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Another look at NFL.com and white wide receivers

Conner Vernon AP

NFL.com has published detailed profiles of almost all of the players who attended this year’s Scouting Combine, and all of those profiles include a section titled “NFL comparison,” which names the current NFL player who is the most similar to that particular draft prospect. There’s nothing unusual about that.

But here’s what is a little odd: For all four of the white wide receivers that NFL.com profiled, the “NFL comparison” is another white wide receiver.

I noticed that after I wrote about Texas A&M wide receiver Ryan Swope saying that people are surprised that he’s a white guy who can run a 4.3-second 40-yard dash. When I wrote that, I mentioned that NFL.com seemed to be falling into the usual stereotypes about white receivers, describing Swope as a hard worker with good hands who lacks straight-line speed, while saying the NFL player most similar to Swope is another white guy, Jordan Shipley.

After I wrote about Swope, I got a call from NFL.com Senior Editor Andy Fenelon. He was not happy. Fenelon lectured me about how unfair I was, demanded that I explain myself to him, and informed me that he stands by what NFL.com published.

I didn’t much care for Fenelon’s approach (he apparently never heard the old saw about attracting more flies with honey than vinegar), but I decided to take a closer look at the wide receiver evaluations at NFL.com and see whether I had unfairly represented the way the league’s official site evaluates white wide receivers.

And after taking that closer look, I don’t think I was unfair at all. White receivers are, in fact, exclusively compared to other white receivers. (Read the profiles of Swope and the other white wide receivers, Brandon Kaufman, T.J. Moe and Conner Vernon and see for yourself.) White receivers are praised by NFL.com for their good hands and their toughness, but downgraded for their speed. All four profiles demonstrate the stereotypes we’ve all heard about white receivers a million times.

I mention this not because I think anyone involved in compiling the NFL.com profiles is racist (I don’t) but because I think it’s important for all of us to challenge the stereotypes that we all encounter every day. At NFL.com, the stereotypes about white wide receivers are prevalent. Whether NFL.com wants to admit that or not.

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104 Responses to “Another look at NFL.com and white wide receivers”
  1. nyjalleffingday says: Feb 28, 2013 6:31 PM

    Stereotypes in the NFL are prevalent, period. Black QB to White WR, anyone?

  2. emperorzero says: Feb 28, 2013 6:33 PM

    This reminds me of when Kevin Curtis was with the Rams – great speed, but he kept getting compared to Ricky Proehl who might have been the last white wide receiver in the NFL at that point.

  3. Punk says: Feb 28, 2013 6:33 PM

    prevalent does not make it acceptable.

    “Its always been that way” is not a good enough excuse to not demand change.

  4. butthatmakestoomuchsense says: Feb 28, 2013 6:34 PM

    These stereotypes have always been there.

    In the 90′s there was a black, left-handed baseball pitching prospect named Arthur Rhodes who was constantly compared to Vida Blue, a pitcher from the 70′s, because Vida Blue was the only black left hander they could come up with. Surely they couldn’t just compare Rhodes to a white lefty!

  5. benroethlisberger7 says: Feb 28, 2013 6:35 PM

    How ’bout we just drop it?

  6. balloo22 says: Feb 28, 2013 6:36 PM

    How the hell is a 4.34 a lack of straight line speed???

  7. monstersofthemidway545051 says: Feb 28, 2013 6:37 PM

    I read the profiles and saw WRs being compared to WRs.

  8. therillest says: Feb 28, 2013 6:37 PM

    Matt Jones ran a 4.3 at the combine…..and then never ran that fast again his whole NFL career. NFL.com may be on to something….

  9. Jay Cutler is an elite QB says: Feb 28, 2013 6:39 PM

    You do know that black people generally are more athletically gifted than white people. It’s racist to say otherwise, or to say it’s because black people “work harder” or were poor so all they did was play football/basketball as kids.

    The stereotype exists for a reason. If you want to pretend you’re above that and look down on everyone else for acknowledging it, then have fun. But you’re ignoring facts for the sake of trying to feel like a better person than everyone else.

  10. chawk12thman says: Feb 28, 2013 6:40 PM

    Good on ya…….

  11. sixringsofsteel says: Feb 28, 2013 6:40 PM

    dont back down, MDS!

