Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Should Michael Vick return to NFL as a quarterback?

Michael Vick is almost done paying his debt to society as he serves the rest of his sentence on house arrest in his Virginia home. Now the question is will Commissioner Roger Goodell reinstate Vick.

Commissioner Goodell has been emphatic about wanting Vick to demonstrate great remorse for his off-field activities. How is this remorse to be measured? Does it consist of breaking down in Goodell’s office and beg for another chance to play? Does it mean calling a press conference and having aired on ESPN like Roger Clemens?

Know one knows how it’s going to go down but without question someone is going to take a chance on Vick when he’s reinstated and not if. To me there’s no legitimate reason why Vick shouldn’t be allowed to work once he pays his debt.

Some have questioned when Vick comes back should he play quarterback. The so-called experts in the sports world are trying to create an atmosphere to further Vicks’ punishment by suggesting he should be switched to another position. Recently ESPN’s Trent Dilfer was popping his mouth essentially stating Vick should consider switching positions.


Why are African American quarterbacks consistently asked to switch positions when their white counterparts aren’t?

Back in the day African Americans weren’t welcomed as quarterbacks in the NFL. Word on the street was African Americans couldn’t think as well as whites. African Americans were deemed physically gifted but intellectually lacking. In short, the farther away you put African Americans from the ball the better. Hence, in football African Americans dominate the positions of wide receiver, cornerback, and running back.

The stereotypes are merely a reflection of the society which created them. For instance, in 1989 the late Roger Stanton stated, “They (African Americans) can be doctors and lawyers, or businessmen if they so desire. But it takes a lot of hard work and discipline, and in many cases they are not willing to pay the price. I guarantee you that if you gave twenty white college football payers an IQ test the whites would outshine the blacks every time.”

Twenty years later despite the success of African American quarterbacks stereotypes still abound.

Anyone remember Charlie Ward? Ward was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback in 1993. He even won a National Championship with the Florida Seminoles yet he wasn’t drafted. The so-called experts said he was too short to play in the NFL and he had a desire to play basketball.

Yeah right.

I personally don’t think he was t too short. It was because of the permanent tan he sported. Years ago I had the chance to speak with Ward about being snubbed in 1994. Being the humble person he is all I can say is he took the snub rather well. Lucky for Ward he was gifted enough to have a nice 12-year career in the NBA.

In Vick’s case he didn’t go to prison for being a bad quarterback. He went to prison for the decisions he made off the field. When Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank made Vick the highest paid player in the league he was quarterback wasn’t he?

Despite missing nearly two years of football Vick is still better than many of those quarterbacks who expect to start next season. I’ll give you Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb. After that Vick can step in with most teams and start once he rids himself of the rust.

Vick was on the verge of revolutionizing the position of quarterback with his mind, feet, and arm as a quarterback before made his severe error in judgment.

Folks need to wake up. African Americans can’t relax and think we’ve made it because the president got his. African Americans with platforms fear rocking the boat-President Obama included. We live in a day where we need boat-rockers and not facilitators. African American journalists should use your platforms to help African Americans in the mainstream, hold the system accountable, and to allow the Michael Vick’s of the world to earn a living like everyone else.

Yes, there are more African American quarterbacks in the NFL than ever. Nearly 20 percent of all quarterbacks in the league are African American. Even though Doug Williams won a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins in 1988 and Warren Moon is in the Hall of Fame for his quarterbacking subtle racial stereotypes still remain.

Bottom line: after Vick pays the rest of his debt to society irrespective what the likes of Trent Dilfer suggest he deserves to play quarterback.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I understand you awareness of the racism attributed to African-American quarterbacks. The history of African-American's in the role of the NFL quarterback is tragic - Third and a Mile is a great text about this.

However, I also feel like you are overstepping with Charlie Ward. Ward was a great college QB, but I honestly don't know if he was a first round draft pick. And Ward wasn't going to go the NFL unless he was a first-rounder (those were his words). Reality is Ward was short for the NFL (6,2), he had voiced a desire to possible play in the NBA so it would be risky for a franchise to choose him, he was a scrambling QB which means a team has to be formed around his style, and only two QBs were chosen in the first round in 1994 the next Qb wasn't until the hundreds - it wasn't a year for QBs period, not just Ward.

Also, yes Ward won a Heisman , but so did a bunch of others who didn't amount to anything in the NFL Heisman and/or national Championship doesn't mean being Draft or NFL success. I am not saying Ward wouldn't have made it - I would have taken a risk -, but I think there is more than just race in play.

As for Vick. I believe that he will come back a QB and agree he has paid his debt, but this issue is his leadership. This is not based on his race but his unwise choices. It is difficult to be the leader of a team if they are unsure of your maturity. Race could definitely be in play, but we can't just jump on the race card these things are more complicated.

It isn't solely African-American quarterbacks it is a matter of style - again yes race and culture is in play. It is like NCAA basketball, why do some good "white" players not amount to anything in the NBA or aren't as good (i.e. Christian Laettner, J.J. Reddick)? It isn't because they are white, it is their style of play, it just doesn't fit in the NBA game.