My brother, who by no means is a sports fan, sent me a text the other day asking if I had heard of Toby Gerhart. I responded that of course I had, he was runner-up for the 2010 Heisman, played at Stanford, chalked up a bunch of touchdowns, awesome college player.
Then I asked why he asked about him and he responded “I heard he got picked really late (in the draft) because he is white, is that true?”
I didn’t respond to this text, not because I was offended, but because I honestly didn’t know. The past couple of weeks, I’ve been considering this notion that white players get over looked due to their skin.
I watched an Outside the Lines feature on ESPN that came out last December, 2009 about white athletes. It stated that 75% of the NBA is compiled by black Americans, 16% by foreign born players, and the final 9% by white Americans. Then an interview was shown of a white college basketball player (can’t remember his name, couldn’t find it in research) who claims to have been snubbed by the NBA because of the color of his skin. He’s a 6’1, point guard who showed good handles and a pretty three ball. He also played at a small school (can’t remember the school either) but he claims he would have been drafted “If I was black.”
According to this report, the NBA is racist. Not just racist but racist against white people. Even as I type that I have a smirk on my face because of the absurdity of that statement.
No offense to whomever that guy on Outside the Lines was but, come on, do you really feel that some NBA executives saw you and said “Hmm, yea he’s good but he’s too white. Maybe if he was a black guy with the same athletic ability I’d draft him.”
There are a million white, black, green, turquoise dudes out there with a pretty jump shot and a decent crossover. Not to mention, for the most part, the only position a point guard can play is point guard. And NBA teams can only field fourteen players on their roster so it’s not like an undersized one-guard is in high demand.
Sport is about athleticism. If you’re not athletic enough, don’t blame your skin, just go play in overseas. Maybe you’ll develop into a better rounded athlete and eventually make your way to the NBA.
There’s a Sports Illustrated article that touches on the skimping of white running backs in the NFL. Sure, a white running back like Gerhart is as a rare as a solid golf swing from Barkley but, honestly, does it matter? There are plenty of white players in the NFL, just because only a few of them play running back, doesn’t mean the race card should be played. There should be no such thing as a white race card anyway, we’ve (the white race) have done enough damage already and I’m not just talking sports.
What about black kickers, why doesn’t anybody cry about that? The only one I can remember is Rodney Williams for New York Giants(who I once saw kick a 90 yard punt against the Broncos on MNF)
Or how about the fact that black players only make up 8% of the MLB, which is less than the amount of white NBA players.
Not since the Magic vs. Bird saga in the ‘80s has race really mattered in sports, and even then it was obscure. The point is its 2010. Yes, racism does exist but, as long as there are ignorant people, it will always exist. That doesn’t mean everything is racially charged, especially not in sports. The best players will play and that’s who I want to see play.
So to answer my brother’s questions, no. Gerhart was a mid second round draft choice of the Vikings that needed a power back (like Gerhart) to replace Chester Taylor and take some of the pounding away from A.P. Gerhart had a phenomenal college career but he also saw a gazillion carries on a mediocre Stanford team. Maybe he’ll turn into the next Larry Csonka or John Riggins or, more recently, Mike Alstott, but that’s a pretty tall order for a guy backing up the best (maybe second best to CJ) in the league. I’m pulling for him but not because of his race.
The point is, anything can be psychoanalyzed into controversy and everybody can find some way to be offended if they really try. Leave race and politics and all that other mess on a different media outlet but here, sport is sport and the only color that matters is the color of the jersey.