  12. sadskinsfan89 says: Feb 28, 2013 6:40 PM

    So who should we compare him to brandon marshall? oh wait

  13. hutch119 says: Feb 28, 2013 6:41 PM

    I am sure the stereotype is there but 4 is not nearly a big enough sample size. Plus that bit about Swope was written pre combine and anyone who has watched Swope play can attest to being surprised by that 40 time. By no means did he look slow on tape but he also didn’t look like the fastest guy on the field every game.

  14. beerbudsnbevo says: Feb 28, 2013 6:43 PM

    Damn cracker receivers takin all the good jawbs…

    Cris Carter is Flabbergasted

  15. pftfollower says: Feb 28, 2013 6:44 PM

    The issue here is primarily lazy reporting and lazy comparisons. its just a window into how people interpret the world around them.

    All florio is doing is to ask people to re-evaluate the bins we throw people into when classifying them

  16. justintuckrule says: Feb 28, 2013 6:45 PM

    MDS – As I write this I am giving you a loud standing ovation!! Not for the content of your article (which is spot on and very thought provoking) but for standing up to “the Man”. For too long now, the NFL has bullied media outlets into putting out there own sanitary, dull, propaganda. It’s about time someone had the stones to call this organization to the mat! The NFL waxes poetic about racial equality, Rooney Rules, and all this but meanwhile stereotypes white WRs and recently allowing teams to ask potential employees what their sexual orientation is. Since the NFL is all-powerful and can probably make you disappear in a blink, I again applaud you for your courage in writing this article! THANK YOU!

  17. cestlavidaloca says: Feb 28, 2013 6:45 PM

    Every white slot WR is another Wes Welker type according to draft profiles.

  18. cliffordc05 says: Feb 28, 2013 6:46 PM

    I remember watching an A&M game during the season and the announcers were talking about Swope’s lack of speed. White guys are slow and Black guys can’t run disciplined routs (but are off the charts athletically). The same stereotype used to apply to Black quarterbacks (fast with a rocket arm but can’t read a defense). It is the same old crap from lazy analysts who can’t be bothered to actually do their jobs.

    How else does a receiver from a major program get classified as a possession receiver when he is the second fastest prospect at the combine!

  19. samefamilymarriageadvocate says: Feb 28, 2013 6:48 PM

    Wow great detective work! Do you think we can get NFL.com charged with a hate crime?

  20. brutus3413 says: Feb 28, 2013 6:49 PM

    Black QBs are almost listed as athletic and non-pocket passers who are looking to run first. Geno was given the running QB moniker even though his yardage is very lopsided when comparing his passing yards to his running yards.

    White receivers are often described as “possession” guys.

    Just lazy is what it is.

  21. freedomispopular says: Feb 28, 2013 6:49 PM

    This brings to light the fact that white receivers are currently disproportionally represented amongst the player base. We need to institute a rule requiring all teams to bring in at least one white receiver for a tryout before signing any more receivers.

  22. kayakattack says: Feb 28, 2013 6:49 PM

    Is this seriously the first time you’ve noticed this?

  23. ilovefoolsball says: Feb 28, 2013 6:51 PM

    beerbudsnbevo says:
    Feb 28, 2013 6:43 PM
    Damn cracker receivers takin all the good jawbs…

    Cris Carter is Flabbergasted
    ________
    DER TURK ERR JERBS!!!!

  24. blacknole08 says: Feb 28, 2013 6:51 PM

    The same could be said about Black QBs. RG3 made a good point about this a while back when comparisons were being made to Cam Newton.

  25. mike5011ad says: Feb 28, 2013 6:52 PM

    He has almost the same size/speed/style of play as Victor Cruz. That’s a much closer comparison than Shipley.

