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Scarcity of media coverage for White QB's - remain a my

Discussion in 'All Other Team Discussions' started by IPBprez, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. IPBprez

    IPBprez Cheesehead

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    Sorry for the pun - but I had to do it.......

    Scarcity of black centers in NFL remains a mystery

    Sep. 15, 2005
    By Pete Prisco
    CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer


    When the NFL opened its season last week, 32 starting quarterbacks took the field. Of those 32, six were African-American, which is a sign of progress and means skin color is no longer an issue when it comes to playing the position.

    Moreover, most of those men are playing the position well, shooting down a stereotype that wrongly lived for years.

    One needs to look only as far as the fingers of those quarterbacks on game day to find a position where the progress hasn't come as fast. Of the starting centers on opening day, one was black -- LeCharles Bentley of the New Orleans Saints.

    Think about that? Just one.

    "In 2005, you look at everybody's roster and their starting centers and I am the only one. Bentley said. "Then you go, 'Hmmm?' You know, what can you say?"

    Center, like quarterback, was viewed for years as a position of thinking and leadership and the coaching network once frowned on playing blacks at center for the same reasons it took years to see a black quarterback starting in the NFL. Nobody would dare come out and say such a thing, but the history is there to back it up.

    A handful of league types we talked to about the subject wanted no part of discussing the topic for sensitivity reasons.

    "It kind of has a pink elephant feel to it," said former Eagles and Saints center Bubba Miller, who is black. "You won't get the NFL personnel people to say any of that."

    There have been more black starting quarterbacks than there have been black centers over the years. There is no database for black centers, but in discussing it with some who have played the position, it's clear the number is minimal, much like it was for decades for the quarterbacks.

    "At one time, the quarterback position and the center position were considered to be the cerebral positions and blacks, African-Americans, weren't considered intelligent enough to handle the workload," Bentley said. "It just goes to show you that the country has changed, the mindset has changed. We can do those things, and we can do it well. There are no limitations to what we can do or have done."

    To think skin color plays an issue in any position anymore would be sad. The belief here is that the best players play, regardless of position. There are no white cornerbacks starting in the NFL, but that's for skill reasons. Nothing else. So an issue isn't made about it.

    So why aren't there more black centers?

    "I'm not sure why," Bentley said. "It is interesting to think there's only one."

    Miller thinks athletic ability could have something to do with it, saying that coaches move the more athletic players to guard or tackle, rather than center.

    Over the years, the NFL has seen some great black centers. Dwight Stephenson, who played for the Miami Dolphins from 1980-87, was the best of them all and is the only black center in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Stephenson is arguably the best center ever, regardless of skin color.

    When Stephenson came into the league, black centers were a rarity. As he became a starter in Miami in 1980, Ray Donaldson, another Pro Bowl-caliber player, was doing the same for the Baltimore Colts. Stephenson thinks he was the first black to start at center on a regular basis, which would put him 11 years after James Harris became the first black to start a season at quarterback for a team when he did it for the Buffalo Bills in 1969.

    Shortly after Stephenson and Donaldson, we had Kevin Glover in Detroit and Dermontti Dawson in Pittsburgh as blacks who started at center. Glover went to several Pro Bowls, while Dawson was generally regarded as the best at his position during the early to mid-1990s.

    "We had some good ones," Stephenson said from his Miami office last week. "We started to see more and more as time went on. There was no longer a belief that African-Americans couldn't play the position."

    In 1983, Stephenson became the first black center to make All-Pro. By 1986, both he and Donaldson were making All-Pro teams. In 1994, Glover, Dawson and San Diego's Courtney Hall all received All-Pro recognition, which further pushed aside the preconceived notion that blacks couldn't play the position.

    Stephenson has a theory as to why there haven't been more black centers and why it took so long for coaches to accept blacks playing the position.

    "It's a position of directing people, you're a leader, so that may have had something to do with it," Stephenson said. "I think that had a lot to do with why more whites played the position. It's not a position a lot of blacks played."

    It's not unlike what black quarterbacks have faced, having to do more to disprove the theories that they couldn't start in the NFL. The talk that the positions were too cerebral for the black athlete, however misguided, prevented many a black from playing those spots, which means the NFL may have missed out on some special players in the pivot.

    "There may have been some of that thinking," Stephenson said. "I think there were some good centers that never had the chance. They played other positions."

    Bentley was a center in college at Ohio State, but moved to guard in his first season in the league with the Saints. Veteran Jerry Fontenot started for the Saints at center in 2002 and 2003, before Bentley took over last season.

