Originally posted on Player Perspective  |  Last updated 2/27/12

This might be news to Cam Newton, but scouts and scouting reports are still largely trite with stereotypes. Mike Mayock, America’s new favorite analyst (no, seriously, I think he runs football now–and he looks damn good doing it!) finds the comfortable narratives about Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III to be an “interesting juxtaposition.” (But where Mayock uses the word interesting I use “racially affected.”)

I think Andrew Luck is more athletic than people will ever give him credit for. When you compare his numbers this year to Cam Newton’s numbers last year, they’re almost identical. We all gushed about the athlete Cam was, but we don’t with Luck, whose athleticism is underrated. Whereas Robert Griffin’s pocket awareness is underrated also. It’s an interesting juxtaposition between those two guys. We kind of want to push them into categories we’re comfortable with, but they’re both better than we think across the board.

I appreciate what Mayock says here and he doesn’t have to get all Jesse Jackson with it to make the point. Whether you consider this kind of “assessing down convenient lines” a racist (or, more gently, “racial”) act or simply inadequate or flawed analysis the fact is it needs to stop. Analysts of all kinds need to make a greater effort to accurately describe the guys they’re covering.

I’ve also never really understood the discomfort folks have with the athletic ability of white men. I thought athletes were, by default, athletic which is the main thing that makes them, in effect, athletes. If a white player isn’t quite so acrobatic or physically flamboyant are they lacking athleticism or simply subscribing to a different style of play?  Or, are certain types of white players more palatable for those who do the choosing–especially early on? For the record,  I never found John Stockton, Steve Nash or even Euro Tony Kukoc to be lacking athleticism but apparently that’s what I’m supposed to think or at least be impressed with the athleticism they’ve shown.

I’m ready for a new conversation to emerge that has more to do with the style of play that blacks and whites are coached into and whether or not there truly is something inherent that limits guys in different ways based on race. Because right now the waters are very muddy and it makes it way too easy to pigeon-hole everyone so that they fit neatly into pre-created boxes.

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