It’s no secret that the sports media attempts to interject race, and racism, into every story. However this is a little extreme, even for them.
Writing in the New York Daily News, Carron J. Phillips, attempts to show that Heisman Trophy winner and Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is black, has not received the customary offseason hype that he should. Primarily, because there is not enough diversity among college football writers.
After talking about how USC’s Sam Darnold and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield (both white quarterbacks, who ended their seasons extremely strong) have received almost all of the offseason hype. In addition to giving a pretty good account of how Jackson’s season ended with a whimper, after having an amazing start. Phillips then abandons that perfectly acceptable, non-racial explanation for why Jackson isn’t getting the media’s love. Instead, opting to basically call the people who awarded Jackson the Heisman, racists.
Phillips writes, “Every Saturday this fall, press boxes will be filled with media members covering America’s second most popular sport. However, the skin tone of the people in the press box will be drastically different from the players on the field. According to the Huffington Post and Time Magazine, anywhere from 57% to 70% of college football players are black. Compare that to the fact that more than 90% of sports writers are white.
“The lack of diversity in college football press boxes speaks to why Jackson may be getting overlooked. Because no one who looks like Jackson appears to be in the room raising a hand and saying, “Hey, I think we’re forgetting about the reigning Heisman Trophy winner,” when story ideas and planning meetings are taking place.”
Does Phillips believe that the sports writers are forgetting the person they awarded the Heisman too? From reading these paragraphs, one could easily forget that it was these lily-white sports writers who voted for Jackson to win the Heisman in the first place. How did the “lack of diversity in college football press boxes” negatively impact Jackson then?
Phillips also compares the lack of buzz about Jackson this year, to the offseason buzz white Heisman Trophy winners Johnny Manziel and Tim Tebow received.
“…the total disrespect for Jackson this offseason is quite troubling. When Johnny Manziel returned for his sophomore year in 2013 after being the first freshman to ever win the Heisman, his face was everywhere. And as the fall of 2013 approached, it was Manziel who was leading the list of Heisman hopefuls and was on the cover of Sports Illustrated and ESPN’s The Magazine’s College Football Preview editions.
“And when Tim Tebow returned to Gainesville after winning his Heisman, it was the beginning of Tebowmania.
“It’s hard to ignore the fact that race may play a factor in how Jackson has been treated and almost forgotten.”
It’s actually not hard to ignore, at all. Unlike Lamar Jackson, who lost the final three games of his Heisman winning season, Manziel capped his Heisman season by winning his final five regular season games, including a road victory against mighty Alabama. Then, he turned around and stomped a pretty good Oklahoma team 41-13 in the Cotton Bowl.
As if that’s not enough, another reason why Manziel gathered headlines that offseason is because he became ensnared in a pay-for-sign autograph controversy, which threatened his eligibility for the next season.
Tebowmania was alive and well because the Gators had won a national championship the previous season and Tebow had just become the first quarterback to ever throw for 20 TD’s and rush for 20 TD’s. Tebow also won his final four regular season games, before losing by only a score to Michigan in a thrilling Citrus Bowl.
Conversely, Lamar Jackson lost his final three games at Louisville last year. In fact, not only did he lose, Jackson’s Cardinals got blown out by a combined score of 106-57. With Jackson only accounting for five TD’s, while throwing three interceptions. The offense that Jackson led averaged a whopping 19 points a game, while getting held to ten points or less, twice.
Yet despite this monumental collapse, college football press boxes, the only place in the world whiter than a Mumford & Son concert. Still, cast their votes to make Lamar Jackson the Heisman winner.
And what, you ask, was their reward for doing this?
Lines like this from Carron J. Phillips, “But no matter what the Louisville Cardinals or Lamar Jackson do this season, it’s been a crime to watch the guy who was named the “Most Outstanding Player” in college football just a year ago return for his junior year as an afterthought.
“Sadly, it’s the society we live in. Because in 2017, one of the most electrifying college football players the game has ever seen can still get whitewashed.”
Sad, sad indeed.