Will Russell Wilson’s success change the perception of black quarterbacks?

 

Super Bowl 48 champion Russell Wilson.

Super Bowl 48 Champion Russell Wilson.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Year after year football fans were reminded that the only African-American starting quarterback to win the National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl was Doug Williams in 1988. It was more than just reciting a fact, it was like a trivia question on some historical event unlikely to be matched. To date, there have been 48 Super Bowls and 96 starting quarterbacks. Five of the starting quarterbacks have been black, including last year’s runner-up Colin Kaepernick and this year’s winner Russell Wilson.

Super Bowl 22 champion and game MVP Doug Williams.

Super Bowl 22 Champion and game MVP Doug Williams.

Wilson’s success will definitely have an impact on the league going forward. Kurt Badenhausen, writer for Forbes.com, points out that “[Joe] Flacco…,[Aaron] Rodgers…, and [Drew] Brees signed a $100 million deal,” shortly after winning the Super Bowl. He also highlights that, “Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks are the most marketable players in the NFL.” While there have been a good number of African-American quarterbacks to start and succeed in the NFL, Williams and Wilson continue to change the narrative so that black quarterbacks should be viewed as winners as well.

Top rated quarterback prospect Teddy Bridgewater.

Top rated quarterback prospect Teddy Bridgewater.

Yet there are many who believe Wilson joining the illustrious company of Super Bowl- winning quarterbacks is insignificant. ESPN’s Michael Smith on his show Numbers Never Lie (NNL), the day after the Super Bowl stated, “I would like to think we have moved past the point where the color of the skin matters…when it comes to quarterbacks.” He would go on to point out the number of black quarterbacks in the league currently and the high probability that highly touted college prospects Teddy Bridgewater and Jameis Winston will also join that list. There are clearly more starting opportunities given to black quarterbacks now than there ever have been in the NFL.

Colin Kaepernick at Super Bowl 47.

Colin Kaepernick  (c) at Super Bowl 47.

However, the number of African-Americans that are deemed “franchise quarterbacks” is quite small. Franchise quarterbacks are not only given an opportunity to start for their team but are given long-term contracts worth $100 million dollars or more. These rewards come to quarterbacks whose teams feel are the long-term solution for the quarterback position, and who generate confidence of a Super Bowl victory. In this regard, there is still significant room for improvement for racial equality as it appears the determination of franchise quarterback is still easier to achieve for white quarterbacks than anyone else.

Michael Vick has accomplished a great deal in his career including signing 2 different $100 million contracts.

Michael Vick has accomplished a great deal in his career including signing two different $100 million contracts.

Currently, the only black quarterback in the NFL who has signed a $50 million dollar guaranteed contract (or contract extension) or greater since the 2010 season is Michael Vick. In the meantime, there have been at least six of those types of contracts signed by white quarterbacks since the end of the 2012 season alone. Franchises show their belief in the future of the players by signing them to long-term lucrative contracts, not just giving them a chance to prove themselves on the field.

Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are both signed to rookie contracts that paid them less than a million dollars for this entire season ($526,220 and $740,840 respectively). ESPN NFL Insider Dan Graziano explains, “When you’re still a couple of years from really having to pay your franchise quarterback…your GM’s offseason priority list becomes a lot more fun.” With their recent success, there is little doubt that their teams will sign them to lucrative deals in the future.

Will Robert Griffin III (l) or Cam Newton (r) earn lucrative deals from their current team?

Will Robert Griffin III (l) or Cam Newton (r) earn lucrative deals from their current team?

The true test of the evaluation of the black quarterbacks will come when other young black quarterbacks with less success than Wilson and Kaepernick, but showing just as much promise, are available for contract extensions. Will Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, and Geno Smith be given the same faith by their franchises with long-term contracts as Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, or Jay Cutler? Black quarterbacks are beyond the point of proving that they deserve an opportunity. At this point, if the franchises truly believe in these young men, they will show them the money.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Sports memories of 2013

LeBron James continues to prove he is the best basketball player on the planet as he wins the NBA Championship and  Finals MVP in consecutive years.

