The controversy surrounding the “homework clause” in Kyler Murray’s contract has caused some in the media and some in football to sound off on the level of criticism black quarterbacks face.
On Friday, Chiefs QB Pat Mahomes was asked by reporters whether he feels he is evaluated differently as a quarterback because he is black. Mahomes stopped short of saying that but said he does feel like there are criticisms made of black quarterbacks that aren’t made of white QBs.
“I don’t want to go that far and say that,” Mahomes said. “Obviously, the Black quarterback has had to battle to be in this position that we are, to have this many guys in the league playing. And I think every day we’re proving that we should’ve been playing the whole time. We’ve got guys that think just as well as they can use their athleticism.
“So it always is weird when you see guys like me, Lamar [Jackson], Kyler kind of get that on them and other guys don’t. But at the same time, we’re going to go out there and prove ourselves every day to show that we can be some of the best quarterbacks in the league.”
The race card playing isn’t unexpected or unusual, but the source of these comments is.
Mahomes may be the least criticized quarterback in the NFL. Even the traditional stereotypes of the black quarterback – not intelligent, relies on athleticism – even these aren’t criticisms levied at Mahomes. So, why exactly is he lumping himself into the same discussion as Jackson and Murray?
The other problem is the source of the discussion itself.
The homework clause in Murray’s contract is almost unheard of in NFL circles. In fact, this is the first time it’s been publicly discussed in the contract of any quarterback, white or black. So, Murray’s peculiar contract clause is not a function of racism or stereotypes about the black quarterback.
The clause was in there because of Kyler Murray and Kyler Murray alone.
It existed – in large part – because he foolishly told the New York Times that he’s not a guy who watches a lot of film.
“I’m not one of those guys that’s going to sit there and kill myself watching film,” Murray told the Times. “I don’t sit there for 24 hours and break down this team and that team and watch every game because, in my head, I see so much.”
This is maybe the dumbest thing ever said by a quarterback.
Film study is one of the foremost common traits or habits among Super Bowl champion quarterbacks. Without exception, elite and championship-level quarterbacks analyze every minuscule aspect of the game and their opponents. So does Kyler Murray “see” more in his head than Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Pat Mahomes, Drew Brees, and all of the other champions who were voracious film watchers?
No, and nothing about Murray’s terrible playoff performance against the Rams last year would suggest he does.
The Cardinals have a Kyler Murray problem, not a black quarterback problem.