Hopkins Crosses the Line on McNabb Comments and No One Calls Him out on It

Josh McCainSenior Writer IMay 13, 2011

LAS VEGAS - JULY 30:  Boxer Bernard Hopkins appears during the official weigh-in for WBA/WBO lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan Diaz at the Mandalay Bay Events Center July 30, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Marquez will defend his titles against Diaz on July 31 in Las Vegas.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In 2003, Rush Limbaugh, noted conservative radio host and then commentator on ESPN's Sunday morning pre-game show, had this to say about then Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback Donovan McNabb.

"I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL, the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. They're interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well ... McNabb got a lot of the credit for the performance of the team that he really didn't deserve.''

Rush's comments were out of line and he rightfully resigned from his spot at ESPN.

Well, this week, former boxing champ Bernard Hopkins had several racially infuriating words to say about McNabb.

Hopkins questions McNabb's "blackness," his toughness and says he's not cut from the same cloth as guys like Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and former Eagles' wide-out Terrell Owens.

"Forget this," Hopkins said, pointing to his own dark skin. "He's got a suntan. That's all."  Hopkins would go on to say the following.

"Why do you think McNabb felt he was betrayed? Because McNabb is the guy in the house, while everybody else is on the field. He's the one who got the extra coat. The extra servings. 'You're our boy,' he thought he was one of them."

The first comment is obvious: Hopkins doesn't believe McNabb is black enough or from the "suntan" comment alone he doesn't believe McNabb to be black at all. 

To me, that comment alone should piss people off, but then Hopkins goes on to compare McNabb to a house slave while guys like Vick and Owens are "on the field" easily can be translated to "in the field" working.

Hopkins would later talk about McNabb's 2007 appearance on HBO discussing being a black QB in the NFL.

"He goes on HBO and talks about being black. He was right, but it was the wrong messenger. He was right, but he doesn't represent that. The only reason he spoke was because he felt betrayed: 'I thought I was one of y'all's guys. I thought I was the good one. Y'all told me this.'

"And they did what they always do, kicked his ass right out of there."

The "kicked his ass right out of there" bit, I guess, refers to McNabb being traded. It also shows Hopkins has taken a few too many punched to the head since McNabb was traded last year and not in 2007.

Hopkins didn't stop there with his questioning of McNabb's blackness, he had these comments to say as well.

"McNabb? Great. Skills? Throw the ball? Great. But there was something missing, Vick? He understands. And T.O. - same cloth."

"T.O. got [into] the boardroom and saw the way they talked to McNabb. Coming from where he [comes from] - that's strange to some white people, when a black man speaks.  When T.O. walks in the boardroom with the Eagles suits, he's like, 'What the heck? I ain't used to this language. I'm used to speaking up.' "

As a white man, I might have the authority to speak on such an issue as one black man calling another black man an "Uncle Tom," but at the same time, I am a reasonable human being who knows ignorance when I see it.

To say McNabb is not a real black man because he does not portray a horrific stereotype of a thug, loud mouth or felon is not only ignorant but extremely dangerous.

McNabb is a great role model, not just for young black children, but all children. He's a highly educated and talented man.

His handling of numerous off-the-field issues, such as the above Hopkins and Limbaugh issues have always been done with grace and civility, not to mention recent troubles in D.C and his fall-out with T.O.

In spite of being booed by Philly fans when he was drafted as well as playing with a cast of misfits in the Philly offense, McNabb constantly came out on top, leading the Eagles to several NFC title games and finally to the Super Bowl.

He's play on a broken ankle and has played with numerous injuries, playing at levels that some QBs in the league can't play at when they are 100% healthy. 

However, that is not tough enough or black enough for Hopkins.

Hopkins and his ignorant comments continue to portray the stereo-type for young black men and that is they are either loud mouths or thugs.

An impressionable youth in Philly could hear those comments by a former champ and think, "Well I don't want to be thought of as 'less black' so I'll act like a fool like T.O."

Regardless of Hopkins' personal feelings for McNabb he should, at the very least, praise McNabb for being such a good role-model to the youth of today (and I emphasize all youth, not just black).

To me, it's not bad enough that Hopkins has made these comments, but that they really don't seem to bother anyone.

I've seen several sites make note of the (Pro Football Talk, Si.com Washington Post, Fox Sports) but only Philly.com has really spoken out against Hopkins.

Again, being a white guy, I might not have the authority to speak on this, but shouldn't the black community be upset about these comments?

We're in the 21st century and sadly, racism is still very prevalent and Hopkins comments (even though he is speaking about another black man) don't help race relations.

His comments point to a distinct line between differences between whites and blacks.

There are cultural differences for sure, much like there are cultural differences to Asians and Hispanics.

But the way a man acts or talks has nothing to do with the color of his skin and until we get past that as a society, we'll always see the outside color of someone's skin instead of who they really are.

Hopkins' comments are both ignorant and terrible, and part of me hopes there is little outrage about because of the sheer ignorance of them and not because it's just one black man talking about another.

However, Hopkins did say that McNabb was a nice guy and would let him watch his kids. I bet Donovan is all warm and fuzzy from that endorsement.


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