Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Super Bowl LVII: The “elephant” in the room of this African/Black QB historical matchup.

February 9, 2023 by  
Filed under BM, News, Opinion, Sports, Weekly Columns

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( “Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shores, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles of racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its Indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it.”-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The biggest sporting event in the U.S. is here and it is a historic matchup for a lot of reasons as the Philadelphia Eagles will take on the Kansas City Chiefs for the NFL championship. Kansas City’s head coach Andy Reid will coach against the team where he had his first head coaching success, multiple-time Pro Bowlers Travis Kelce and Jason Kelce, who are brothers, will play on opposite teams in a Super Bowl, and the big headline of the two starting quarterbacks being African/Black for the first time in Super Bowl history with Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes as the signal callers. Both Hurts and Mahomes haven’t shied away from that historical fact. “It is history,” Hurts has said. “It’s come a long way.” Mahomes has remarked, “I’ve learned more and more about the history of Black quarterbacks since I’ve been in this league and the guys that came before me and Jalen [Hurts] set the stage for this.”

Super Bowl LVII - Mahomes vs Hurts.

Months prior to the start of the 2022 NFL season that will conclude with this Super Bowl LVII, Marlin Briscoe died. He was the first African/Black starting quarterback in modern professional football in 1968 and had success his rookie season as a quarterback for the Denver Broncos before he was moved to wide receiver the following season and never played quarterback again. Before merging with the NFL, those Denver Broncos were an AFL team like the Kansas City Chiefs.

The focus around the two starting African/Black quarterbacks makes sense considering the absurd stereotypes historically involving African/Black men not being able to succeed at the toughest position in team sports, NFL quarterback. However, it is unfortunate that the history of another group of disenfranchised people is ignored in discussing this Super Bowl LVII matchup, Indigenous or Native Americans.

For decades, there have been Native American organizations fighting against the use of Native American imagery in team sports. There have been high-profile changes including the NFL’s Washington Commanders being named the Washington Football Team in recent seasons after getting rid of a derogatory slur for a team nickname. Kansas City’s stadium, nickname, and the fan “cheer” are backhanded attempts at “honoring” Native Americans but are more like mocking their culture. There are also tons of studies that show how sports teams with Native American nicknames does damage to the mental health and self-esteem of young Native Americans. While the focus is on the Super Bowl history made related to African/Black quarterbacks, there is a larger group to think about as it relates to the two teams.

Staff Writer; Mark Hines

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