Tennessee Titans: Does Race Factor in How Jeff Fisher Is Treating Vince Young?

Dexter RogersCorrespondent INovember 24, 2010

DENVER - NOVEMBER 19:  Quarterback Vince Young #10 calls a time out and confers with head coach Jeff Fisher of the Tennessee Titans during the game against the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High November 19, 2007 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Sunday, Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young injured his right thumb and was forced to leave the game.  Young taped his thumb and warmed up on the sidelines to see if he could return.  Instead of getting back into the game, Young fumed on the sidelines because Titans head coach Fisher decided to leave third-string quarterback Rusty Smith in the game.

Young was visibly frustrated.  He felt he could go back into the game.  When he did not re-enter, he hoisted his pads into the stands.  After the game, Young quickly went into the locker room and got dressed.  As Fisher was addressing the team, Young was muttering under his breath before he eventually walked out of the locker room. 

Reportedly Fisher asked his embattled quarterback, “Why are you running out on the team?” 

Young reportedly replied, “I’m not running out on my teammates, I am running out on you.”

Fisher announced Monday Young would be placed on injured reserve and his season would be over.

Yesterday, Young arrived at the Titans facility to attend a team meeting, but his presence was not welcomed.  The Titans released the following statement, "Yesterday, he was informed by a coach at the facility not to attend Monday's team meeting and was free to leave. The intention was to be able to talk to the team about Young's situation and how the team would move forward."

Titans head coach Jeff Fisher is taking a page from Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan’s book by embarrassing his quarterback publicly in a shameful fashion.

Weeks ago Shanahan embarrassed his quarterback Donovan McNabb by benching in favor of a journeymen quarterback Rex Grossman.  Shanahan stated McNabb didn’t have a firm grasp on the two-minute drill and didn’t have the “cardiovascular endurance” to run it effectively.

To add salt to the wounds of McNabb, they sign him to a 5-year $75 million dollar contract with a reported $40 million of it being guaranteed.  Come to find out the Redskins are on the hook for just over $3 million.

Can anyone say duped?

In essence, Shanahan’s quarterback is out of shape, can’t think and signs poor contracts.  The latter are stigmas are negative stereotypes surrounding African-American quarterbacks in the NFL. 

In an earlier piece, I chronicled why Shananhan’s treatment of McNabb had an element of race involved. I feel race has a factor in how Young is being treated as well.

Fisher never really wanted Young.  He was enamored with southpaw and USC buddy Matt Leinart.  Titans’ owner Bud Adams wanted Young, so they drafted him with the third pick in the 2006 NFL draft.

Whether Fisher likes it or not, Young is a two-time Pro-Bowl player.  He has a career record of 30-17 and he is one of the top rated passers in the NFL this season.

Where is his boy Matt Leinart?

Last year, the Titans were struggling with starter Kerry Collins.  The team got off to a 1-5 start.  The season was believed to be lost, but Fisher refused to make the switch to Young for a spark.  Fisher still wanted to stick with the struggling Collins. In essence, Fisher would have rather let the season go down the tubes with Collins rather than get a potential spark from Young.

Finally, the owner, Adams, stepped in.  He spoke with Fisher and, in no uncertain terms, suggested he start Young.

Young went on to rally the Titans the final 10 games by posting a record of 8-2 and nearly getting the Titans into the playoffs.

Look at what’s happening in Minnesota.  You have a 41 year-old white quarterback in Brett Favre and a young African-American quarterback in Tavaris Jackson.  Jackson is waiting in the wings, while the Ole Gunslinger continues to stink it up this year.  He leads the league in interceptions and his team is 3-7.

Why do white quarterbacks, like Favre, continue to get the benefit of the doubt despite poor play and off the field problems, yet African-American quarterbacks like Young are unfairly labeled?

How are the likes of Favre and washed up quarterbacks like Collins getting benefit of the doubts, yet African-American quarterbacks like Young and Jackson are scrutinized by what they supposedly lack?

Young has had problems in the past.  He became depressed when he got injured several years back and the crowd booed him.  Young got into a fight a strip club earlier this year and now this.

Then ESPN’s Trent Dilfer began pooping off at the mouth.  Dilfer stated Young has “reached his plateau” as an NFL quarterback and lacks the “emotional” stability to be a great quarterback, but he’s a “good athlete.”

The latter is the type of racist garbage so-called experts like Dilfer attribute to African-American quarterbacks is getting out of hand.   

I guess Dilfer hasn’t seen Michael Vick play quarterback this year.

Fisher is wrong.  He has created an atmosphere that a choice will have to be made.  Most will disagree with Young on how he handled this situation but I support him.  Not because he is African-American: I support him because I think he is right.

Unlike McNabb, Young has a spine.  He didn’t adopt the “turn the other cheek” and “can we all just get along” approach like McNabb.  Young spoke his mind and let Fisher know how he felt.  That is what a man is supposed to do.

Young has been disrespected by Fisher for years and this most recent situation was the tip of the iceberg.  Most will say Young needs to show respect for authority. 

How can you respect someone who doesn’t respect you?

I firmly believe the way Fisher is treating Young has an element of race involved.  He doesn’t like Young, he treats him unfairly and he blows situations totally out of proportion.  

Collins played like crap last year.  I am quite sure if Collins had gotten upset Fisher would not have treated him in the same manner as Young.

Fisher is creating a negative vibe so moron analysts like Dilfer can spout negativity about Young to further create turmoil to damage Young publicly.

I am not excusing Young’s actions here.  I am just bringing light to Fisher’s actions over time to lend a level of credence to Young’s behavior.

Without question Fisher has drawn the line.  However, once the dust settles, he will be sorry particularly if the Titans struggle the rest of the season.

Fisher may have an out.  He could always pull a Brad Childress and blame everything on Randy Moss and release him.

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