In a Blacks vs. whites Pro Bowl game, the all-Black team would destroy the all-white team
OPINION: Former NFL running back Rashard Mendenhall set the internet on fire Monday when he tweeted that white guys are "not even good at football" and suggested an all-Black vs. all-white Pro Bowl game to prove it.
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
Some tweets truly say, “I choose violence.” Monday, Rashard Mendenhall chose violence. But he also chose truth and who cares if the truth pisses off some white men? I don’t.
Mendenhall is a former NFL running back who said something publicly that many of us have thought about privately. He tweeted: “I’m sick of average white guys commenting on football. Y’all not even good at football. Can we please replace the Pro Bowl with an All-Black vs All-White bowl so these cats can stop trying to teach me who’s good at football? I’m better than ur goat.”
Wow, my man said white people aren’t even good at football. Of course, there are some great white players, but Mendenhall said a team made up of Black NFL players would be far stronger than a team made up of white NFL players and to that, I say, is that controversial?
Of course, Mendenhall sparked a whole monsoon of controversy because white men don’t like to hear that they’re lesser at anything. They definitely don’t like being reminded that they’re athletically inferior to Black men. I think they know in general that when they enter the realm of sports, it’s Black men who tend to be dominant. They know that. But they hate being reminded of it. It triggers all this white fragility stuff. And because football is like a masculinity contest, the idea of white men being dominated by Black men in football is particularly threatening. But let’s be real — Brother Rashard took a Black barbershop conversation and made it national. Now we gotta deal with what he said. What a time to be alive.
The hard, cold fact is that an all-white team has no chance against an all-Black team because of one critical aspect of the game. When evaluating two teams, we have to look for an area of imbalance, an aspect of the game where one team is a little better than the other. In a whites vs. Blacks NFL game, there’s at least one area where there’s a massive imbalance: the wypipo would have a significant problem every time the Black offense puts the ball in the air. The Black team would have Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts or even Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes (yes, he’s on the Black team), all of them great QBs. They’ll be throwing to several extraordinary wide receivers — Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson, Miami’s Tyreek Hill, Las Vegas’s Davante Adams, Philadelphia’s A.J. Brown, or Buffalo’s Stefan Diggs. These are some of the strongest and fastest men in the game today. They’re future Hall of Famers. There’s no current NFL defense that could cover three elite wide receivers at once for a whole game. Having that many legendary guys running routes downfield at the same time would create absolute chaos for defenses. There would always be someone wide open.
The Black team would score a truckload of TDs if their wideouts were going to be guarded by average NFL cornerbacks. But there are no average NFL cornerbacks who are white. There are no white cornerbacks who have routinely started on any team in the NFL in almost two decades. So the white CBs would be below the normal NFL standard. You’d have guys who barely belong on an NFL field, guys who are inexperienced and relatively not that fast, covering some of the best wideouts in the history of the game. There’s no way for the colonizers to survive that imbalance in such a critical part of the game. The Black defense has no similar holes. So while the Black offense could easily expect to score five or six passing TDs in the first half, the Black defense would be difficult to score on. This game would be a laugher, but I’d love to see it.
The thing about football is that it’s a metaphor for war. Each team is trying to march into the other team’s real estate. Each team is trying to overpower and outsmart the other. There are brutes pushing each other in the trenches like two armies fighting over inches. There’s an aerial assault. There are coaches who act like generals. There are gruesome hits and tough tackles that seem intended to symbolically kill. Football is the most warlike sport that’s not one of the combat sports. It’s also one of the most masculine sports of them all with its many tests of strength and power. For white men to be dominated by Black men in football must be deeply sobering for them — losing at football means losing a war over masculinity.
The NFL would never have the courage to actually put together a Black vs white game, but if they did, I would definitely watch it. If it were on pay-per-view, I would pay good money to see it. It would feel deeply cathartic to watch the Black team stomp the white team. It’s not as good as reparations but until we get reparations, watching that stomping would be reparations-ish.
Touré is a host and Creative Director at theGrio. He is the host of Masters of the Game on theGrioTV. He is also the host and creator of the docuseries podcast “Being Black: The ’80s” and the animated show “Star Stories with Toure” which you can find at TheGrio.com/starstories. He is also the host of the podcast “Toure Show” and the podcast docuseries “Who Was Prince?” He is the author of eight books including the Prince biography Nothing Compares 2 U and the ebook The Ivy League Counterfeiter.
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