Former Houston Oiler and Texas Longhorn Earl Campbell weighed in on his alma mater’s up-and-down season by blaming the quarterback — or, more specifically, the quarterback’s race.
“All these schools that are winning, even in the pros, have black quarterbacks,” the Pro Football Hall of Fame running back told the the Austin American-Statesman this week.
“Until the University of Texas realizes you have to have a black quarterback, and nothing against Ehlinger, you got to have a talented, black quarterback,” he said, referring to Longhorns starting quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who is decidedly not black.
With the exception of last week’s loss to TCU, during which he threw four interceptions, Ehlinger has had a fantastic season so far.
He is averaging 297 passing yards per game, and has tossed 23 touchdowns compared to just seven interceptions. Earlier this week, he was named a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award, which is given to college football’s best player.
Given all this, it’s strange enough for Campbell to single out Ehlinger, let alone to suggest his race is in any way relevant.
So why was Campbell so insistent that having a black quarterback is the only way to succeed in modern football? He hinted at it in his comments.
“When guys are not open, something can still happen,” he said of black quarterbacks.
One of the quarterbacks he pointed to as an example was Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, who is of Samoan descent rather than African-American.
Campbell’s contention seems to be that black quarterbacks are a must because they are more mobile than quarterbacks of other races.
While it is true that some of the best rushing quarterbacks in football are black, quarterbacks of other races have proven they can move the ball on the ground as well. Two of the five quarterbacks with the most rushing yards in the NFL — Josh Allen and Gardner Minshew — are white.
Moreover, two of the top five rushing quarterbacks in the NCAA Division I FBS — Asher O’Hara and Nathan Rourke — are also white.
But what about Campbell’s claim that teams with black quarterbacks are the ones who are winning in the NFL and NCAA?
Turns out that is even less true.
None of the past five Super Bowls have been won by teams with black starting quarterbacks. Tom Brady, Nick Foles and Peyton Manning are the quarterbacks who have won championships during that span, and each player is white.
The last five college football national champions included three black and three non-black starting quarterbacks. (It adds up to six because both Jalen Hurts and Tagovailoa deserve credit for Alabama’s 2017-18 title.)
So it turns out Campbell’s claim that black quarterbacks are necessary to win is quite wrong.
The reality is that race has absolutely no bearing on a quarterback’s performance.
There are certainly plenty of talented young black quarterbacks who are thriving in the NFL, but there is also exciting talent of other races.
Campbell’s comments were wildly inaccurate at best, and racist at worst.
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