Minnesota: land of underused though highly skilled Black quarterbacks

There’s too much emphasis on White and not enough on win 


The elephant in the middle of the sports living room is back: another round of a decreasing number of Black quarterbacks (irrespective of RGIII, the phenomenal Black quarterback of the Washington Redskins). Sports columnists in this paper periodically hint at it in terms of Minnesota. Time to put it front and center.

Vikings Joe Webb and Gopher MarQueis Grey are highly skilled Black quarterbacks with tremendous talents being underutilized. Let’s talk about it.

Two years ago, after Bret Favre was injured, Joe Webb and Adrian Peterson carried the Vikings on their backs. Who can forget Webb’s performance in the victory over the Philadelphia Eagles? Then came the NFL draft the following spring.

Vikings first-round draft choice: Christian Ponder, an excellent college quarterback from Florida State University. Immediately, White Minnesota sports writers and broadcasters proclaimed him as the second coming of such White wonders as Bret Favre, Fran Tarkington and Johnny Unitas.

Joe Webb’s snaps last season were significantly reduced. They did put him in some wildcat packages. And a couple of times they tried to make a wide receiver out of him.

A pause to note two things: First, we understand first-rounders and the money they are paid often necessitates playing them before they are ready. The test is over. Ponder isn’t ready.

Secondly, always play the best players, regardless of color. This is not a civil rights rant, nor a call for affirmative action, nor a call for some kind of idiotic quota system. Those who accuse me of that haven’t read my books and columns nor heard my radio nor seen my TV show. This is about the fans getting the best players playing so their teams have the best chance to win.

As I wrote in my November 7, 2012 column on the Timberwolves, “Play the best players, whether all White, all Black or a combination.” Race only comes in play where “Great White Hope” thinking is in play, the desire to win with Whites, not Blacks.

Last year’s Vikings won a total of three games under Ponder. This year, after a 5-2 start the schedule caught up with them, going 1-4 in the last stretch.

Has Coach Leslie Frazier been told that no matter how much the Vikings slide, Ponder must be his quarterback of the future? I just hope that after they finish 6-10 with Ponder at quarterback, Leslie Frazier, for whom I have great respect, still has a job.

Now let’s talk about how poorly the University of Minnesota is utilizing MarQueis Grey, who UM admits is “one of the most highly regarded dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation.” The unspoken rule: a winning injured quarterback gets his starting job back when he returns.

Grey has returned from injury after leading the Gophers to a 4-0 start. So why isn’t he starting again?

For three years, the White media in this town, who criticized Joe Webb, equally criticized MarQueis Grey, implying that neither African American had the intellectual skills or a deep enough intellectual knowledge of the game to be a winning quarterback in control of games, despite their obvious records to the contrary. At play, as with the Timberwolves, is Minnesota White sports media thinking about the wrong “w,” thinking White and not win.

And please, let’s dispense with all the fluff about how much they love Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, and Dante Culpepper. Even at the top of their game there was always some harping criticism of their lacking the intellect, the smarts, and the gifts to control and win games, despite their winning. In the case of Joe Webb, with Ponder the designated future, waive Webb and allow him to catch on with a team that appreciates his intelligence and skills.

The Star Tribune famously published a 21-day series on race in Minnesota in June 1990. Key sentences: “The Twins are burdened by a history of racism.” “…the Gopher program has ignored the contributions of the minority community.” “When it comes to the Vikings, a hidden resentment in the minority community boiled over last year…”

The cover of Mpls/St.Paul magazine, January 1990: “I’m not racist, but…. ‘Nice’ Minnesotans don’t talk about it, but the ugly fact is that racism is alive — and growing — in the Twin Cities.”

Another clue: Most coaches are former players. The majority of players are Black. The vast majority of coaches are White.

Stay tuned.


Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.




12 Comments on “Minnesota: land of underused though highly skilled Black quarterbacks”

  1. I understand your complaint with Joe Webb, but the issue with GRAY is different. Due to Gray’s injury and ineffectiveness of his backup the coaches removed a redshirt from Nelson. You don’t burn a redshirt of your most prized recruit in the previous recruiting class and let him sit on the bench. It’s unfortunate for Gray on how events unfolded.

    Side comment, the Gophers were 2-0 under Gray before his injury, not 4-0.

  2. Wow, two articles today about race and MN sports. This one is equally pathetic as the Twins one. First of all, his name is Gray, not Grey. I know Junior High writers who can get names right. I’m assuming you haven’t watched a single minute of the Gophers. The Gophers were losing in the third game when Gray got hurt. He didn’t even play in the 4th game. Seriously, do some research. As for Ponder, most people were extremely critical of the Vikings when he was drafted and most people want him pulled for Webb now. But the coach of the Vikings (who is black) hasn’t made that decision. But again, don’t let facts get in the way of your argument.

