[Previous Letter: An Illinois Reader Describes His Call To Jason Chaffetz's Office]
Re: Paul Kersey’s article Tim Tebow: Bucking The NFL’s Anti-White Bias
From: W. James Antle III [Email him]
Paul Kersey may be an expert in "stuff black people don't like," but his knowledge of professional football leaves much to be desired.
There is virtually no racial angle to the quarterback controversy surrounding Tim Tebow (though some of Tebow's detractors may be motivated by anti-Christian bigotry). Quarterback remains the whitest position in the National Football League. Both of Tebow's competitors for the Denver Broncos starting job, Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn, are white. One of his most prominent public cheerleaders, basketball star LeBron James, is black.
If anything, Tebow's critics prove that skepticism about "dual threat" quarterbacks in the NFL is color-blind. Run first, pass second quarterbacks have generally not fared as well as pocket passers in professional football. The second complaint about Tebow is that the long wind-up in his throwing motion may prevent him from getting the ball out quickly enough against faster pro defenses.
Tebow's critics will have their chance to be proven right or wrong, as he appears likely to remain the starter for a significant stretch of the season. Incidentally, October 23 actually marked Tebow's fourth NFL start, not his first. He started three games last season and played in nine, posting a respectable 82.1 passer rating. But there is one red flag: he only completed 45.9 percent of his pass attempts. Tebow's completion percentage against the dreadful Miami Dolphins Week 7 was 50 percent. We'll see if his improvement continues, as Tebow has hardly suffered from a lack of media attention.
Mr. Kersey is also mistaken about Michael Vick. Vick was never more popular than he was last season, his first as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles—after being imprisoned for animal cruelty. Why? Because Vick was a winner, with his improved passing ability putting the "dual" back in "dual threat." Vick completed 62.6 percent of his passes for over 3,000 yards, both career highs. The Associated Press named Vick NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
Vick threw 21 touchdowns in 12 games and ran for 9 more, achieving a solid 100.2 quarterback rating. He has regressed this season, partly because defenses have learned how to injure the relatively small-of-stature quarterback when he runs out of the pocket. But so far, he is still completing 61.5 percent of his passes and is on track to reach his passing yardage from last season.
Anyone who says that there was no public controversy about whether Cam Newton was ready to be a starting NFL quarterback simply wasn't paying attention. (Must be watching the same networks where Tebow was under-hyped.) Retired black quarterback Warren Moon was one of the few who suggested the concerns about Newton's character, experience, and playing style were racially motivated. Perhaps Mr. Kersey agrees.
Newton has silenced some doubters by throwing for more than 2,100 yards just seven games into the season, completing 60.3 percent of his passes while throwing 8 touchdowns and rushing for 7 more. The main problem in his stat sheet is his 9 interceptions, though many rookie quarterbacks throw picks. At 82.8, his quarterback rating is actually higher than the supposedly neglected Kevin Kolb's and only slightly lower than great white hope Andy Dalton's.
Mr. Kersey makes much of the Carolina Panthers' then 1-5 record. But that's as many games as the Panthers won all last season. Their dismal 2010 record was why they had the first overall draft pick to spend on Newton in the first place. Among the 32 NFL franchises, the team is (as I write this) ranked 5th in pass yards, 8th in rush yards, and 14th in scoring.
So far this season, the Panthers have lost only one game by more than a touchdown. This includes narrow losses to the past two defending Super Bowl champions, the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers, respectively. The Packers are the only undefeated team left in the NFL and the Saints just dispatched the Peyton Manning-less Indianapolis Colts 62 (that's not a typo) to 7.
It is safe to say that the Panthers would not have even been in those games last season.
Newton could still end up a bust, or have his bust in Canton. At this point, this is also true for Tebow, Dalton, and Kolb. It is just too early to know. But Mr. Kersey's article illustrates the folly of viewing everything through the prism of race even when the facts don't support it. It is no more productive or enlightening coming from whites than from Al Sharpton.
Paul Kersey replies: I’ve forgotten more about football then most people know (I’m talking about both the X and O’s of the game and the history of the opiate of America). That’s why I was shocked that Mr. Antle would write such a hostile letter to the Tim Tebow piece published here before his first start of the 2011 season.
Since that day, Tebow—much to the chagrin of the talking heads at ESPN, the black press, and the NFL Network—has gone 4-1. Yes, he’s done it in an unorthodox manner, but unlike Cam Newton—who is 3-8 as a starter and continues to be hyped as “Next Big Thing”—Tebow is winning.
The “dual threat” label to a quarterback has always been a euphemism for black quarterback, because it is widely believed that only those blessed with abundances of melanin are fast (just ask Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who ignited a firestorm debate two weeks ago when he intimated that his “being white” was an advantage because primarily black defensive backs consider all white guys ‘slow’) so for Tebow to be both passing and running—he was the first white quarterback to rush for more than 100 yards in a game since, well, in a long, long time—is seen as an amplified anomaly.
The racial angle to the Tebow hate is obvious, as Jen Engel hinted at it in her Fox Sports column before his first start:
"Tebow is about to get his first start and predictions he'll fail are flying everywhere. The predictions are tinged with the turning Gatorade into wine jokes and lines about him being a “Savior.” I have my theories on why. Christians are one of the last groups it is totally cool to go all in on.