    Bentley was dominant as a guard, which was part of the reason the Saints were reluctant to make the move. Bentley, though, always considered himself as a center.

    Detroit's Daimen Woody came into the league as a center, but was moved to guard. He signed a big contract as a guard as a free agent with the Detroit Lions, money he might not have received as a center.

    Bentley could be facing a similar predicament. His contract is up after this season, and the word is the Saints have not offered him the type of money he's looking to get. If he sells himself as a guard on the free-agent market, the money may come more easily.

    When approached this summer about the topic about the scarcity of blacks playing the position, Bentley was a little apprehensive about talking about it at first.

    "Man, that's a touchy issue," Bentley said.

    He later acquiesced and actually felt proud when told he was the only African-American center, a man carrying a torch of sorts.

    "I would take more pride in being the best, rather than just the best black center," Bentley said.

    Stephenson was glad to hear Bentley was honored to carry the torch for players like him and Donaldson and Dawson.

    "That's good to know," Stephenson said. "I'm happy he's honored about it."

    When the New Orleans offense took the field Sunday against Carolina, Bentley was the first offensive player to touch the football, his snap to Aaron Brooks triggering the start of the 2005 season for the Saints offense. It was a black man snapping to a black man, almost unheard of in the NFL history, although Miller did snap to Rodney Peete with the Eagles.

    With Bentley starting, it made the Saints one of the few all-black lines in league history. Miller played on one with the Philadelphia Eagles, but he was the starter on that line only due to an injury to Steve Everitt, who returned in the fifth game of the 1998 season.

    "You know, having an all-black line is kind of special," Bentley said. "I guess it's because we have the only black center."

    That's amazing in a league where we've made progress in almost every aspect of the on-field product. Hopefully, it's not a case of discrimination, but rather an oddity of sorts. There are some on the horizon. The Seahawks used a first-round pick on Mississippi center Chris Spencer, and he is considered the team's starter of the future.

    "You'd like to think it (skin color) isn't an issue anymore," Stephenson said. "But there are more black quarterbacks than there are black centers. That is interesting. And it makes you wonder about our position."


    ============================================

    Is it that they wouldn't like another guy stickin' his hands down there when hiking the ball? Valid question !

    What gripes me the most is how these guys are always pushin' the race card.... I certainly don't believe this is something that's been headed up by the Team's Mgmt structure... nor is it the Coaching Staff. If anything, it's the Players making a definitive choice as to what positions they'd rather play.... Remember, you can lead a horse to water.....

    Talk about inventing a story.... for cry iy iy.... :roll:
     
  2. IPBprez

    IPBprez Cheesehead

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    Re: Scarcity of media coverage for White QB's - remain

    Is that a double-standard... or what?

    I certainly think that NO WHITE CB's starting.. is a race related issue.. don't you? :roll: :oops: :oops: :-?

    ==============

    Just kidding, really --- but, pretend I'm sittin' across the desk during a PTI Show.
     
  3. Cheesehog

    Cheesehog Cheesehead

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    Re: Scarcity of media coverage for White QB's - remain

    WHILBON:" I agree Tony! Do you think for a moment that a team isn't going to start whos better at that position because of color! Teams want to win" KORNHEISER: "Oh really, duh, Let's move on."
     
  4. TOPackerFan

    TOPackerFan Cheesehead

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    Re: Scarcity of media coverage for White QB's - remain

    Prisco is, and has always been, a moron. This clinches it. Must be a pretty slow news day.
     
  5. calicheesehead

    calicheesehead Cheesehead

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    Re: Scarcity of media coverage for White QB's - remain

    so once the NFL is 100% black, then there will be no issues. Brilliant. I suppose Olympic Swimmers and Skiers must also be biased. Those bastards. Grasping straws again Prisco.
     
  6. IPBprez

    IPBprez Cheesehead

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    Re: Scarcity of media coverage for White QB's - remain

    Ya forgot that other sport where they ride Suzuki Enduro 340's all over piles of dirt... leaping tall buildings in a single bound.... No black guys over there, either.... and what about goin' to Spain and "runnin' with da bull..."

    Puh-lease..... reverse discrimination is okay? What really is weird - is that Prisco isn't exactly tan, either.... So, instead of Uncle Tom - We're lookin' at Uncle Jack? I take it this So-called Reporter also hails from the Philly area? His pucker up ability's startin' to show....

