Wednesday, September 19, 2007

McNabb - Not All Black and White

"The community put such a premium on success. And you had no excuse to blame racism or discrimination as a reason why you couldn't succeed." Ed Smith

Has Donovan McNabb been watching too many reruns of Michael Richards' YouTube video? Having nightmares about Don Imus? What else would explain one of the NFL's most elite franchise QB's playing defense with the race card?

Maybe it's because Donovan McNabb has issues defending his own game. And lets himself off the hook by blaming sportswriters and fans. Uh, what?

No question, Philadelphia fans are passionate to a fault. We love our teams when they're winning, hate them when they're losing. We've rightfully been called a lot of things -- boorish, crude, angry, frustrated, ungrateful, unforgiving, frenzied boo-birds. But racist? No freakin way.

We're a big city with teams in all four franchise sports. Plenty of controversy raged around Alan Iverson and Charles Barclay of the Sixers, but race never came up. Of course not, basketball is dominated by black players.

Race hasn't come up about Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard or any black Phillies either. (On the Flyers, or any other hockey team, race is hardly a dominant issue.)

The Sixers and Flyers have been in the basement so long we fans focus our hopes and dreams mainly on the Phillies and Eagles. Who lift us up and drop us on our heads virtually every season.

McNabb has brought the Eagles to the brink of Ultimate Success over and over. When we finally got to the Super Bowl, by many lights, inlcuding mine, our $28 million hero folded in the clutch. Not because of his skin. Because of his knees, his ribs, his lungs, maybe even his heart.

Look around the stadium during any Eagles game at all the #5 jerseys. They sell out every year. See all the faces painted green. The hats, the blankets, the big green fingers, the green beer mugs. From the babies to the grannies, everybody's in some kind of Eagles regalia. Yelling their heads off in support of their hometown team.

I can't speak for other cities, but it's an insult to Eagles' fans for McNabb to claim he's subjected to higher expectations and more criticism because he's black.

We are F A N S. We want them to WIN. We don't have attitude about McNabb's race. It's his playing. Leadership. Getting our hopes up and letting us down.

Ever since McNabb brought race into the mix, people are walking around Philly going, HUH? Can McNabb really think we're pissed because he's Black? You gotta be kidding.

The only color Eagles fans care about is GREEN.

Update: I just read Phil Sheridan's column about this issue and I realized I hadn't made one important point. McNabb has faced racism in his life that I deplore and can't begin to comprehend. But I still maintain: not from Eagles fans.

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