Christians. And white dudes.”
This weekend, black ESPN writer Howard Bryant wrote these words, which were heavily hyped in a lead story at ESPN.com:
“THE DREAM OF AMERICA—a meritocracy—is the basic draw of sports: your best against mine, the scoreboard oblivious to pedigree, race, class or gender. The promise of pure competition is perhaps the biggest reason we watch.
Except that it's a lie. Merit remains what it has always been: a myth. Pedigree, race, class, gender, politics or something as simple as good looks might not determine sports outcomes as it might, say, Ivy League admissions, but it has always affected the final score — especially if you happen to monitor more than just points.
Maybe it's the college success, the squeaky-clean image, the in-game toughness, his religion or the underdog, populist nature of his success. Whatever the reason for Tebow becoming a phenomenon, it has little to do with merit. He is all passion, for and against, all anecdote, all subjectivity. Where one fan sees a gutsy comeback, another sees that a better QB would have made a comeback unnecessary.”
All Tebow did at the University of Florida was win football games (he was part of two BCS Championship teams and won the Heisman Trophy his junior year) and minister to predominately black prisoners as part of his evangelical outreach. Knowing that merit alone doesn’t get you a college scholarship—paging Jordy Nelson—it is foolish to believe that sports offer a meritocracy. We have been conditioned to believe in black athletic supremacy, when this is a true example of a social construct.
The upwards battle that talented white athletes have faced at securing a college scholarship because of the widespread belief that whites are not as fast as blacks has been documented by recruiting guru Tom Lemming. It’s obvious this same prejudice carries over to the NFL, as Peyton Hillis told us last year when he was the first white running back to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season since Craig James did back in the early 1980s. Or as white running back Toby Gerhart (and Heisman Runner-up) told us prior to the 2010 NFL Draft, when NFL scouts were questioning whether a white running back could succeed.
Tebow is a unique talent; watching the Denver Broncos run an option-style offense to best maximize his skill-set has been gratifying. It’s always translated into wins, something that Denver was having a hard time securing before Tebow was named the starter.
To answer the question about Michael Vick, you’d have to ask Mr. Antle as to whom he is talking about in regards to people supporting him. Black citizens of Atlanta proudly wore the No. 7 jersey to The Georgia Dome when he was drafted and made the face of the franchise located in the heart of the “black Capital of America.” They still wore his jersey after his disgraceful exit from the NFL and entry into jail for dog fighting.
They still wear it now.
Mr. Antle talks about statistics and posted links to those who criticized Cam Newton before the draft (oddly refusing to bring up any of the references to Peyton Hillis and the predominately black defenses who made fun of him being a white guy running all over them last year). Watching Newton quarterback the Panthers to a 3-8 record, it’s important to note the most important statistic is one he can’t seem to secure (save an easy victory over the Peyton Manning-less 0-11 Indianapolis Colts, which goes to show how valuable he is to the team, and illustrating how overrated Tony Dungy was as a coach). Perhaps those who criticized Newton were on to something. Plus, he has regressed over the course of the season as defensive coordinators figure out how to contain him (the same could inevitably happen to Tebow).
The 2011 NFL season has been a horrible one for black quarterbacks, as a quick look at the statistical breakdown of all NFL quarterbacks will show you.
I see no reason that we should not bring to light uncomfortable facts regarding professional sports and race that other “conservative” outlets refuse to discuss. Such as this interesting tidbit from Business Insider which shows that black NFL head coaches primarily like to start black quarterbacks. Sports—as a recent study published in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette shows—provide the primary positive news story for black people.
Though elected officials are busying trying to elect a new people, I still identify as an American. Not with my alma mater or professional football team as so many Americans do now, since you can’t be rooted in an American identity anymore.
As the Penn State fiasco showed us, football is the new religion in America. Because sports fans have been conditioned to believe only black players have speed (and thus, capable of providing the necessary for a winning team) colleges have had to lower intellectual and moral standards to accommodate their enrollment.
Hell, (white) students will riot when a beloved coach is fired for covering up the horrendous deeds of pederast.
If pointing this out makes me an Al Sharpton, so be it.
Richard Spencer wrote an article about his Alma mater basketball team on Alternative Right, asking why so many people hate Duke Basketball. His answer: because it’s a bunch of white guys playing the white-style of basketball and they consistently win in a sport dominated by black players and the black style of play).
Duke Hate = Tebow Hate. It’s really that simple: Tebow is a throw-back player to a style of play that emphasized winning as a team—no matter the costs—as opposed to the “look at me” mindset that pervades the NFL now. It could be argued that the current version of football being played is the “black style” of play: individuals preening, strutting, and dancing around after every play—regardless of how trivial their involvement was—as opposed to working toward the team goal of victory.
The NFL is now the complete inversion of the 1960s and 1970s: 67 percent black, with white players are the clear minority on every team. Don’t think for a second that this racial change doesn’t impact the style of play on the field.
In the end, Tebow is just a reminder of the kind of role models America could have. Judging by the character (or lack thereof) of many of the NFL’s players, that’s reason enough for the media to hate him.
Paul Kersey[Email him] is the author of the blog SBPDL, and has published the books SBPDL Year One, Hollywood in Blackface and Captain America and Whiteness: The Dilemma of the Superhero. He works in political consulting and resides in Denver, Colorado.