    Real news must scare the bejeebus outta these guys.....
     
  7. Greg C.

    Greg C. Cheesehead

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    Re: Scarcity of media coverage for White QB's - remain

    I thought it was an interesting article, and that the author was not "playing the race card." All he was saying was that such a lack of black centers is probably not a coincidence and is probably due to similar reasons as the lack of black quarterbacks just a couple decades ago. It's a communication thing. White coaches have always been more comfortable with white QB's and white centers because those are the main guys responsible for communicating with the other offensive players on the field. This has faded with QB's because coaches have realized the value of getting the best athlete in the QB position. At center, though, athleticism is less of a priority than any other position on the offense, and most coaches are in more of a comfort zone with a white guy playing the position. It's not that big a deal because a skilled black lineman is still going to play somewhere on the line anyway.

    Unlike some people here, I wouldn't be so sure that coaches are colorblind in choosing players. Not so long ago there was an obvious preference for white QB's, and it's not out of the question that some bias remains. Sometimes there may be bias in the other direction, with coaches being skeptical of white players at certain positions that are dominated by blacks. But historically it's pretty hard to deny that black athletes have gotten the short end of the stick. It's good that color is becoming less and less of an issue in sports these days.
     
  8. PackerTraxx

    PackerTraxx Cheesehead

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    Re: Scarcity of media coverage for White QB's - remain

    So they would sooner be moved from guard or tackle to center and make less money?
     
  9. rabidgopher04

    rabidgopher04 Cheesehead

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    Re: Scarcity of media coverage for White QB's - remain

    Either that or once the NFL has equal parts of all races filling up the rosters then it will be a just world.

    Why doesn't anyone write an article about how the NFL is dominated by black people and there aren't enough white people playing?

    And the only white DB I can think of is John Lynch.
     
  10. Philtration

    Philtration Cheesehead

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    Re: Scarcity of media coverage for White QB's - remain

    Do we really need affirmative action in the NFL? I don't give a damn if the center is black, white or Chinese. Take a look at my avatar. I could have picked Dick Butkus to support my white "brother"
    Sounds pretty stupid when it is reversed eh? :wall:
     
  11. IPBprez

    IPBprez Cheesehead

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    Re: Scarcity of media coverage for White QB's - remain

    I can think of several other white DB's out there....

    Traxx has stepped in front of me on this line of thinking...
    IF QB is so important, as some say... then why aren't Centers paid more?
    It is, after all, all about da money.... right, Tom Cruise?

    I think part of the reason none too many blacks are staying away from Center is the transition of Black QB's isn't rising as fast as "they" think it should. And, another comment about far too few whites playing in this League to begin with could be made, too... Sorta like "White men can't jump" in the NBA, or, more like they aren't allowed the opportunity to do so... in an underground way of thinking? One could infer many things...

    But, when it comes right down to it - Centers are paid less than some other positions on the O-Line and it is pretty difficult to stop the onslaught be rushing DE's and DB's... let alone a DT like Norman hand, or our own Gilbert Brown.... for so little cash... they must feel it's not worth it. I guess us Whitey's just like to stick with what we've learned in School sports..

    Just a thought...!
     
  12. jdlax

    jdlax Cheesehead

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    Re: Scarcity of media coverage for White QB's - remain

    Who are all the white DBs? Off the top of my head right now I can only think of Lynch, and that Stuart Schweigert on the Raiders.
     
  13. IPBprez

    IPBprez Cheesehead

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    Re: Scarcity of media coverage for White QB's - remain

    I'll have to search, but I take it that you don't consider Brady Poppinga and Aaron Kampman as valid?
     
  14. CaliforniaCheez

    CaliforniaCheez Cheesehead

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    Re: Scarcity of media coverage for White QB's - remain

    "I would take more pride in being the best, rather than just the best black center," Bentley said.

    Good comment and attitude.

    This is a topic only one group is allowed to speak about. It is the one group that makes this topic an issue and if anyone disagrees, they are labeled as closed minded and unworthy to be treated as a human being.

    "It kind of has a pink elephant feel to it," said former Eagles and Saints center Bubba Miller, who is black. "You won't get the NFL personnel people to say any of that."

    Any one who states the obvious like Jimmy the Greek gets treated the same way or worse. There is censorship in America. George Orwell clearly warned people but he is censored too. Statistics in this area cannot be used. No one can have a reasonable debate about any aspect of race.

    Nobody cares about Dat Nguyen and that's the way it should be. The best players play.
     

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