LeBron James continues to prove he is the best basketball player on the planet as he wins the NBA Championship and Finals MVP in consecutive years.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Every year has a unique sports identity and 2013 had a number of trends that immediately come to mind. This year the sports world treated us to fantastic moments like a Super Bowl that was decided in the final minutes and thrilling plays throughout a seven-game series in the NBA Finals. Game 6 of the NBA Finals might be viewed as the game of the year as it provided us with scintillating plays all the way to the end.

Ray Allen (r) makes what might be the play of the year in 2013 as he drills a 3 pointer to tie Game 6 in the final seconds of regulation over Tony Parker (c) and Kawhi Leonard (l).

Ray Allen (r) makes what might be the play of the year in 2013 as he drills a 3-pointer to tie Game 6 in the final seconds of regulation over Tony Parker (c) and Kawhi Leonard (l).

We also witnessed serious tragedy in sports, headlined by the bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. While there was something memorable about the different sporting events throughout 2013, there were some trends that connected the various sports.

 

Derek Jeter (l) and Kobe Bryant (r) are hoping to fully recover from their injuries and have a much better 2014.

Derek Jeter (l) and Kobe Bryant (r) are hoping to fully recover from their injuries and have a much better 2014.

Superstar injuries: 2013 was a year in which some of the biggest names in sports spent a great deal of time on the injured list. Derek Jeter, Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Rob Gronkowski, Matt Harvey, Robert Griffin III, Matt Kemp, Rajon Rondo, Arian Foster and Russell Westbrook were just several of the many All-Star caliber players  who suffered lengthy injuries this calendar year. Adrian Peterson has altered the perception of the impact of some of these injuries as he returned in record time to win the 2012-13 National Football League (NFL) MVP award after tearing the ACL in his knee at the end of the 2011-12 season. It is becoming apparent that Peterson’s recovery was exceptional and that it seems unreasonable to expect any athlete to return to action and be better than they were before the injury.

 

Serena Williams raises her title as she continues her dominance at the U.S. Open.

Serena Williams raises her title as she continues her dominance at the U.S. Open.

Elite performances by the elite performers: The 2013 calendar year was tremendous for the best players in almost every sport. Peyton Manning set NFL records for quarterback in the 2013-14 season en route to a likely fifth MVP award. Miguel Cabrera proved to be the best offensive player in Major League Baseball (MLB), winning the American League (AL) MVP award for the second consecutive season. Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal each won two out of four Grand Slam titles this year on the tennis tour. Tiger Woods reclaimed his position as the number one ranked golfer in the world while winning five tournaments in 2013. Perhaps no performance stands out more than LeBron James capturing his second consecutive National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals MVP award and fourth league MVP award this year as he led the Miami Heat to back-to-back championships.

 

Mariano Rivera was classy as he watched the mess that is New York sports crumble around him,.

Mariano Rivera was classy as he watched the mess that is New York sports crumble around him.

Tough year in New York sports: The Yankees and Mets both faced numerous injuries to key players and failed to make the postseason this year. The Yankees had to watch their rivals the Boston Red Sox win another title. They also have to try to cope with the retirement of legend Mariano Rivera, the loss of their best offensive player Robinson Cano, the unavailability of currently suspended, scandal-plagued player Alex Rodriguez while hoping that Derek Jeter is going to be healthy and productive all season. The Giants and Jets both had mediocre seasons and will be watching the upcoming NFL playoffs from home, missing the chance to play in the Super Bowl which will be played in their hometown. Both football teams will likely make numerous player changes as they look to rebound next year. The Knicks and Nets are off to painfully slow starts to the 2013-14 NBA season. Any talk about NBA championship contention for either team seems extremely far-fetched as both teams have a long way to go just to make the playoffs this year.

