teams have fought tooth and nail against African American quarterbacks knocking down the last barrier to total and complete domination of the sport.
This decades old League wide practice of passing over vastly superior black talent at quarterback, for poor to mediocre skilled whites, both in college and in the pros is the last remaining vestige of a League started and maintained under the norms of racial segregation. Historically, using every excuse from “blacks are not smart enough,” to “can't stand in the pocket and deliver the ball,” and "would make a better wide receiver,” this old stereotype can no longer pass strict scrutiny. Now more than ever, winning in today’s NFL demands a changing of the old guard. From plodding, stand in the pocket, immobile white boys, to the fleet footed, freaky athletic and versatile game changers; black athletes like Colin Kaepernick, DeShaun Watson, and now leading NFL MVP candidate, Lamar Jackson, are becoming the norm rather than the exception. More than anything else, however, what we are witnessing now is a changing of the guard at the quarterback position, based on ability and not skin color.
Somewhere … the great "Jefferson Street Joe” Gilliam is smiling down. To the white billionaire NFL team owners and modern day plantation overseer, Roger Goodell, all I can say is: Eat your heart out!
Gerald Torrence is a lawyer, educator, writer, social and political activist, and motivational speaker living in Atlanta. You can find more insightful opinions from TheTruthTeller at the-truth-teller.com. You can follow Gerald on Twitter @tttspokentruth.