Most of us have grown up hearing that as Black people, we would forever have to work twice as hard to be seen as half as good as our white counterparts. What we’ve also learned throughout the decades is that the notion exists across classes, as well as within all industries. And this past Friday, Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs spoke out about how an unbalanced scale of critique and criticism permeates the world of professional sports as well.
According to Complex, after the Chiefs finished up a training practice camp, Mahomes was asked about the backlash the Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is facing in regards to a contract clause. This week it was revealed that in addition to the $230.5M payout he’ll now be receiving, (making Murray one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league), there is also a clause in his contract that requires him to study four hours of film per week during the season. When Mahomes wa asked to comment on the situation, he had this to say:
“Obviously, the Black quarterback has had to battle to be in this position that we are to have this many guys in the league playing. Every day, we’re proving that we should have been playing the whole time. We’ve got guys that can think just as well as they can use their athleticism. It’s always weird when you see guys like me, Lamar (Jackson), Kyler kind of get that on them when other guys don’t. But at the same time we’re going out there to prove ourselves every day to show we can be some of the best quarterbacks in the league.’’
As far as how Mahomes feels personally, he said that the critics only drive his competitiveness.
“You always feel like you have more to prove,’’ he told reporters. “They build you up to tear you down. You’ve got to kind of know that. For me, it’s all about how I can make myself better, not what other people say. How can I make myself better so that we go out there and play football games? At the end of the day nothing matters until you’re on that football field playing and that’s where you get to prove who you are every single day.’’
Kyler Murray also spoke out on behalf of himself earlier this week.
“I feel it’s necessary, you know, with what’s going on regarding me and the things that are being said about me,” Murray said. “To think that I can accomplish everything that I have accomplished in my career and not be a student of the game and not have that passion and not take this serious is disrespectful, and it’s almost a joke. To me, I’m flattered. I want to say flattered that you all think that at my size, I can go out there and not prepare for the game, and not take it serious. It’s disrespectful, I feel like, to my peers, to all the great athletes and great players that are in this league. This game is too hard. To play the position that I play in this league, it’s too hard.”