ESPN personalities Bomani Jones and Domonique Foxworth floated the idea that the NFL will worry if more black quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts start becoming the face of the game instead of white quarterbacks like Josh Allen. and Joe Burrow.
Jones and Foxworth, a former NFL defensive back who was also vice president of the NFL Players Association Executive Committee, discussed the idea on the latest episode of «The Right Time with Bomani Jones.» The two started talking about how the Philadelphia Eagles were acquiring all these former Georgia Bulldogs players before Foxworth started on the point about him.
Jackson and Hurts became the highest-paid players in the NFL with their latest contract extensions with the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively.
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«Before we get to the Eagles and how scary that is, something hit me: There are going to be some NFL rule changes,» Foxworth said. “They are going to do something. And you might look at me like I’m crazy, but wait until I explain something to you, then you’ll say, ‘yeah, they’re about to fix this.’
«Who is the best quarterback in football? Patrick Mahomes? Who are the two highest paid players in the entire league? Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts. Who are the top three quarterbacks taken in this draft Black guys… Oh, we’ve got a rule change coming down the pike.»
Jones said «something fundamentally changed» when teams declined to take quarterback Will Levis in the first round. Three of the first four picks, Bryce Young, CJ Stroud and Anthony Richardson, were quarterbacks and all black.
«Guys, as crazy as you think this is. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Harry Edwards speak and he was talking about the quarterback position and when (Michael) Vick, (Daunte) Culpepper, you know that many guys started coming, what they did was they started doing those passer penalties where if you just tag the guy on the helmet you got 15 yards because they had to slow down those defenders… Guys it’s becoming a problem where Nobody can convince themselves of Will Levis, right? Something has fundamentally changed,» Jones said.
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Foxworth responded: «So you might be listening to this and thinking that Dominique is arguing that the NFL is just saying ‘I hate racist black people.’ No, it’s a different kind of racism. It’s because they think you’re some kind of racist from ‘I hate black people.’ They know the stars of this entertainment property are the quarterbacks. Those are the people who are three degrees away from you, being a superfan, they don’t know anyone more than four or five quarterback names. And you know what they think? In the same way that the NBA is probably worried about all these international players, they know that the stars that are consistently selling, that have been consistently selling are tall white guys.»
Jones said the «secret sauce» for the NFL audience is white, adding that it’s the same reason for the rise in popularity of women’s college basketball.
“They need to get down to the lower level, and I don’t know if it’s baseball, I don’t know if it’s football, I don’t know what these cold white athletes are playing, but they need them to get them. to start playing quarterback so we can get more Josh Allen, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert,» Foxworth added.
«We need to have more of them in the league because if we get to a situation where there’s a bunch of Lamar Jacksons and Jalen hurts the face of the league, the NFL will care, not because they care who their job is.» It’s just because you think it’s you who cares who the job is.»
Mahomes has arguably been the face of the NFL since it won its first Super Bowl during the 2019 season. The league still reigns supreme on television, having accounted for 82 of the top 100 broadcasts by 2022, according to Forbes.
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Average viewership fell from 17.1 million in 2021 to 16.7 in 2022, but those two years are among the highest since the NFL surpassed 18.1 million in 2015.