  26. bigblu73 says: Feb 28, 2013 6:55 PM

    Preconceived racist notions will unfortunately be around forever. Swope ran a 4.3 and instead of this being celebrated his scouting report has him “lacking straight line speed”! Geno Smith runs a 4.5? and he is labeled a “mobile/Run first QB”. Meanwhile this past season he ran for a total of 155 yards!!!!LOL No mention that he passed for over 4K yards with a 70.1% completion ratio while tossing 42 TD’s to 6 INT’s!!! Geno should’ve been the poster child for the prototype of the “pocket passer” but thats simply not the case. Whenever a white player is deemed a “play maker” they are often described as cagey, gritty, students of the game with a “high football IQ”. A black player with the exact same skill set will be described as athletically gifted, instinctive, “always in the right place at the right time”. I sometimes wonder if they think that football is part of black players DNA while white players have to be taught? LOL

  27. uglytrog says: Feb 28, 2013 6:56 PM

    The league needs a Rooney 2.0 rule that ensures more White Players are invited to the Combine and Training Camps. Teams can still have any player they want on the Final Roster, but they need to give more White Players opportunities.

  28. woodworthbayoutiger says: Feb 28, 2013 6:56 PM

    Has anyone ever mentioned that Largent and Biletnikoff were the best wide receivers in the 70′s and no one ever mentioned their skin color. God almighty can you imagine asking that type of question to John Madden! Get over yourself people. It goes BOTH ways.

  29. blackandbluedivision says: Feb 28, 2013 6:58 PM

    smh. America finally catches up. This has been said about black QB’s for the longest time. Most modern black QB’s were either compared to Donovan McNabb (if they didn’t run) or Michael Vick (if they ran). If a white QB ran then he was compared to Steve Young.

    People call it sensible and non-racist until it’s done to a white person. Then it’s stereotypes. Wow.

  30. g68rh says: Feb 28, 2013 6:59 PM

    therillest says:
    Feb 28, 2013 6:37 PM
    Matt Jones ran a 4.3 at the combine…..and then never ran that fast again his whole NFL career. NFL.com may be on to something….

    he never ran that fast again except from the cops!

  31. thehatefulnerd says: Feb 28, 2013 7:03 PM

    Sounds like he’s describing Jordy Nelson.

  32. blackandbluedivision says: Feb 28, 2013 7:03 PM

    Warren Moon on Cam Newton:

    “I heard somebody compare him to Vince Young. It’s the same old crap — it’s always a comparison of one black to another black. I get tired of it. I get tired of defending it. If you want to compare him to someone because of his demeanor, compare him to Jay Cutler.”

    Oh, wait. No that’s racist!!!

    Black QB’s are always compared to each other and white QB’s that run are compared to Steve Young or Aaron Rodgers (now).

  33. MTLighthouse69 says: Feb 28, 2013 7:06 PM

    sadskinsfan89 said:”

    So who should we compare him to brandon marshall? oh wait”

    ===

    Only if he was running on a field covered in Mcdonald’s fast food bags.

  34. hoopieguy says: Feb 28, 2013 7:07 PM

    Somewhere, Jimmy the Greek is smiling………

  35. MTLighthouse69 says: Feb 28, 2013 7:10 PM

    @MDS:

    It will be interesting to see if there are any adjustments made to the profiles at NFL.com.

    I give you credit MDS, it isn’t often that the media calls out other media. Glad to see that you stood your ground.

  36. jibzek says: Feb 28, 2013 7:13 PM

    Matt Jones was a quarterback in college. You can’t compare him to Swope. He also smoked a lot of pot.

    Swope is flat out a playmaker. Not going to lie, when I heard he ran a 4.3 it made my head turn. That’s flat out speed.

  37. gochargersgo says: Feb 28, 2013 7:15 PM

    On the flip side, do they ever compare black receivers to white ones?

  38. sterilizecromartie says: Feb 28, 2013 7:15 PM

    Florio is exactly right. Pretty much any white NFL player (outside of QBs and kickers) is described with the same adjectives: tough, gritty, hard-worker, etc. It gets so old. And if I have to hear one more white slot WR called “the next Wes Welker” I am going to pull my hair out.

  39. noahbird says: Feb 28, 2013 7:17 PM

    How is 4.3 not excellent straight line speed? I agree that the comparisons are a tad dumbed down.

  40. randallflagg52 says: Feb 28, 2013 7:18 PM

    I remember when Jake Locker came out a couple of years ago he was being compared to a larger Steve Young. McNabb would probably be a better comparison IMO, especially considering their erratic yet powerful arms.

