The controversy surrounding the ‘duty clause’ in Kyler Murray’s contract has caused some in the media and some in football to be vocal about the level of criticism black quarterbacks face.
On Friday, reporters asked Chiefs QB Pat Mahomes if he thought he was rated differently as a quarterback because he was black. Mahomes stopped short of saying that, but said he felt like there was criticism being made of black quarterbacks who aren’t made of white QBs.
“I don’t want to go that far and say that,” Mahomes said. “Obviously the black quarterback had to fight to be in this position that we are, to have so many guys in the league playing. And I think every day we prove that we should have played all the time. We have guys who also think they can use their athleticism.
“So it’s always weird when you see guys like me, Lamar [Jackson], Kyler kind of figured that out about them and the other guys didn’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 racing card game isn’t unexpected or unusual, but the source of these comments is.
Mahomes is perhaps the least criticized quarterback in the NFL. Even the traditional stereotypes of the black quarterback — unintelligent, relying on athleticism — even those criticisms aren’t leveled at Mahomes. So why exactly does he find himself in 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 unknown in NFL circles. In fact, this is the first time it’s been discussed publicly in a quarterback contract, black or white. Thus, Murray’s particular contract term is not a function of racism or stereotypes about the black quarterback.
The clause was there because of Kyler Murray and Kyler Murray alone.
He existed – in large part – because he foolishly told the New York Times that he’s not a guy who watches a lot of movies.
“I’m not one of those guys who’s going to sit there and kill himself watching a movie,” Murray told the Time. “I don’t sit around for 24 hours breaking down this team and this squad and watching every game because in my head I see so much.”
That might be the dumbest thing a quarterback has ever said.
Cinema study is one of the most common traits or habits among Super Bowl champion quarterbacks. Without exception, elite and championship-level quarterbacks analyze every tiny 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 the other champions who were voracious moviegoers?
No, and nothing in Murray’s terrible playoff performance against the Rams last year suggests that.
The Cardinals have a Kyler Murray problem, not a black quarterback problem.