Prince Amukamara Fell in Draft Because He Is Nigerian? Unlikely
Prince Amukamara slipped to the 19th spot in the NFL draft before the New York Giants finally picked him up. Amukamara was widely considered to be the second-best cornerback in the draft, rating just behind Patrick Peterson who went fifth overall to the Cardinals. Though no other cornerback was drafted between the two, 13 other players were picked before Amukamara. So how can the drop be explained? According to Dan Pompei’s sources, an anti-Nigerian bias could be the reason. From his National Football Post column via Evan Silva at Rotoworld:
A lot of NFL people are skeptical about Nigerian players like Amukarma. “And it’s not just white men,” one executive said. “It’s whites and blacks.” It’s still a subtle form of racism. The word on Nigerians: they are soft, not tough enough and too educated. It would be a pity if that’s what cost Amukamara.
Wow, that’s a pretty explosive charge coming from his sources. NFL draft personnel question everything about a player, and we even heard rumblings that being a redhead could cost Andy Dalton. Let me go out on a limb and say that’s not what caused Prince’s slip. Instead, sometimes these things just happen like they did to Brady Quinn and Aaron Rodgers. For Quinn it was warranted, for Rodgers it was a mistake. I’m guessing Amukamara will prove it was a mistake for so many teams to pass on him.
Meanwhile, like Evan Silva points out, the most notable Nigerian player in the NFL was one of the toughest running backs ever: Christian Okoye, who was nicknamed “The Nigerian Nightmare.” Other Nigerian players include Jeff Otah and Osi Umenyiora, two guys with whom you definitely don’t want to mess. If some teams passed on him because he’s Nigerian, they’re fools. Or maybe they just wanted to avoid the on-stage fashion show Prince’s family put on.