Terez Paylor & Charles Robinson discuss comments made by ESPN's Booger McFarland after Dwayne Haskins was released by the Washington Football Team & how those comments show a fundamental misunderstanding of all young athletes, regardless of their race.
Hear the full conversation on the Yahoo Sports NFL Podcast.
TEREZ PAYLOR: One of the talking points that's generated some attention was Booger McFarland, who in the aftermath of Dwayne Haskins' release, equated it essentially with an opportunity to say that, hey, this isn't the first time we've seen this happen and it won't be the last. He said it bothers him, because a lot of it is the young African-American player. They come in and don't take this as a business. Now-- and then he cited JaMarcus Russell.
But, that take is immensely problematic for many, many reasons. Haskins' stumble shouldn't be held against any other player, particularly black quarterbacks, OK? He failed, and that's his failure to live with. There are a lot of players, a lot of them, who understand that this is about building a brand, as well. You have to use football the way football uses you. There's nothing wrong with that. That's OK, but you have to work hard, you better take care of business if you do that.
But I'm not here for like, the demonization of players looking out for their long term interests in their pocketbooks, when like, that's how you make it in life in today's world. Like, the days of just, put your head down-- I mean, you can do it, but if you can do that, and create the brand, and be a reliable football player for your team, why wouldn't you do it? That was frustrating, and also the conflating of this being like a black player thing was what was really, really frustrating. Because there were a lot of quarterbacks that flamed out for the same reason that we feared Dwayne Haskins might. Johnny Manziel, Ryan Leaf, and Jake Locker, but we don't equate that with the white quarterback. It's a ridiculous notion. It's a generational thing.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Right. He, I think Booger made it a racial thing, and as you said, it's generational. You have executives, analysts, coaches, individuals running teams, owners, people of a certain age who-- and I'm sure Booger McFarland equated his experience as a black player coming up through--
TEREZ PAYLOR: Right
CHARLES ROBINSON: --the NFL, and so that's why he focuses in on black players. But what he lost in that is that, this is all players now. Like, they-- they've grown up in a different generation than Booger did, or anyone else. And that is the generation of social media. Of you grow up as a kid in your own social media bubble on Instagram, you're on Twitter, Snapchat, now there's TikTok, there's all these different things, and these are guys who grew up at the center of their own social media universe as every-- everybody else does.
And so when they make it to the NFL, they survive in their space differently than people did 20 years ago. It was harder to be Deion Sanders, and be on an MC Hammer video. But it's not as hard now to make yourself the center of a social media universe, and as you said, Johnny Manziel, there were other guys who have done this who were not black players, who flamed out, and we weren't automatically like, oh, it's all on this. Another thing too, let's-- let's not forget TB 12, Tom Brady.
TEREZ PAYLOR: Right. The greatest quarterback of all time has a brand.
CHARLES ROBINSON: And here's the thing that's funny about Tom, didn't always-- that didn't always go well inside that organization, you know? Bill didn't like that Tom had his own doctors, his own idea of health and fitness regimens that was rubbing off on other teammates. I don't think they're-- not everybody in the Patriots organization was psyched about that. But the difference was-- and this is where it cuts both ways for athletes nowadays, particularly young guys --Tom did a lot of [BEEP].
TEREZ PAYLOR: Right.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Like, he won a lot of stuff. When his failures came, you kind of were like, well, you got to kind of balance it out. If young guys now fail quickly in the league, the older generation, or people who are not connected to that sort of bubble of social media, the first thing they're going to look at is go, man, he was always in his social media. Like, he was always this, or he was always-- that's one of those things that automatically becomes a problem.