Tip-Off for 5/21/13 (featuring Notorious B.I.G.): E.J. Manuel, Geno Smith and Tyrann Mathieu are hit with The Black Tax
Dez Bryant can relate with Tyrann Mathieu on the harshness of the media on what should be a drama-free occasion.
I’ll remember the 2013 NFL draft for the over the top analysis and criticism of E.J. Manuel, the booing of Geno Smith and the shaming of Tyrann Mathieu. Many African-American players spend what should be a day of celebration defending their relevance on the field or their second chance to make good.
To the surprise of many, E.J. Manuel was the first quarterback selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. To no one’s astonishment, Manuel as well as the Buffalo Bills — who selected Manuel 16th overall were verbally dissected and dismissed as making a franchise-dooming pick. As draft day approached, Manuel’s name climbed in to the first round, possibly going as high as fourth to the Philadelphia Eagles. Analysts like Todd McShay took the liberty to continue their pre-draft breakdown on Manuel. McShay went as far to say taking Manuel was not good for the Bills franchise — who have spent close to two decades looking to replace Hall of Famer Jim Kelly. Manuel’s chances seem to be better than good heading into training camp competing against veterans Kevin Kolb, Tavaris Jackson and Jeff Tuel.
Manuel made waves recently stating the Bills playbook was less complex in comparison to Florida State’s. Some have taken Manuel’s comments as being full of himself when the Bills playbook may cater to his skill set. With the success of the Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and first year starter Colin Kaepernick last season, the Bills would be foolish to put a ball and chain on Manuel under center — a point many are missing.
Geno Smith stewed for more than a day waiting to hear his name called by someone, anyone willing to make him the future of their franchise. Smith became so frustrated on day one of the draft, he left and stated openly he would not return. After a night to think things over, Smith returned and was selected 39th by the New York Jets. The Jets fans’ disdain for Smith was noticeable as boos rained from the crowd. Smith’s dream experience had officially become a nightmare. Prior to the draft, Smith was raked over the coals by Pro Football Weekly’s Nolan Nawrocki. Nawrocki has given less than favorable pre-draft grades to Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III in the past.
The Jets cut Tim Tebow and tried to smooth things over with Mark Sanchez and his battered psyche. As for Smith veteran David Garrard was brought in to be a guiding hand for Smith. Within weeks, Garrard announced his retirement leaving Smith and Sanchez to battle for the starting job. Here’s to Smith leaning on veterans and being competitive on a job he has a good chance of winning.
It’s no secret Smith’s reputation took a hit during the draft. In the week’s following, Smith fired his agent and is rumored to be on the verge of signing with Roc Nation Sports — an agency founded by Hip Hop icon Jay-Z. A move like this gives Smith a relationship with someone who can guide him through the rigors of being a public figure in a metropolis like New York. Smith would be surrounding himself with people he can relate to on levels unattainable with say a Drew Rosenhaus or Leigh Steinberg.
Former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu went from a Heisman Trophy finalist to a drug rehab in a matter of months. Mathieu juggled with transferring or staying put with hopes of returning to Baton Rouge. Mathieu did neither, instead he prepared for the draft, hoping scouts were willing to take a chance on the player who was once a sure-fire first round pick a season ago.
Mathieu was impressive at the NFL Combine, including running a 4.43 40-yard time. The Arizona Cardinals made Mathieu the 69th overall pick (third round) much to the delight of his family and well-wishers. Mathieu will be reunited with his former teammate Patrick Peterson to form one of the best young corner tandems in the NFL.
Before Mathieu could celebrate — he was reminded of why he was a third round pick.
I sat nearly in tears as Mathieu was riddled by a Tommy Gun list of degrading questions from Trey Wingo. None to do with football and everything to do with his past struggles. Looking uncomfortable himself at time Mathieu answered every question honestly and without hesitation. Somewhere, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant cringed.
The Black Tax remains in full effect.
More storms in the forecast in Oklahoma today (Washington Post).
NBA Draft Lottery is tonight (Hoops World).
Stan Van Gundy is not coaching in 2013-14 (Hoops World).
A breast cancer genetic drawing conversation (The Grio).
Anchored putting strokes to be banned in 2016 (NYT Sports).
The San Antonio Spurs (The Shadow League).
Black GOP Lieutenant Gov. makes anti-gay remarks (The Grio).
A look at the Pacers/Heat series (The Shadow League).
Black voter turnout made a difference (Dr.Vibe).
Tony Romo has back surgery (Red Zone).
“Then came the worst date, May 21st, 2:19, that’s when my momma water burst” – ‘Respect’