 

2013 Boston Marathon participants are emotional wrecks as they witness copious innocent people injured on the street.

2013 Boston Marathon participants are emotional wrecks as they witness copious innocent people injured on the street.

Sporting world’s negative headlines: The two bombs that exploded during the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 may be the most unfortunately memorable event that took place in sports. With approximately 264 people injured and 3 spectators killed that day, the tragedy unfolded slowly over the next few days after the marathon as the manhunt, shootout with one alleged perpetrator and eventual capture of the other alleged perpetrators played out on television like harrowing scenes from the FOX Network show 24.

Many were surprised to witness Aaron Hernandez being arrested in connection with a murder shortly before the start of the NFL season.

Many were surprised to witness Aaron Hernandez being arrested in connection with a murder shortly before the start of the NFL season.

2013 was also witness to the arrest for murder and gun charges of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez is currently imprisoned as he awaits trial for the serious charges. The Miami Dolphins sparked greater debates about bullying in athletics as news surfaced about Jonathan Martin walking away from the team after alleging that he was bullied by teammates, specifically Richie Incognito. The NFL is still investigating this matter. Meanwhile, Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was able to perform on the field while being investigated by local Florida prosecutors after he was accused of sexually assaulting a female who also attends Florida State. The prosecutor’s decision to not pursue charges against Winston still raised questions about whether some athletes get special treatment from law enforcement as the attorney for the accuser remains adamant that her client was violated. At the same time, Winston consistently asserted that his encounter with the accuser was consensual and that he “did nothing wrong.”

The Louisville Cardinals honor injured teammate Kevin Ware as they celebrate winning the National Championship in college basketball.

The Louisville Cardinals honor injured teammate Kevin Ware as they celebrate winning the National Championship in college basketball.

2013 was quite an eventful and memorable sports year. Kevin Ware breaking his leg during the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament was a gruesome sight but provided the impetus to propel the Louisville Cardinals to the national title. College football’s Nick Saban, coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide and Women’s college basketball’s Geno Auriemma of the Connecticut Huskies proved to be the dominant coaches in their sports as they led their teams to another national title.

Ray Lewis' last game in the NFL ended with him holding the Lombardi Trophy as the Baltimore Ravens were victorious.

Ray Lewis’ last game in the NFL ended with him holding the Lombardi Trophy as the Baltimore Ravens were victorious.

The Minnesota Lynx (WNBA) and Miami Heat (NBA) won championships in 2013 and have been in the finals each of the last three years. “Big Papi” David Ortiz led the Boston Red Sox through the post season again to win the World Series over the St. Louis Cardinals. Meanwhile, Ray Lewis was able to retire on top as the Baltimore Ravens pulled out a narrow victory over the San Francisco 49ers. With the Winter Olympics in Russia and World Cup in Brazil (for which the U.S. team was placed in the Group of Death) on docket, 2014 seems poised to garner even more interest than 2013 did in the sports world.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

Jameis Winston takes home the 2013 Heisman Trophy

 

Jameis Winston adds the Heisman Trophy to the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award (featured above) with a convincing tally of votes.

Jameis Winston adds the Heisman Trophy to the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award (featured above) with a convincing tally of  668 first place votes.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

The Heisman Trophy was awarded to red-shirt freshman Jameis Winston Saturday night in a decisive victory. Once the investigation into his involvement in a sexual assault case was ended last week, the Florida State Seminoles quarterback entered Saturday as the favorite to win the award. Winston, 19, becomes the youngest Heisman Trophy winner, a designation formerly held by fellow finalist and last year’s winner, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

The six Heisman Trophy Finalists (l - r) Jordan Lynch, Johnny Manziel, Tre Mason, AJ McCarron, Andre Williams, and Jameis Winston.

The six Heisman Trophy Finalists (l – r) Jordan Lynch, Johnny Manziel, Tre Mason, AJ McCarron, Andre Williams, and Jameis Winston.

The final tally of votes for the award saw Jameis Winston win the Heisman in a landslide with a total of 2,205 points which included 668 first place ballots. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron placed second with 704 points, with Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch totaling 558 votes. Andre Williams of Boston College (470), Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M (421), and Tre Mason of Auburn (404) rounded out the ballot. Winston took to the podium and graciously thanked “God for allowing this dream to come true.” Winston also continued to thank his family and Florida State teammates and coaching staff for instilling the value of “trusting in the process” and their continued support. His parents looked on proudly as Winston addressed the gathering.

