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I have to admit that although I love to watch it and talk trash with my buddies, I don’t know that much about football.
I grew up in Louisiana and only focus on the Saints and LSU mostly because on game days my mom dresses up in full Saints regalia and stands in front of the TV and screams BREEZY for Drew Brees.
Because I work in news I do know the players who break through beyond sports like the Manning brothers, Richard Sherman, obviously and so on.
However, I had no idea until almost game time that Seattle’s quarterback was black. I had no idea who Seattle’s quarterback even was.
On Saturday I was broadcasting from Super Bowl Boulevard, better known as Times Square when I saw someone behind me holding up one of those giant floating heads that you see so much on sports channels.
I turned and asked who it was. A young man no more than 16-years-old yelled, Russell Wilson. I didn’t think twice about it and kept broadcasting; still didn’t know he was the quarterback.
And on Sunday I was sitting in the media trailer outside the stadium watching the pre-game stories about the players when all of a sudden it dawned on me that Russell Wilson was the Seahawks quarterback and he was black.
I had not heard any hoopla about him. As part of my job I have to read a lot and had not seen any articles about him. And when I got back to the studio on Sunday night I opened this email from a colleague which reads:
I have an interesting observation for you.
Russell Wilson is now only the second African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl.
However, this time I got no sense that the African-American community was rallying around him to win the same way as with Doug Williams over 25 years ago.
There was virtually no discussion of his race in the media leading up to the game. It’s certainly a milestone, so why did this accomplishment seemingly fly under the radar?
Is this a sign of progress or an oversight? Thought you may like to discuss it on your show.
I think the difference between now and 26 years ago when Doug Williams did it is significant.
Quite honestly, I didn’t even know how to answer my colleague who works in our Washington bureau and who apparently knows a lot more about football than I do.
I didn’t know much about Russell Wilson nor most of the other players because it’s not my particular interest and because it wasn’t my assignment to cover the game, but to cover the security, the festivities and the fans leading up to it. Not the players.
I did notice that most of the chatter before the game on game day was about Sherman and Manning rather than Manning and Wilson.
Perhaps Russell Wilson was overshadowed by Peyton Manning and Richard Sherman.
And perhaps we really have made progress that a black quarterback winning the Super Bowl is a big deal without being such a big deal.
And would that be such a bad thing?
You tell me.