I cringe when I see young black men wearing their identification numbers on their back, in shorts and tights â€” running, jumping, diving, catching, throwing, shucking and jiving for 60-year-old white men with clipboards who just can't wait to exploit them. Ok, maybe they aren't shucking and jiving but the NFL combine feels an awful lot like â€” I wasn't there so I can't say for sure â€” the slave markets of my hometown in the 19th century.
NFL general managers, scouts and personnel directors seem to cook up a grocery list of things they want and go to the Market (NFL Combine) to get their shopping done. They want a running back with strong legs and good speed, a cornerback with good hips and a linebacker with powerful biceps.
It raises some questions, in general, about the diction commentators and announcers use when discussing the physicality of potential players, most of whom are black. In the last week alone I've heard frank discussion on how "tight and large" the thighs of Arkansas running back Darren McFadden are.
I've heard an NFL pundit discuss the "thick backside" of an offensive lineman and say that was necessary for the position he is projected at in the NFL. A pro scout said that he was most disappointed with "the size of his hips," when referring to a cornerback from Kansas.
To quote Cedric the Entertainer, "How I'mma call another dude delicious?!?! I'm grown a** man dawg." That's kind of how I feel when I see these guys talking on television, ridiculously I might add, about black men in their early 20's.
Well, I was able to look at the notes of one NFL general manager and here is what he had to say about one first-round cornerback: "Good size. Great love-handles. Impeccable build from the waist down (he put a smiley face right there). Large feet, not very smart, genetically predisposed to like fried chicken, collard greens. No father â€” so I can be that for him and he'll make me more money before I cut him in four years. Grew up in the "hood." Surprisingly articulate colored boy from Alabama who can make me lots of $$$$."
That's hypothetical of course â€” but in private I don't think its that far from the truth.
Does anyone else have a problem with the combine being eerily similar to a slave auction? Or is it a necessary evil that allows a lot of young black men to gain millions?