Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb always seems to face extraordinary criticism. It’s bad enough that he plays for a franchise whose fans are notoriously ruthless and unforgiving. And the local press is pretty brutal too. In recent months, the man has also taken heat from his own teammates. Despite helping to make the Eagles a consistent force in the league — and even a Super Bowl contender — McNabb still finds himself the target of professional and personal abuse.
Now comes the latest attack from J. Whyatt Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia branch of the NAACP. Mondesire brought a new level of ugliness to it all with a racially charged rant against McNabb. “This has nothing to do with the NAACP. It’s my opinion,” Mondesire insisted. Mondesire is either extremely naïve or ignorant. Probably both.
NAACP CEO Bruce Gordon appeared to be irked by the incident. And with good reason. Since taking the top position this past year, Gordon has strived to bring new passion and professionalism to the organization. Gordon has weighed in on Supreme Court nominees, the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, the Stanley Tookie Williams execution and more. “The NAACP has many civil rights issues that require our attention,” Gordon declared. “Criticizing Donovan McNabb is not one of them.” Gordon intended to apologize to McNabb. Not sure what his intentions might be regarding Mondesire.
Below is Mondesire’s published critique.
Donovan McNabb: Mediocre at best
By J. Whyatt Mondesire
Yo--Donny! I’m calling you man.
Hey, soup guy, over here!
Donovan E. McNabb, you hear me callin’ you. Will you please pay attention?
For a whole lot of years now, we’ve heard you crying aloud about being taken seriously as a black quarterback who can camp out in the pocket and deliver rifle shots across midfield right into the fingertips of the fleetest of wideouts and tight ends. Say, like a Doug Williams, the brilliant Grambling star quarterback of a generation ago who went on to break a Super Bowl record for touchdown passes in 1988.
Well....well...I’ve seen you Donovan E. McNabb--in your formative years as well as your mid-career development--and one thing is certain. Donovan E. McNabb you’re no Doug Williams.
(The Grambling all-star completed 18 of 29 passes for 340 yards and four touchdowns, capping it off with 35 points in the fourth quarter alone. He followed that performance with three conference championships in 2000, ‘01 and ‘02.
Your record is another matter entirely. In fact this whole dismal season so far has really been a testament of fallen dreams and lost opportunities most of which belongs at your feet (or should I say hands) and that of your coach, Andy Reid who has allowed you to perpetuate a fraud on the field while hiding behind excuses dripping in make-believe racial stereotypes.
Normally this column talks very little about sports because the games that grown men play pale in comparison to the great issues of racism, politics, social calamities, health crisis’s, war and peace, etc.; which gives us plenty of fertile territory to explore and pontificate about.
However, this week I felt compelled to offer some personal thoughts about your horrific on-field performances this season because at their core, there is a lie you have tried to use to hide the fact that in reality you actually are not that good. In essence Donny, you are mediocre at best. And trying to disguise that fact behind some concocted reasoning that African American quarterbacks who can scramble and who can run the ball are somehow lesser field generals than one who can summon up dead-on passes at a whim, is more insulting off the field than on.
Your athleticism and unpredictability to sometimes run with the ball earlier in your career not only confused defenses, it also thrilled Eagles fans. At last, said many of us, now we have a multifaceted offensive threat whose talents threaten to not just dominate the NFC East Division, but maybe the whole NFL for several years. We were elated. We were in awe.
We celebrated the boss’s giving you that huge lifetime salary deal which meant we’d have you around until it was time for you to join the other retired stars in television’s broadcast booth.
But then you played the race card and practically all of us fell for your hustle. You scammed us man and there’s no way any longer to refrain from “keepin’ it real.”
We could have remained silent too, if you had found another way to remain effective and a winner. But when your mediocre talent becomes so apparent it’s time to call it out.
Through the first four games, you completed 110 of 174 passes (63.2 percent) for a league-leading 1,333 yards and 11 touchdowns.
However, in your last five games, you connected on just 101 of 183 passes (55.2 percent) for 1,174 yards and five touchdowns, while throwing six interceptions, two of which clearly were game losers.
The sports hernia you suffered after the team’s Week 3 win over Oakland clearly is a mega factor in the latter numbers.
But who can forget your mind numbing fourth-quarter collapse in last year’s Super Bowl against New England.
Andy Reid may not have seen it. Owner Jeff Lurie may have missed it on the videotaped replay. But Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder “saw” it. You choked brother.
The brash and bombastic Terrell Owens may have committed the unpardonable sin of going public with his put down, but was he fundamentally wrong? The pressure, the hype, the clock--they all just converged and your nerve collapsed under their combined weight. Mediocre isn’t horrible in and of itself. Most of us don’t live up to our dreams. It’s when we fake it that most of the rest of us get irritated.
So, for you to continue to deny we fans (as well as yourself) one of the strongest elements of your game by claiming that “everybody expects black quarterbacks to scramble” not only amounts to a breach of faith but also belittles the real struggles of black athletes who’ve had to overcome real racial stereotypcasting in addition to downright segregation.
College football in the South didn’t drop its White Only wall until 1966 four years after James Meredith, while trying to enroll at Ole Miss, which went 10-0 that year, even as its practice field was covered federal troops who had bivouacked there.
Earlier this month Sports Illustrated reporting pioneering black players in the vaunted SEC had to endure serious hardships, such as “Fritz Pollard, the black all-America at Brown during World War I, (who) had learned to spin on his back and thrust his cleats in the air when tackled, to protect himself from late hits; how Iowa State’s Jack Trice was trampled to death during a 1923 game against Minnesota; and how in 1951, on the first play from scrimmage, an Oklahoma A&M player broke the jaw of Drake running back Johnny Bright, forcing him to abandon football and causing the school to withdraw in protest from the Missouri Valley Conference.”
Hey Donny, see any difference yet in your trumped up racial views and those pioneers?
Taken together, your pretty decent arm, strong desire to win, and your instinctive ability to scramble in the backfield gave you an awesome package. Take away any one of the legs from this tripod, and whole thing falls flat as you are right now as you recuperate from the surgery that was long overdue the day you entered the hospital.
Finally, your failure as a team leader off the field to my mind did as much as anything to exacerbate the debacle that has become synonymous with T.O.’s full name.
Professional football is really more about money that sport. The fans know it. The players signs contracts for it. And, of course the owners know it, since they are first and last ones to count it when the season ends.
Just think how the whole media circus could have been avoided had you had the courage to offer only a tiny fraction of your bonus this year to Owens and running back, Brian Westbrook.
The gesture alone would have prompted these guys to run through walls for you. The rest of the team would have praised you. And what the heck were Lurie and team president Joe Banner going to do publicly if they objected or thought you had reach out-of-bounds. Fire you?
Yeah right. Let’s really do “keep it real.”
Leaders who make sacrifices are the stuff of legends. Who remembers a hoarder except for maybe Midas?
Hey Donny...soup guy! Pull your head out of your million-dollar Campbell’s soup bowl for a moment ask which current quarterback in fact made a gesture like that for members of his squad.
Does the name Tom Brady ring a bell? Isn’t he the guy who took home last year’s Super Bowl ring while you standing in the soup line?