Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cincinnati Bengals: Why Is Carson Palmer Getting a Media Pass?

Why is Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer is getting the royal treatment from the media?

The embattled quarterback has consistently harped he wants out of Cincinnati.  Palmer has stated if he’s not traded he’ll simply retire.

Where’s the media outcry?

Why is the story flying so far under the radar?

I will give you part of the reason: Palmer’s trade demands are not deemed serious news due to the current media composition.

According the Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sports, 94, 88, and 89 percent respectively of the sports editors, columnists, and reporters are white.

African-Americans account for 1, 6, and 8 percent respectively of the sports editors, columnists, and reporters in sports media.

African-Americans account for 68 percent of the players in the NFL.

Facts indicate the vast majority of the sports coverage we digest comes from a white vantage point.
Clearly there is a glaring disparity between the number of African-Americans covering the NFL and those who play the game.

Point blank, if Carson Palmer were African-American I’d venture to say he’d be scrutinized more in the media.

Late last year a Q-Score rating was issued which measured the most disliked athletes in sports.  The top six most hated athletes on the list were African-American.

Palmer’s teammates Chad Ochochinco and Terrell Owens were voted in the top six.

If either Ochocinco or Owens were demanding trades do you think the story would be covered more persistently than what Palmer has experienced up to this point?

Based on Palmer’s performance last year I don’t think he’s in a position to demand anything.  Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble but Palmer is not a top-flight quarterback in the NFL.  Ever since he made the Pro-Bowl in 2005-2006, Palmer’s quarterback rating has plummeted.

The past six seasons Palmer’s passer rating is as follows:

2005: 101.1
2006.  93.1
2007.  86.7
2008.  69.0
2009.  83.6
2010.  82.4

Palmer missed 12 games of 2008 season due to a knee injury but I don’t think the injury has anything to do with his current erratic play.

I believe part of the reason Palmer’s trade demands have flown under the radar is because he belongs to a distinct and privileged fraternity in the NFL: He’s a white quarterback in the NFL.  Based on past precedence, they evade criticism when it is richly deserved.

Brett Favre and Ben Roethlisberger are the poster-boys for being placed in the media’s witness protection program.

Favre was alleged to have sent inappropriate texts to Jenn Sterger while he was a New York Jet.  There was some talk Favre would be in hot water, but I knew better.  Turns out Commissioner Roger Goodell slapped the Golden Boy on the rear, fined him $50,000 and told him to enjoy his retirement.

Roethlisberger missed four games this past season for violating the personal conduct code.  He was accused of assaulting a 20-year-old co-ed in Milledgeville, Georgia just over a year ago.

Once the dust settled, the media gave Roethlisberger the space he needed to play football and work his PR campaign.  He did not have to worry about being asked tough questions—particularly at Media Day at this years’ Super Bowl—because he was protected by the lily-white media and his celebrity status.

Interesting how Michael Vick is still scrutinized to this day for a debt to society he paid two years ago.  Unlike Favre and Roethlisberger, Vick has consistently faced the media piper and answered tough questions.

If Vick had a season like Palmer and asked out of Philadelphia, you think he’d receive more media coverage than Palmer?

Palmer—a self-proclaimed elite quarterback who hasn’t showed any glimpses he belongs on that tier—is being protected by the media even though he has not demonstrated he belongs in the elite club.

Ochocinco has consistently been labeled an agitator who seeks the limelight.  He’s been portrayed as a loud-mouth who can be a distraction to team chemistry.

Sound familiar?

Rest assured, if Ochocinco had been kicking and screaming this off-season about a trade there would be media rumblings with nation-wide headlines.

Ochocinco recently stated the following via his Twitter account: “I love the media, I want out few years back im disgruntled n a distraction, I was sick of losing, Carson is tired of losing its still my fault?”

Ochocinco continued, "Carson Palmer demands a trade? Last person demanded a trade in Cincy was crucified by the media n had to win the fans back, how will this go?"

Then there’s Owens.  Owens has been labeled much of his career as being a cancer to the locker-room.  More notably he’s been accused of feuding with his quarterbacks and creating unnecessary friction.

If Owens had vocally blasted the Bengals organization and asked for a trade you think he would receive more negative media coverage than Palmer?

Apparently the double-standard extends to the head coach Marvin Lewis as well.  When asked about Ochocinco’s recent rendezvous, Lewis stated, “What has he ever done that he’s completed? What circle has he connected in any way?”

I have no issue with the latter, but why hasn’t Lewis ridiculed Palmer in public for his erratic play but is quick to pull the trigger on Ochocinco?

I don’t agree with some of Ochocinco’s antics but this time I totally understand his viewpoint.  Years ago when Ochocinco wanted out of Cincinnati the media feasted on the coverage.  Now that Palmer has issued the same proclamation this story continues to go unnoticed.

Perhaps if the media was more diverse there would be more balanced coverage.

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