Donovan McNabb Was Benched Because of His Play, Not Because He's Black

Mad ChadAnalyst IDecember 20, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 19:  Quarterback Donovan McNabb #5  of the Washington Redskins on the sidelines against play against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The year is 2010, and we're fast approaching 2011. Yet some people are still crying racism, still crying that they're being treated unfairly by the color of their skin.

Now I'm not saying that racism is dead. I'm sure it still exists in all parts of the world, including America.

What I don't believe is that Donovan McNabb was benched because of the color of his skin.

McNabb is supposed to be an "elite" quarterback in this league. He has very impressive career numbers and has won a lot of games. Many argue that he deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame when his career is over.

That is why many were stunned when McNabb was traded away from the Philadelphia Eagles last summer to the Eagles' division rival, the Washington Redskins.

The move seemed to make more sense for the Redskins since they've had so many problems and so much mediocrity at the quarterback position for such a long time. Even though the Redskins were 4-12 last year, they were expected to be a much better team with McNabb at QB. Not only that, but two-time Super Bowl champion Mike Shanahan was taking over as the head coach as well, so optimism was in the air in Washington. 

However, the season and the team didn't live up to expectations. The Redskins are now 5-9, were 5-8 with McNabb as the QB and had lost three straight games leading up to the Cowboys game. Shanahan decided to pull the trigger and bench McNabb for Rex Grossman.

Grossman is not a better QB than McNabb, but McNabb was not playing well. On the season, McNabb had 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions; four games with multiple interceptions.

The Redskins, at 5-8, were not going to make the playoffs, so Shanahan wanted to see if Rex, who supposedly had a better understanding of the offense, could do any better by giving Grossman the start against the Dallas Cowboys. Grossman threw four touchdown passes and 322 yards in a 33-30 loss to the Cowboys. McNabb never threw more than two touchdowns in a game all season.

So was McNabb really benched because of the color of his skin? Personally, I think that's a ridiculous statement. Every time a black QB gets benched, people start accusing the coach and the organization of being racist and not wanting the QB to do well because of the color of his skin.

If that were the case, why would the Redskins trade for McNabb in the first place? Why would the Redskins give McNabb a huge contract extension in the middle of the season? 

Defending McNabb is one thing, but saying it's because he's black is asinine. McNabb wasn't playing well. It's that simple. Maybe, just maybe the Redskins are shutting McNabb down for the rest of the season because it's a lost season. Maybe Shanahan just wanted to see if the problem was at the QB position. Again, McNabb had more interceptions than touchdowns, and he threw an interception in 10 straight games. 

That's when all the excuses for McNabb started coming out. It's the team. It's the offensive line. It's the receivers. What about McNabb's play? Isn't an "elite" QB supposed to elevate his team? Have you seen what Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are doing with all the injuries and bad defenses their teams have suffered?

Maybe McNabb just isn't as good as he used to be. He's had a lot of injuries and is getting older. The fact is that he's not an elite quarterback anymore, so he shouldn't be treated like one.

To think that an NFL coach in this day and age would bench a player because of his skin is idiotic. All these coaches want to do is win, and McNabb wasn't winning. His play wasn't good enough.

The race card is starting to get played out. This is a business. This is a business about winning. Babying McNabb and giving him excuses is not the way to go about it. McNabb was benched because of his play, not because the color of his skin.


You can read this article and much more of my work at and follow me on Twitter at