Winston adds the Heisman Trophy to the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award and Davey O’Brien Award as the top quarterback in the nation. He also becomes the third Seminoles quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy. Charlie Ward (1993) and Chris Weinke (1999) won the Heisman Trophy and led their team to the college football National Championship in the same season they won the award. Winston will try to keep that tradition alive as the Florida State Seminoles will face the Auburn Tigers for the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championship on January 6, 2014 to conclude the college football season. He will celebrate his 20th birthday on the day of the BCS Championship.–OnPointPress.net.

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant.

Reserving judgment, respecting althletes’ legal rights

 

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is a current Heisman Trophy candidate and currently stands accused of rape of a female student on campus.

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is a current Heisman Trophy candidate and currently stands accused of rape of a female student on campus.

By Charles Glover Jr.

Athletes often generate as much attention as musicians and actors. They also attract more publicity than most politicians. The constant spotlight on athletes makes it unlikely that the public will patiently wait for information to come out when a legal matter presents itself. But, as athletes such as Michael Vick, Roger Clements, Aaron Hernandez and now, Jameis Winston, have come to recognize, it is important to obtain and adhere to legal counsel instead of satisfying the public’s desire for information when confronting accusations that have legal implications.

Roger Clemens faced federal charges of lying to Congress about his use of performance-enhancing drugs in 2008. Though many believed he was guilty, Clemens was acquitted of those charges in 2012.

Roger Clemens faced federal charges of lying to Congress about his use of performance-enhancing drugs in 2008. Though many believed he was guilty, Clemens was acquitted of those charges in 2012.

The willingness of the public to allow for an athlete’s personal life to remain private drastically changes when the legal system is involved. It is often viewed as a betrayal of the public’s trust when an athlete is accused of being involved with something that might be illegal. However, the scrutiny a troubled athlete experiences is not consistent. In fact, it typically seems that what a person is accused of matters even more than who is accused.

Aaron Hernandez was arrested in 2013 and charged with the multiple felonies including the murder of Odin Lloyd. He remains in custody until he has his day in court.

Aaron Hernandez was arrested in 2013 and charged with the multiple felonies including the murder of Odin Lloyd. He remains in custody until he has his day in court.

The adage innocent until proven guilty does not apply in the court of public opinion and the worse the alleged crime, the harder it is for the athlete to maintain a positive public image until the resolution of their legal conflict. This disparity stems from the lack of information an accused athlete will provide about legal issues which they face. Legally, it is prudent for the athlete to say as little as possible. The burden of proof is on the state (or government) to find enough evidence to charge and eventually convict the person they accuse of committing a crime. Although some information is available to the public, fans would like answers sooner than later. However, the criminal justice system does not move swiftly so accused athletes can find themselves at the center of questions they are legally required to answer publicly for months or even years before there is a resolution to the case.

Michael Vick has worked extremely hard to repair his image after being convicted for various crimes related to dog fighting in 2007. Vick has been a model citizen since returning to the NFL in 2009.

Michael Vick has worked extremely hard to repair his image after being convicted for various crimes related to dog fighting in 2007. Vick has been a model citizen since returning to the NFL in 2009.

The athletes involved in legal issues get far more attention than the victims in the same case because the athlete is already a public persona before the legal matters were introduced. The public’s fascination with the athlete’s legal outcome seems to do a disservice to the loved ones of the victims (alleged or confirmed). If an athlete is guilty of a crime, they have far greater issues than the public’s opinion of them. Yet, if that athlete wants to continue a career in sports, winning back the favor of the public is important. However, if an athlete is not guilty or falsely accused of a crime, that athlete does not receive a public apology from all who assumed that athlete’s guilt. When it comes to legal matters, the court of public opinion can gather the facts, speculate or even pontificate, without leaving  the judgment to the actual court system.–OnPointPress.net–

 

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant.