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Doug Williams speaks out about reverse racism in sports

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At a time when there has been considerable debate, fueled by an African-American quarterback who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, regarding the question of whether the NFL still has a racial bias when it comes to the quarterback position, another African-American quarterback who won a Super Bowl has raised the issue of racial biases against white athletes.

Doug Williams, Redskins quarterback and engineer of one of the most productive quarters in any NFL title game, is concerned that BYU point guard Jimmer Fredette, who is white, may not get a fair shake.

“It’s unfortunate that some people, whether it’s the media or outside forces, will always look at athletes from a black and white standpoint,” Williams told Ian O’Conner of, via Brian Tinsman of  “When I was playing football, an African-American quarterback didn’t have as much time to prove he can play.  It’s unfortunate that [Fredette] might have to deal with the same thing in the NBA. . . .

“In the NFL the quarterback position was only for whites, regardless of what you did, and I think that’s now changed,” Williams added.  “But there was pressure on me as a black quarterback, and I think unfortunately there will be pressure on this Fredette kid to put up good numbers as a rookie so that people don’t question whether he can succeed in a sport where most of the great players have been African-American.

“For me, it’s never been about color.  I love how Tom Brady and Peyton Manning play, and I like Josh Freeman, too.  The color of an athlete should never matter.”

Amen to that.  Though we’re not sure that it’s still an issue in the NFL, where coaches not only want to win but need to win in order to remain employed and so they presumably use the best players they can find regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, shoe size, or preferences in music, there’s a chance that the problem occurs higher up in the funnel, when certain kids who look a certain way are steered toward certain positions.  That’s possibly why we don’t see a lot of white receivers or running backs at the NFL level, and possibly why we even more rarely see white cornerbacks.

So while the color of an athlete matters far less now than it ever did at the professional level, decisions made long before kids get to the top of the sport may be helping to create the perception that race remains an issue, years after many concluded that it no longer is.

And while plenty of folks believe that society has advanced to the point where these issues shouldn’t even be raised, the only way to ensure that true change will make it way all the way down to the lowest levels of every sport is to openly discuss the topic, in the hopes that all coaches will become as color blind as pro coaches hopefully are.

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46 Responses to “Doug Williams speaks out about reverse racism in sports”
  1. goodguyjohn says: Jun 24, 2011 4:37 PM

    Doug Williams was a stud. I vividly remember him airing out bombs to Kevin House. His long passes were a thing of beauty. God I miss those creamsicle uniforms!

  2. b1unt3d says: Jun 24, 2011 4:38 PM

    There is no such thing as reverse racism. It is just racism.

  3. redbear18 says: Jun 24, 2011 4:45 PM

    I love it. This guy completely put my thoughts into his words. I thought the same thing about Fredette (and Kevin Love and other white basketball players). Most African Americans tend to be more gifted athletes, so if there is a white guy trying to make it, he might not be given a fair chance and be passed over even though he has a lot of potential. I hope we can finally get to the point where race doesn’t matter in any way, and players are judged completely on talent, character, and potential.

  4. 3yardsandacloud says: Jun 24, 2011 4:45 PM

    There is no such thing as “reverse racism”. It’s just racism. Racism is discrimination based on race, regardless of the race discriminated against, or the party discriminating. Skin tone/color has zero to do with athletic ability.

    Moreover, skin tone/color has nothing to do with the content of one’s character. The sooner all people, of all backgrounds, realize this, the better off this country, and this world will be.

  5. hobartbaker says: Jun 24, 2011 4:53 PM

    Doug is surprisingly articulate for an athletic and mobile quarterback.

  6. hatesycophants says: Jun 24, 2011 4:53 PM

    As an attorney and a presumably well educated person, you should be aware that terminology like “reverse racism” is utterly ridiculous. It diminishes the scope of the conversation and those who indulge. You obviously can’t define the term “reverse,” so I am going to go ahead and assume that “racism” is far beyond the apex of your lexicon.

  7. hobartbaker says: Jun 24, 2011 4:54 PM

    Fredette may be white, but hey, his name is Jimmer. That has to count for something.

  8. marvsleezy says: Jun 24, 2011 4:58 PM

    Its still a HUGE issue. Ask Peyton Hillis – Hes the type of guy that most coaches ask to BLOCK in the NFL and play fullback based on his skin color.

    Its not easy for a guy like him to breakthrough, but he did it.

  9. duanethomas says: Jun 24, 2011 5:04 PM

    White guys can’t play cornerback. 🙂

    Jimmmer Fredette reminds me of Adam Morrison….LoL

    No seriously Doug is right and professional sports is truly where the playing field is leveled. Its a truth machine and whether you are black, white, brown or green. If you can play they will play you, if not….so long. Be it first rounder, college All-American or free agent. The public can have preconceived notions on who can play what, but the men whose jobs are on the (coaches) can’t afford that luxury. If you can play and help them win, you can be any color, druggie, wife beater, liar etc….that’s a fact.

  10. Soulman45 says: Jun 24, 2011 5:07 PM

    Doug might have a point we have went so far it have turn around now it against the Whites USA get it right, sometime it take time.

  11. moonischasinme says: Jun 24, 2011 5:13 PM

    There’s no such thing as reverse racism. Racism against whites is still racism

  12. backuppunter says: Jun 24, 2011 5:15 PM

    there’s no doubt in my mind that jimmer will be a valuable player, i just wonder if he will be anything more than a pop and shoot guy

  13. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Jun 24, 2011 5:22 PM

    Somewhere Warren Moon is saying Williams just doesn’t understand. LOL. Yeh, he does. And he’s right. I really hope Moon reads what Williams said because Moon sure needs to realize that what he went through, while not fair, isn’t the way it is anymore as PFT outlined.

  14. jackfnburton says: Jun 24, 2011 5:24 PM

    Reverse racism…is that like thinking a white guy can’t play running back? Someone give Peyton Hillis the Congressional Medal of Freedom.

  15. rskills says: Jun 24, 2011 5:24 PM

    True dat, Doug Williams! I’ve always noticed this to be the case. When I went out for High School football they let you pick the position you want to try out at. I picked WR and CB and was immediately moved to TE and S before getting a shot. Only to be moved back to WR/CB after actually playing. I feel like I’ve also noticed a little bit of a de-emphasis on weights for whites. Sounds like that should be a sports charity. “Weights for Whites.” Anywho, just my humble observations!

  16. skleech22 says: Jun 24, 2011 5:24 PM


  17. wethog66 says: Jun 24, 2011 5:24 PM

    What the **** is reverse racism? Isn’t racism the same no matter what colors are involved?

    I will say, as a Skins fan, it is nice for once to read something from Doug Williams where he doesn’t refer to himself in the 3rd person. Truely a rare occurance.

  18. ravensfan4life52 says: Jun 24, 2011 5:35 PM

    I don’t care what color my athletes are as long as they’re wearing the right colors ill root for them.

  19. thewhitestguyhere says: Jun 24, 2011 5:47 PM

    i’m gonna stay out of this one

  20. redmen62 says: Jun 24, 2011 6:00 PM

    That’s not reverse racism, that’s just racism.

  21. fancyleague says: Jun 24, 2011 6:03 PM

    Make up your mind, Doug. Is it “black” or “African-American”? You seem to be settled on “white” instead of “European-American”, so let’s just go with “black”.

    Anyway, Wes Welker and Peyton Hillis have done more for the cause of white football players than any words could do.

  22. brothaman1 says: Jun 24, 2011 6:21 PM

    Hell yeah Doug. Finally someone who speaks the truth publicly. Racism only exists when we talk about it. Lets forget about color, especially in something as pure as sports.

  23. blkmanwtan says: Jun 24, 2011 6:36 PM

    Most scouts and coaches are not black. If Jimmy is good then people are going to say he is good. When it comes to this Jimmy dude, it is white on white crime.

  24. godfatherd says: Jun 24, 2011 6:37 PM

    There is no such thing as reverse racism!!! If you form an opinion about someone based on the color of their skin, that’s just racism.

  25. whatswiththehate says: Jun 24, 2011 6:43 PM

    thereisalwaysnextyear says:Jun 24, 2011 5:22 PM

    Somewhere Warren Moon is saying Williams just doesn’t understand. LOL. Yeh, he does. And he’s right. I really hope Moon reads what Williams said because Moon sure needs to realize that what he went through, while not fair, isn’t the way it is anymore as PFT outlined.
    No one needs to tell Moon anything. Moon is intitled to feel and see things as they are.

    I was taught that when folks get bent out of shape over you calling them out on what they are doing, and they retaliate with more hate, they are the problem, not the person.

    The media should not be above being held accountable when they are blatantly playing the stereotypical card and pretending they are not. Stereotyping is the foundation of racism or any form of discrimination.

    There is a difference between a society learning to be color blind and one that is foolish in believing racism does not exist anymore.

  26. jg725 says: Jun 24, 2011 6:53 PM

    Did I miss something – what “pro football hall of fame” is doug williams in???

  27. kiltherl says: Jun 24, 2011 6:59 PM

    Had to comment….
    AMEN Doug Williams!

  28. barklikeadog says: Jun 24, 2011 7:02 PM

    Hobartbaker is da bomb!

