Step into McNabb’s cleats
In case you missed it, here’s the text from my latest video commentary on newsok.com:
As you might suspect, I have no first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to be an NFL quarterback.
Ditto for being a black athlete in America.
Still, something about Donovan McNabb’s comments earlier this week resonated with me. No doubt you’ve heard about the Philadelphia quarterback’s comments on HBO’s Real Sports. Talking about black quarterbacks, McNabb said that they “have to do a little bit extra.”
He went on to contend that black quarterbacks face more scrutiny than white quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning or Carson Palmer. McNabb said, “Let me start by saying, I love those guys. But they don’t get criticized as much as we do.”
My knee-jerk reaction?
No way. No way that McNabb or Steve McNair or Vince Young are looked at differently. No way they are treated differently than their white brethren.
Then, it dawned on me. Even though I don’t know what it is to be a black NFL quarterback, I do know what it is to be a female sports writer. I am a minority in this business just like McNabb is in his.
And you know what? I feel like I have to do a little bit extra. I feel like I have to work more hours and write better stories and do better blogs and tape better videos because my work will be scrutinized differently by you, the viewers and the readers.
Is it actually more scrutinized?
That’s hard to say, of course. I’ve received a decent amount of e-mail over the years, though, that leads me to believe that “The Chick Factor” exists. My favorite one was the time that someone said I needed to go home and bake some cookies.Anyone who’s ever tasted my cooking got a good laugh out of that one.
I don’t say this to be woe-is-me, and I don’t think McNabb’s comments were meant that way either. He was simply stating facts as he saw them, and so am I.
I believe I have to do a little bit extra, that I’m more scrutinized than my male counterparts. Maybe that’s the reality, or maybe that’s just my perceptions. Either way, those are the expectations that I live with.
Is it so crazy, then, to think that McNabb and other black quarterbacks don’t feel the same sort of elevated expectations?
Doesn’t seem so crazy to me.
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