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#pounditFriday, September 30, 2022

Patrick Mahomes thinks he is scrutinized more because he is black

Patrick Mahomes throwing

Nov 22, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Mahomes thinks that he is scrutinized more because he is black.

Mahomes spoke with the media on Friday from Kansas City Chiefs training camp. He was asked whether he thinks he is evaluated differently because he is black.

The comment came in the context of the Arizona Cardinals putting a homework clause into Kyler Murray’s contract, as well as a recent criticism of Mahomes. An article published in The Athletic this week quoted an anonymous defensive coach saying Mahomes resorts to streetball once his first read is taken away.

“I don’t want to go that far and say that,” said Mahomes. “Obviously the black quarterback has had a battle to be in this position that we are. To have this many guys in the league playing I think every day we’re proving that we should have been playing the whole time. We’ve got guys that think just as well as they can use their athleticism.

“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 ourself every day to show that we can be some of the best quarterbacks in the league.”

Mahomes is correct that there was a past bias against black quarterbacks, but that bias has long since passed. All one needs to do is see the amount of black quarterbacks selected highly in the draft, given big contracts, and quarterbacking teams in the NFL to recognize the change.

The bottom line is there is no position in sports that is more heavily scrutinized than the NFL quarterback. It doesn’t matter what color you are, how much you have won, or how well you have played in the past, quarterbacks get criticized the moment they underperform against the highest of expectations. Even with six Super Bowls at the time, people were saying Tom Brady needed to retire after a major brain fart in his first year with the Bucs. Josh Allen was heavily questioned when he came out of college due to accuracy questions. Jay Cutler constantly had his leadership questioned. Johnny Manziel was ripped to shreads over his unprofessional behavior and terrible study habits. Were all those criticism racially motivated or based on legitimate issues?

If you play quarterback in the NFL and do anything other than act like a consummate pro off the field and complete winner on the field, you are going to be criticized. Murray wasn’t living up to expectations in terms of his off-field study habits. That’s why the Cardinals included the homework clause. Mahomes receives almost universal praise, but he had a down year by his standards. That’s why he’s facing a few questions now.

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