  29. jaxxus says: Jun 24, 2011 7:48 PM

    Guys—good job!
    Now,let’s move on———-Brett and I just want to play football.

  30. goawayeverybody says: Jun 24, 2011 8:02 PM

    Doug Williams was crazy in that Super Bowl where he trounced the Cowboys. Wow, that was spectacular.

  31. godfatherd says: Jun 24, 2011 8:15 PM

    @blkmanwtan You may want to check your facts, the NBA has more black pro personnel people, coaches and executives than any of the other major sports. The last time I saw a figure, something like 40% of NBA front office staff are black. If you are going to make a claim at least know what you are talking about.

  32. finsfrontofficeisajoke says: Jun 24, 2011 8:20 PM

    Using the term “reverse racism” perpetuates the stereotype that whites cannot be discriminated against. It makes it sound as if racism, in its true form, only goes one way. Racism is making decisions based on race, plain and simple.

    Affirmative action is not “reverse racism”, it is racism. It forces employers to make decisions to fulfill a quota based on race.

    Someone calling a white person “honky” is not “reverse racism”, it is racism.

    A white athlete having less opportunity because he’s white is not “reverse racism”, it is racism.

    As another commenter pointed out, the “author” of this post is a former “lawyer” and should know better than to headline his article with such an ignorant term.

    And you can’t blame Williams for it either, as you did not put the term he used (reverse racism) in quotes.

  33. justanotherdummy says: Jun 24, 2011 8:57 PM

    Williams just went up ten points on my respect scale. I am not sure he is right, but just the fact that he had the stones to make that statement gets him points. How delightfully open-minded of him.

  34. omegaichiban says: Jun 24, 2011 8:59 PM

    Doug Williams should be in the hall of fame!!

  35. randyinman says: Jun 24, 2011 9:05 PM

    I think contract numbers come into play more than race. Higher paid and higher picked (in draft) will get more chances to start.

  36. burntorangehorn says: Jun 24, 2011 9:47 PM

    White people experience discrimination based on athleticism, dancing, and a few other things like that. Black people experience discrimination based on intelligence and violence. Each is damaging and shouldn’t happen.

  37. skins1976 says: Jun 24, 2011 10:10 PM

    Teach Me How Ta Dougie…Teach…Teach Me How Ta Dougie.

  38. stonedwhitetrash says: Jun 24, 2011 10:10 PM

    This old stoner will have a Shiner Bock or two fire up a big blunt of hydro and stay out of this discussion. Hey mon anyone got some chips!

  39. chobes68 says: Jun 24, 2011 11:50 PM

    “hatesycophants says:
    Jun 24, 2011 4:53 PM
    As an attorney and a presumably well educated person, you should be aware that terminology like “reverse racism” is utterly ridiculous. It diminishes the scope of the conversation and those who indulge. You obviously can’t define the term “reverse,” so I am going to go ahead and assume that “racism” is far beyond the apex of your lexicon.”


    You must lead a miserable and pathetic life, if that’s all you can offer. I’m sure you family is pretty proud that you can use a dictionary and thesaurus to compose your drivel.

  40. cover2blitz0 says: Jun 24, 2011 11:58 PM

    im jw has anyone ever read williams book quarterblack or whatever its called? if so is it any good and what is it about?

  41. Justin says: Jun 25, 2011 12:11 AM

    It is true that this sadly happens. Look up some of the scouting reports on Jimmer. They knock his athleticism but then praise his “basketball IQ”. He is a great player but his “basketball IQ” had nothing to do with it. He was a knock down shooter. And when is the last time you saw a guy jump 35 inches that was not athletic. Give me a break.

  42. rcunningham says: Jun 25, 2011 5:02 AM

    Moon makes legitimate complaints about black athletes, gets bashed by PFT commenters.

    Williams makes legitimate complaints about white athletes, gets praised by PFT commenters.

    I’m gonna get 100 thumbs down, but I don’t care. I’m a white man, and there’s some fishy stuff happening here.

  43. 1historian says: Jun 25, 2011 7:41 AM

    I said this to Moon, and I repeat it to Williams – We white folks lost the monopoly on racism long ago.

  44. 1historian says: Jun 25, 2011 7:44 AM

    Rcunningham (nice handle – would the ‘R’ stand for Randall, ex-black qb for the iggles?) – IMO for the most part Moon got bashed because he plays the race card all the time.

  45. broo53 says: Jun 25, 2011 12:38 PM

    Dirk! Championship!

  46. stunzeed5 says: Jun 25, 2011 12:58 PM

    “By the end of the second quarter, the competitive phase of the Superbowl was all but over”

    -NFL Films

    35 points in the second quarter, you will NEVER see that again in the Superbowl. Thanks Doug! (And Timmy).

    Now what was this article about?

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