There will be a lot of elements at play on Sunday afternoon when the Ravens visit the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
There will be the renewal of a rivalry that’s included some spirited contests over the past few years. There will be Tom Brady gunning for his fifth Super Bowl appearance. There will be veteran linebacker Ray Lewis looking for one last shot at glory.
And, according to Jason Whitlock, there will be a battle of races.
“Look, we can tiptoe around it, ignore the big beautiful elephant in the room, or we can embrace the fact that Sunday’s AFC Championship contest is soaked in the white-black racial component that has driven American sports passion at least since Jack Johnson whipped James J. Jeffries,” Whitlock wrote on FOXSports.com.
“In the minds of the Ravens, the Patriots are the sneaky little suburban team that is celebrated for winning three titles despite bending the rules (Spygate),” he added. “Brady leads an offense built in his image. In a league that is predominantly black, Brady directs a high-flying offense that is predominantly white and relies on a deep cast of white playmakers. Lewis leads a defense built in his brash image. Nine of the 11 Ravens defenders are African-American.”
Well, uhh … that is an interesting take.
Because the Patriots don’t have any black players? Because the Ravens don’t have any white players? Because this game will come down solely to a quarterback vs. a middle linebacker? Because both head coaches and both quarterbacks aren’t white?
Ray Rice, who was the No. 1 star in the Ravens’ playoff win in New England two years ago, won’t have an impact on this one? And I’m not entirely sure, but Jerod Mayo, who coincidentally plays the same position as Lewis, is not white.
Do we really need to go through the rosters and find data to prove just how absurd it is to claim that Sunday’s game between two football teams is a battle between races?
I didn’t think so.
Also, if there’s anyone on the Ravens with whom Brady’s had a problem over the years, it’s been Terrell Suggs, not Lewis. And to assume any of those past spats have been race-fueled would be a bit of a stretch.
Ever think that maybe players might just not like each other because they play for other teams?
“On the basketball court, we may never see anything as compelling as [Larry] Bird vs. Magic [Johnson] again,” Whitlock wrote. “And this is likely our first and only shot at seeing Brady vs. Lewis on the biggest stage they can share. Enjoy.”
I certainly will enjoy, but I won’t be thinking about race as I do.
Is it right or wrong to make this game about race?
“I’m not going to ever tell you guys what we may or may not do.”
–Jets owner Woody Johnson, to a group of reporters
So is that better or worse than an F?
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