Race Played No Role in Toby Gerhart Not Winning the Heisman

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IDecember 14, 2009

I wrote an article for Bleacher Report that can be found here in regards to Toby Gerhart not winning the Heisman Trophy award on Saturday. Never once did it cross my mind that Gerhart didn't win because of the color of his skin. Gerhart is white and Mark Ingram, the winner of the award, is black.

Too me it wouldn't have mattered if either player were white, black, yellow, green, purple, indigo, violet, etc...The race card is getting old.

Look at the facts: Three candidates for the award—Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, and Gerhart—are white and Ndamukong Suh and Ingram are black.

As for the winners of the Heisman since 2000, seven players have been white while three have been black. The list of winners includes Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, Carson Palmer, Jason White, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Troy Smith, Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, and Mark Ingram.

If you look from 1990-1999, the list of players winning the Heisman were Ty Detmer, Desmond Howard, Gino Torretta, Charlie Ward, Rashaan Salaam, Eddie George, Danny Wuerffel, Charles Woodson, Ricky Williams, and Ron Dayne.

This means that seven black players won and three white players won, meaning since 1990-2009 there have been exactly 10 black players that have won the Heisman and 10 white players that have won the Heisman.

Guy Montag left this quote on the article I had written that stated, "Everyone is afraid to say the real reason Gerhart got robbed. It has nothing to do with the PAC 10 or SEC. It has everything to do with the reason he is not Heisman winner and not projected to be a first round draft choice. It's because he is white. Ron Dayne won the Heisman and I believe was a first round draft choice. Why is he better than Gerhart?"

Let's look at Dayne's numbers compared to Gerhart's: In 1999 when Dayne won the Heisman, he carried the ball 303 times for 1834 yards, good for an avergage of six yards per carry, and he scored 19 touchdowns. 

He had four games of over 200 yards, he scored a touchdown in every game he played, and had two games with over three touchdowns.

On the other hand, Gerhart carried the ball 311 times for 1736 yards, an average of 5.6 yards per carry, and had 26 touchdowns this year.

He had three games where he went over 200 yards rushing, five games where he had at least three touchdowns, and was held out of the end zone once.

Dayne had more rushing yards, a better average, reached the end zone in every game, and had more 200-yard games.

Gerhart had more attempts, touchdowns, and games with at least three touchdowns.

While, Dayne may have won more categories in the comparison Gerhart would still have been the better choice between the two. Like Gerhart, Dayne was also considered to be best suited as a fullback because of his size.

Guy isn't the only one who believes that Gerhart's race played a role in him losing the award. There was an article on Bleacher Report by Bryan Kelly titled, "Why Toby Gerhart's Race will Prevent him from Winning the Heisman."

...a white running back is called a fullback, or a slot receiver who forgot to motion out of the backfield (and even then, we're talking Wes Welker, the guys at BYU, and few else).

Because no one believes white people have the innate physical gifts to succeed at the running back position like black players do. White players throw, play tight end, punt, and kick; black players run, or catch and run. That is the simple, immutable order of things.

Kelly further points out that Gerhart's "runs will not make you go, 'Oh, damn!' in that way Reggie Bush's or Jahvid Best's can."

Finally Kelly makes his last point:

To the voters, Gerhart is, if I can venture the term, a 'system runner.' A trumped-up fullback in a power-running game who's shown uncommon speed and balance, but is nowhere near the 'other' running backs in terms of skill because of his race. This will be what prevents him from winning the Heisman.

The article written by Kelly, to be fair, came out before the final weeks of the college football season. So at the time, the voting for the award hadn't happened.

Regardless, Gerhart's race didn't cause him to lose the award, rather it was something that Kelly could have seen coming as he wrote his article.

It was the fact that another player was being promoted in the media for the Heisman award. That player was Nmadukong Suh and his performance against Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game, was fresh on the minds of the voters.

So when the balloting was cast and the dust finally settled on who was winning the award, it was the votes going to Suh that cost Gerhart the Heisman, not his race!

If Suh hadn't been pushed by the media for the Heisman award, Gerhart would have walked away with it easily. The media's power to effect the result of the Heisman was perfectly shown on Saturday night when Gerhart didn't win the Heisman.