In her ESPN column, Jemele Hill considers the emotional debate over whether a quarterback’s race still matters in light of Michael Vick’s redemptive six-year, $100 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles and Cam Newton’s move to the Carolina Panthers.
The reason Touré’s ESPN The Magazine piece entitled “What if Michael Vick were white?” is stirring such an emotional debate is that a lot of African-Americans just innately believe that white people’s actions — whether they are failures or successes — are perceived differently by the mainstream.
When Tim Tebow bowls over a couple of defensive players for a touchdown in a meaningless preseason game, it’s considered a display of his toughness and leadership. But when Vick launches himself at Troy Polamalu after throwing a costly interception, it’s considered risky and stupid.
The same goes for appearance. The Denver Nuggets’ Chris “Birdman” Anderson, who is white, has so many tattoos that you can barely see his actual skin. And despite a troubled past that includes serious drug abuse, he’s a fan favorite who is characterized as a free spirit. But that wasn’t the way a lot of people felt about Allen Iverson, whose tattoos and diamond necklace were airbrushed out when he appeared in the NBA’s publication, HOOP magazine, in 2000.
Read Jemele Hill’s entire column at ESPN.