The Negative Stigma around Black Quarterbacks


“Mike Vick and the Eagles Offense” by Matthew Straubmuller is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Isaiah Adeleke, Editor-In-Chief

Justin Fields may have been the most talented quarterback in this year’s latest draft. He has shown leadership as he pretty much single handedly brought the NCAA College Football Season back by protesting with his colleagues. He has shown grit by injuring his ribs in the College Football Rose Bowl and coming back a few minutes later and leading his team to victory. 

You would assume teams would be begging to draft this guy, however he dropped well below where he was projected and was selected by the Chicago Bears with the 11th pick. His combine looked pretty good and he just played in the College Football Championship Game. Well according to scouts his “off the field issues” scared them.

The only explanation could be the connection between that many teams believe black quarterbacks are not smart enough to play the position. 

In 2018 teams were telling Lamar Jackson to go to running back or wide receiver. That “he wasn’t smart enough to play the QB position”. A few years later he was arguably the best QB in the draft and won MVP after getting selected with the last pick in the first round.

In 2011 you had NFL reporters saying Cam Newton was just an extra running back, and couldn’t play the quarterback position in the NFL.

A few years later he won MVP and took his team to the Superbowl.

We see scouts all the time telling black quarterbacks to switch their position, but for what reason?

A lot of black quarterbacks are very athletic, we see this with guys like Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson who got drafted by MLB teams along with their NFL team.

Or guys like Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson who run a faster 40 yard time than some running backs and receivers.

Scouts tell these young guys who will do anything to go into the NFL to switch their position and some of them cave in because of how bad they want to make the league. 

You also have to take into account that black quarterbacks’ characters are also called into question much more than their white counterparts. 

For example in the 2021 NFL Draft many scouts were saying Justin Fields does not love football and that tanked his draft stock. No off the field issues, no reason to question his work ethic yet that was the biggest story for the upcoming draft.

However his white counterpart Mac Jones in the same draft class as Fields, hit another car prior to failing a breathalyzer test. Yet many scouting reports had him still going before Fields and Fields not loving football was a bigger issue for most teams than drunk driving.  

In the past you have had QB’s like Eli Manning tell teams “if you draft me, I will retire” or his brother Peyton Manning who had an ongoing sexual assault case and was still selected number one pick of the 1998 NFL Draft. 

Being a quarterback for an NFL team usually you are the smartest guy on the field, and the leader for your team. It seems like for many teams they do not want that person to be an African-American.

No matter how many successful black quarterbacks there are in the league like Patrick Mahomes, Russell WIlsonand many more, scouts are terrified when drafting a black quarterback and are often proven wrong more times than not.