  3. Everyone knows black aren’t cut out to play QB at the Big 10 level, so you can kiss my GopherHole, you whiner!

    1. Relevant to MarQueis Gray, why Jack?

      Gray, Abdul-Khaliq, Cockerham, Fleetwood, Holt, Foggie, Avery, Dungy, Curry, Stephens…all black, all starters. Yep, the Gophers sure discriminate..

  4. While we’ll never know if Gray or Webb intellectually has what it takes to be the starting QB (it’s almost impossible for a fan to figure that out), we can say for certain that you don’t have the intellectual ability or finely-tuned analytical abilities to discuss or philosophize on issues of racism. Being black does not qualify you to write about racism against blacks. You don’t have a clue. Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: after years and years of whites treating blacks with prejudice, the tides have completely turned. Now, for the most part, blacks absolutely detest and abhor whites; they’ve made it their mission to do and say anything to further the “cause”; they alienate blacks who aren’t black enough or are too white; they blame everyone except themselves for the myriad of problems in the black community; they do everything they can to prevent assimilation of blacks and whites; they do not want to be part of a bigger community: they want to be separate and in charge of everything; even though they only represent a small portion of society, they now expect a much bigger presence than their numbers would warrant; they refuse to recognize how dramatically our society has changed, and instead continue to erroneously label everything as racist. Hey buddy, simply attend an integrated city high school; the answers lie within those halls. It is there that blacks hate whites, refuse to socialize or commingle with whites, refer to white kids only as “dat white boi” or “dat white girl”, laugh at everything a white kid does or says, fall miles and miles behind the white kids in academics because of their terrible starts in life and upbringings and lack of values and insane priorities their so-called parents demonstrate. Sir, get a damn clue about what is happening with the vast majority of blacks before you continue to bash whites. It’s a whole new game from the 50’s and 60’s. Blacks are destroying themselves and imploding. The whites persecuted the blacks for decades and decades and decades, but now Mr. Edwards the whole game has changed and you’re not intellectually honest enough to admit it and analytically sophisticated enough to get it. Just go away.

  5. The more I think about this ill conceived, poorly researched and reasoned, terribly articulated (not to mention highly racist) article you wrote, why don’t you consider the following: Sandy Stephens, Tony Dungy, Rickey Foggie, Asad Abdul Khaliq, Billy Cockerham, Marquel Fleetwood, Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, Tavaris Jackson, Daunte Culpepper. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another major city in America, including heavily populated Black cities, who have wholeheartedly given the “keys to the car” to as many Black quarterbacks as has the city of Minneapolis. The city has embraced all these men and rooted and cheered for their success as much or more as they have for White quarterbacks. Sir, you are a no good racist who will ultimately contribute more to dividing the races than most white men of today. You’re cut from the same cloth as Farrakhan, Jackson, Sharpton, et al., all of whom will go down in history as some of the most vile, hate-filled, racists of our day. You have no clue who the “white” man of today is. Not an utter clue. In the last 40 years, most Whites have bent over backwards to honor, glorify and respect black men of character, integrity, talent and substance. Almost every law firm, medical practice, Fortune 500 company and University is begging for more Black people to come through their doors. They genuinely care about and have adopted the notion of diversity. So many Whites root for the Black people and smile when they achieve positions like Supreme Court Justice, President of the United States, Brain Surgeon, Chief Justice of the MN Supreme Court, Head Coach, Athletics Director, Board of Director, Greatest Golfer of all Time. The real problem is that a large portion of the Black community considers all these great men to be “sell-outs”. Or, they say, “they’re not really Black”. What the hell is that? Do you realize how destructive that is? You’ve created a “lose-lose” mentality in this country. You want respect, power, money and accolades, yet you cast aspersions at the Black men and women who accomplish these things in what you call the “White world”. In essence, you’ve created a neurotic and psychitzophrenic culture, so that now Black people don’t know who or what to believe or how to pursue their lives. People like you have done a horrible disservice to your own community. Shame on you!! By the way, hundreds of Black scholars agree with this premise 110% and deep down realize that the greater Black community is broken, lost, and slowly killing itself. If you want to turn things around, stop the hatred towards whites, stop the belligerence, stop the acrimony, do the right thing, assimilate, love everyone, and stop pointing fingers.

  6. Joe Webb is terrible.. what are you talking about?

    I remember seeing him in a regular season game a couple years ago and it was embarrassing.

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