Michael Vick, Cam Newton, Terrelle Pryor And The Media’s Attempt to Deter The Black Quarterback: Part 1
The Powers that Be don’t want Michael Vick to happen again — so they remind us. The Man is leery of Cam Newton — so he seeks to control him. The Shield doesn’t want Terrelle Pryor to be — so they will break him – or try to.
Serious work is being put in these days when it comes to the Black quarterback — the media that encouraged many to hate Michael Vick now lay petals at his feet while he reassembles his life and resurrected career. Meanwhile the constant criticism of Carolina Panthers rookie Cam Newton after each game that he “struggles” seems almost sublime. Don’t all rookies struggle at some point? And what about the conscious effort to pass Terrelle Pryor off as nothing more than a problem child whose career will eventually become the train wreck many in Columbus, OH are hoping to see.
That’s the word that comes to mind when I think of the trio of Michael Vick, Cam Newton and Terrelle Pryor. Vick, before his dramatic comeback was the highest profiled active athlete since Mike Tyson to serve a prison term. Cam Newton, while in the midst of chasing a National Championship and picking up a Heisman Trophy along the way, was caught up in a recruitment scandal that almost prematurely ended his collegiate career. And then there is Terrelle Pryor, the two-sport prodigy from Western Pennsylvania who was deemed ineligible for his senior season at Ohio State and suspended for the first five games of his NFL career because of his unwillingness to comply with the NCAA in the investigation of his school – a landmark decision by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The correlation between these three quarterbacks and portrayal by the media could very well determine the future of the Black quarterback in the NFL.
This is Roger Goodell’s NFL now – as evidenced late last week when he allowed embattled Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor to enter the NFL’s Supplemental draft and suspended him for five games upon entry for not cooperating with NCAA officials during the Ohio State scandal, a previously unheard of ruling by an NFL Commissioner. Pryor was made the scapegoat despite OSU coach Jim Tressel lying to the NCAA about knowledge of any wrongdoing by his players. It was made known that Tressell was aware of several of his players activities dating back to 2002 - the year the Buckeyes won the National Championship.
Roger Goodell’s policing of potential NFL players while they’re still in college is a clear indicator that there is a serious problem within the NCAA’s power structure. And if the NFL is going to reach into the NCAA’s backyard they may as well clean it. Now is the time for college players to be compensated financially. If players are signing jerseys so they can have food in their dorms and decent clothes, who knows of the greater lengths that they have gone to in the name of survival.
So what happens to a coach like Pete Carroll who waylays a university and escapes to an NFL safe house?
Since Pryor left OSU, there has been a concerted effort to cast him in any role other than an NFL quarterback – pundits, so-called experts and those deep in the coaching profession have at some point thrown around the notion that Pryor’s size (6’5″, 230 lbs) is ideal for a receiver or even a tight end with some added bulk. There wasn’t this much hoopla over where Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow should play when he reached this level. The one constant you heard surrounding Tebow was that he was a winner and would make it work under center. Tebow isn’t as good or as gifted as Pryor was as a collegiate or now as a professional. Pryor will get his chance and he will impress if he commits himself to film study.
The Oakland Raiders took Pryor with the 18th selection in the third round and have stated that they will use him at quarterback. This is a good fit for Pryor who will be an understudy for a season or so. He may see some spot duty, but his first couple of years should be spent honing his skills as an NFL quarterback.
Hopefully the Raiders have learned from the JaMarcus Russell disaster that Pryor must be surrounded by positive people considering he’s coming in with “some baggage” by Goodell’s standards and is high on the Commissioner’s radar at this point. At the same time Pryor must realize that he will have to work twice as hard now, regardless of how good he looks on the field.
Or Canada awaits…
Part 2 on Monday.