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Is Russell Wilson black enough? You bet! - NFL Unfiltered Week 8


Uncle Tom.  Oreo® cookie.  A white man’s black man.

Those are three of the many terms used by some within the African-American community to describe other blacks they consider too articulate.  

Now that wide receiver/kick returner Percy Harvin is a member of the New York Jets, whispers from the Seattle Seahawks’ locker room suggest a rift because quarterback Russell Wilson is a little too proper.  

Naturally, some even think it is part of the reason the Seahawks sit at 4-3, third in the NFC West.  Never mind the fact they have an offensive identity crisis and a far less talented defense that allows officials to get into their heads.  

Clearly, Wilson’s grid isn’t the reason the Seahawks already have as many losses as all of last year.  However, it does illustrate how some expect black men to conduct themselves.  And that is a problem.    Photo: sportsworldreport.com

It is fair to say, questioning an African-American male’s authenticity is arguably the most hurtful and insulting thing blacks say about one another.  

Imagine for a moment ostracizing your brother, your child, or a friend simply because of their ability to effectively communicate.  Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?  

Yet, that is often a struggle within the black community and that includes those fortunate enough to play pro football.  

So while mainstream America gives credence to anonymous sources, the subject they broached touched a raw nerve.  They scratched an over 400-year old scab and it is a subject that deserves some context.  

In general, self-hatred and jealousy are the root causes of African-Americans challenging each other’s legitimacy.  It is as if some African-Americans believe any steps taken toward self-improvement are steps away from a real black experience.   

Similarly to the culture of slavery, some blacks see Wilson as the quintessential house Negro.  A carefully crafted manipulator of a system designed to weed out those with less than eloquent speech or mannerisms.  They see him as trying to distance himself from the field Negro (rank and file blacks) by carrying himself in a way whites see as less threatening.  

Nevertheless, mainstream America often fails to understand there is in fact a duality to being an African-American.  And every black male with a library card knows it.  

Oftentimes, it is not enough to simply be black and successful.  You must comport yourself in a way worthy of the black community’s respect.  That’s a rather large burden to carry even if you wear shoulder pads for a living.  

You see, if you live in the suburbs, wear a suit and sound like Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, you aren’t quite black enough.  Some might even accuse you of being a “cornball brother,” like former ESPN talking-head Rob Parker once described Robert Griffin III.   

However, if you live in the suburbs, wear a flat-brimmed snap back, jeans and alter your vernacular, you become more respectable.  

Essentially, black men must speak multiple languages, deftly maneuvering between the boardroom and hip-hop culture.  And they must do this without appearing to try too hard in either situation.  

Wilson, by comparison, is perceived as a bad actor.    

His behavior leaves some blacks to wonder what his goal is.  Is he genuine, or is it merely about the next national product endorsement?  

Even so, by staying off the police blotter and successfully starting at quarterback in the NFL, Russell Wilson is representing himself and the black community just fine.  

Those anonymous whisperers, not so much.  

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-Based solely on the way he is coaching this season, does anyone else wonder if the NFL bores Chip Kelly?  Or, is it that Jason Kelce is the best center in the history of the sport?  In any case, something is forcing Kelly into a shell.  

-The quarterbacks make the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles the least attractive of the NFC’s good teams.  Right now, you can’t trust either Carson Palmer or Nick Foles.  

-Trying to make a play late in the 3rd quarter against the Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan made a terrible decision.  The fact he made it in his 102nd NFL start makes it even worse.  If the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick or the Panthers’ Cam Newton throws that kind of pass, the experts point to it as the reason they aren’t on Ryan’s level.  Where are ESPN’s Trent Dilfer and Greg Cosell of NFL films when a classic drop back passer like Ryan makes such a basic blunder?  

This isn’t about a love for Kaepernick or Newton as they both clearly have a lot to learn.  It is about the selective criticism by supposedly unbiased analysts.  Ryan is a good quarterback, but he makes critical mistakes like every other passer. Furthermore, beyond numbers, he hasn’t done a darn thing in this league.  Dilfer, Cosell and every other pundit ought to view him through that prism.  

-Oh, and the Ravens’ Joe Flacco, another big, strong-armed pocket passer made a similar mistake to Ryan’s … TWICE!  A Super Bowl champion, yes, but also still prone to the boneheaded play.  

-Sometimes lost in all the praise heaped on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is the fact he is extremely tough.  He takes a three-hour beating nearly every Sunday and doesn’t seem to flinch.  That, not his ability to decipher NFL defenses, is his best quality.  

-No team has more talent sitting on the sidelines than the 49ers.  If defensive end/outside linebacker Aldon Smith and inside linebacker Navorro Bowman return to anything close to what they were, the 49ers finish 12-4 and win the division.  

Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area.  He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention.  His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

Contact Earl at emyersiii@hotmail.com

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Photo: sportsworldreport.com