The big story in the NFL yesterday was the release of second-year quarterback and former first-round selection, Dwayne Haskins, by the Washington Football Team. There are several reasons why he was released: poor play, insufficient football knowledge, character concerns off the field, poor team management. Any one of these by themselves normally wouldn’t explain why a team would bail on a first-round quarterback after less than two seasons, but taken together, it starts to make sense.
However, ESPN analyst, Anthony “Booger” McFarland, had a more nuanced take on why Haskins failed in his first stint:
Often times young players, especially — I’m gonna go ahead — especially young African-American players because they make up 70 percent of this league — they come into this league and ask themselves the wrong thing,” McFarland said. “They come into the league saying not ‘how can I be a better player?’ They don’t say ‘how can I be a better teammate?’ They don’t say ‘how can I be a better person; how can get my organization over the hump?
Here’s what they come in saying. They come in saying ‘how can I build my brand better? How can I build my social media following better? How can I work out on Instagram and show everybody that I’m ready to go, but when I get to the game, I don’t perform?
Fair enough, but the “millennials only care about themselves” take, isn’t exactly a groundbreaking revelation. What caused people to breathlessly clutch their pearls came next:
Dwayne Haskins unfortunately is not the first case that I’ve seen like this,” McFarland continued. “And it won’t be the last. And it bothers me because a lot of it is the young African-American player. They come in and they don’t take this as a business. It is still a game to them …
I saw a quarterback do it. I saw JaMarcus Russell do it. The №1 pick in the draft, they gave him $40 million, and he threw it down the damn drain because he didn’t take it seriously.
The headline from USA Today exclaimed:
It’s not that USA Today disagrees with McFarland’s opinion-but that his opinion is factually wrong and dangerous to anyone who hears it. It’s an obvious clear and present danger to society that should be stamped out immediately.
For The Win’s headline read:
And let’s not forget the moral arbiters of Twitter:
Booger on ESPN auditioning for Fox.
- Annie Apple (@SurvivinAmerica) December 29, 2020
Why is this seemingly so offensive? After all, McFarland, a black man who played in a different era, is simply saying that focusing on your brand-to the detriment of your profession-is not a recipe for success at the NFL level. Yes, it is true that the NFL is made up of primarily black players, so it stands to reason that his opinion would be directed towards a primarily black audience. For McFarland, a two-time Super Bowl champion, if players concentrate more on their game and less on their brand, they will be successful in both areas, but the brand can’t come before the profession. Lebron James wouldn’t have a multi-million dollar brand if he sucked at basketball.
Furthermore, we are told by every major media outlet and the NFL itself, that black players live in a constant state of oppression and fear for their lives. The poverty-stricken neighborhoods that many come from are not products of decisions made by the individuals in those communities, but rather, the result of a racist system that was designed to keep them impoverished and excluded from society. If this is true, wouldn’t dedicating yourself to the craft that has the ability to take you from the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder to the top, be good advice? Actually, it’s because it’s good advice, that it is a problem.
The opinion McFarland gives, puts responsibility for the players’ actions where they belong, on the players themselves. But if this is true, then the players; not the NFL; not the fans; not American society writ large, are responsible for their success. That opinion runs directly counter to the message that the Media, the League, and large swaths of our society tell these young men. What makes it troublesome is that this opinion is coming from one of their own-a black former player.
If one of the designated victims of our racist society is telling other victims, “Hey, your problems are largely your own and not White America’s” it creates a cognitive dissonance that must be immediately addressed. First, a faulty premise is put forth in order to jump to a conclusion that only holds if you see absolutely everything through the prism race:
Names that didn’t come up in his rant include Johnny Manziel, Ryan Leaf, Paxton Lynch and Jake Locker -other notable quarterback busts who obviously don’t meet his stated criteria for criticism on Monday.
The suggestion here is that because McFarland doesn’t mention any white quarterbacks that were busts, he’s singling out only black players. This makes sense only by willfully disregarding the full context of McFarland’s remarks and historical facts:
In the weeks leading up to the 1998 NFL Draft, the hot question among football pundits was which QB would go №1 — Washington State’s Ryan Leaf or Tennessee’s Peyton Manning? Leaf’s problems began on the first day of the NFL Combine, when he weighed 261 pounds, 20 over his playing weight. The Indianapolis Colts would select Manning at №1, and the San Diego Chargers scooped up Leaf with the second pick. He signed a four-year, $31.25-million contract with the team, including an $11.25-million signing bonus (the largest ever given to an NFL rookie at the time). In his three NFL seasons, Leaf passed for only 14 TDs and threw 36 INTs. His completion percentage was only 48% Per ESPN
NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper called Russell “John Elway-like.” Another observer noted that Russell possessed an arm that “makes Brett Favre look like Danny Wuerffel.” Standing 6–6 and weighing 260 pounds, the beefy QB out of LSU was compared favorably to NFL QBs Ben Roethlisberger, Daunte Culpepper and Byron Leftwich. Believing the hype, the Oakland Raiders nabbed Russell with the top overall pick in the 2007 Draft. It would prove to be a move that set back the franchise for years. Russell initially held out from the team, then signed a six-year deal worth up to $68 million ($31.5 million guaranteed). Right away, his work ethic was called into question. One story goes that the Raiders coaching staff gave him a gameplan on DVD to study at home. Russell returned the next day and said he watched the DVD, but there was one problem: The coaches deliberately gave him a blank disc. Russell only lasted three seasons in the league, throwing 18 TDs and 23 INTs. He also fumbled the ball away 15 times.
Unlike Leaf, Locker, Manziel, and Lynch-Rusell was the only QB drafted #1 overall. Further, only he and Leaf were drafted before the Rookie PayScale was in place. As such, given his stats, personal history, and the sheer amount of dollars he earned for being so bad, it’s hard to argue that he is not the biggest draft bust of all time.
However, race grifters will never let facts stand in the way of the lie they are trying to sell. So by manipulating the scantiest of evidence, they tell the victims that the ideological usurper was actually one of the oppressors all along. Someone who isn’t actually a victim, even though they have the exact same immutable characteristics the victims were told made them victims in the first place. Victims, as it turns out, must possess monolithic thought in addition to the necessary immutable characteristics. To hold any idea that is different is to be white adjacent.
White Adjacency can be defined as a person coming from a marginalized background within society in terms of race, and at the same time, receiving benefits similar to those identified as white. A way to understand White Adjacency is by examining racial hierarchy within America as a totem pole. At the start of the totem pole, you have the dominant culture as white or reflecting those of European descent, non-black people of color, and then you have black people who are at the bottom. This racial hierarchy being enforced in society connects to various forms of racism that are individual and institutional.
In other words, because Booger McFarland is black and has formed his own opinion-it’s because he’s receiving “white benefits” and therefore, racist. Only those who think and act like the stereotype assigned to their skin color are not white adjacent and therefore, not racist.
It’s easy to get lost amidst all this logical drivel, but know this, among the sheer amount of thought vomit spewed by these race hucksters, there is one idea they’ve gotten right: It must really suck to be black a person in America.