Separate but unequal: It took 103 years for two Black quarterbacks to face each other in an NFL Championship game

by Aubrey Bruce, For New Pittsburgh Courier

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, Super Bowl LVII was played and decided on February 12, 2023. It might as well have been

February 12, 1865. Why? Well, because the perceived premise that the NFL is defeating racial disparity is proving to be a flat out lie. Super Bowl LVII featured two Black quarterbacks competing in a Super Bowl for the first time in the 103-year history of the league. Doug Williams was the first Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl when he defeated John Elway in Super Bowl XXII. Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes followed.

All the pundits are hemming and hawing about this being the first time that two Black quarterbacks competed in a Super Bowl. It should not have been the first time for that momentous occasion. The percentage of Black players currently playing in the NFL stands at about 70 percent. Yet there are just six Black starting quarterbacks out of 32 teams. Time to pull out the Ouija board, mix up a few rum and cokes, and put Albert Einstein on speed dial because the math seems to be a bit off, doesn’t it, boys and girls? I am not going to name the “savvy six” because we are not talking about reindeer Donner and Blitzen. We are talking about a league that keeps apologizing about its systemic and cultural racism as opposed to actualizing real and substantive changes.

Why did it take 103 years for two players of color to face off in an NFL Championship? There have been many fences built and maintained around the glamorous quarterback position in the NFL. Many excuses such as: Blacks were not smart enough to perform adequately at such a high level, they were better at using their feet to get out of trouble as opposed to remaining in the pocket without panicking. Those myths were dispelled decades ago but those fences still remained firmly in place.

Lz Granderson recently posted an article quoting Chris Rock on titled: “The Super Bowl is being cast as progress for Black quarterbacks.” She quoted Rock as saying: “To say that Black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before,” Rock said in 2014. “So to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first Black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not Black progress. That’s White progress. There’s been Black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years.”

Granderson continued by pointing out that: “Similarly, it’s not that Black men have finally proven themselves capable of playing quarterback. It’s that the NFL has begun to correct a history of discrimination during which the Canadian Football League effectively served as Black quarterbacks’ Negro Leagues.”

Blacks were forced to migrate to Canada to escape slavery before the emancipation proclamation was signed by Lincoln. They were forced to go to Canada to be recognized as professional football players as well as to avoid being shipped off to Vietnam to fight as far as they were concerned an unjustified and unnecessary war. For all intents and purposes, Blacks were always qualified to participate in any activity or profession. However, it has been clearly established that White society would rather put an inferior product on the baseball field, the gridiron, and the basketball court just as long as the competition remained White. Slow White players could not show up other slow White players because slow and inadequate against slow and inadequate, well you know, no harm no foul. Ridding sports of ownership and managerial racism is at best a romanticized fantasy because the I-V that releases the slow drip of the antibiotic to cure racism is relative to eyedrops falling on concrete.

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