  41. descendency says: Feb 28, 2013 7:19 PM

    balloo22 says:
    Feb 28, 2013 6:36 PM
    How the hell is a 4.34 a lack of straight line speed???

    ———–

    I watched at least half of his games at TAMU and I can say I never thought he would run a 4.34. I would have pegged him at 4.5 something. He doesn’t look fast during the game.

    Players measurables in shorts and tshirt are not the same as their measurables in pads, which is why the combine should be done in a full set of pads.

  42. usa98j30t4 says: Feb 28, 2013 7:19 PM

    Great point. Just like you hardly ever (if ever) see a black player compared to a white player.

    That goes for ALL of the football people that you hear. Black and white alike.

  43. Mark Briscoe says: Feb 28, 2013 7:20 PM

    It’s been that way forever. Black QBs are almost always compared to other black QBs.

  44. thegreatgabbert says: Feb 28, 2013 7:22 PM

    In social media they are known as WWRs. Generally seeking BBW. Who aren’t already looking for BBC.

  45. daleinatlanta says: Feb 28, 2013 7:23 PM

    Ah, when was the last time anyone compared Michael Vick to Steve Young? Or Byron Leftwich to Billy Kilmer? They always compare black – black; white – white? Racism? How about Reverse Racism? When was the last time you saw a White Cornerback? Nolan Cromwell in the 70′s maybe! How about a White Running back, Alstot was a FB, and that clown at the Browns is really a FB too. Ask white guys why they don’t go out for WR, RB, CB; because IF they’re playing those positions in HS, as soon as they get to college, they’re told they can’t play those positions, because they don’t have enough speed, that only the black guys can do it; there’s been numerous stories over the decades to that effect. Same with blacks can’t play center, or QB, until recently! Institutional racism, but it cuts both ways! Black atheletes are “athletic”; White atheletes “work hard”! I remember Doug Donley of the Dallas Cowboys back in the 70′s, he was white, and the Fastest Cowboy on the Roster, faster than Drew Pearson, Tony Hill, Tony Dorsett; never got any respect because he was a White WR! Of course, he got hurt alot, and then into drugs, and screwed himself, but that’s a different story!

  46. somtoiro says: Feb 28, 2013 7:25 PM

    I’m a black man, but literally this morning i was talking to a friend of mine and he brought up swipe. I told him that the NFL has a real race issue, and its not about black qbs, white skill position players are being discriminated against. Time and time again i see some of the fastest/quickest football players playing for small schools and they never get a chance because they “don’t have good top end speed”. It seems as if only “smart players who know the subtle nuances of the game despite his athletic inefficiency” white guys make it. Jordy nelson is FAST. Cole beasly is QUICK. whether he’s white or black shouldn’t matter. That’s why i have problems with the Rooney rule. You should be interviewed because you’re a good coach, not because your black, i could understand the original rule but now they’re just Patronizing black coaches.

    On a side note when are we gonna have a black kicker? I’ve never seen one.

  47. phillybillsfan says: Feb 28, 2013 7:26 PM

    This story cracks me up… Can’t we all see that not only is Swope looking for attention but so is the person who wrote this article! I’ve never heard of a white player being compared to a black player and vice versa (in any sport) Kevin Durant might be the closet thing to Larry Bird, however because he’s black no one does. And that ok! I totally agree with a few ppl on here who point out that Black QBs are ne’er compared to white QB’s…. One guy said they labeled Geno a “mobile” QB, but he only rushed for 155 and threw for 4k at 71% lol. Its idiocy!!! That’s all it is, and an attention seeking WR who no one cared about until he proved he could run really fast WITHOUT a DB in front of him. Maybe that’s why we thought you were slow lol. The best part about this is if you read the first article posted about this, when asked whom Swope would compare himself too, he replied: “JORDY NELSON” well there you have it, he even stereotyped himself! Next story please!

  48. chipwrecked says: Feb 28, 2013 7:27 PM

    This has been going on forever… Before Welker and Jordy Nelson every white WR was compared to Ed McCaffrey or Wayne Chrebet. Who cares… They were great players.

  49. screechingllama says: Feb 28, 2013 7:29 PM

    We have QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and QB Tarvaris Jackson. If you stink you stink no matter what color. Go Bills!

  50. bobonmycob says: Feb 28, 2013 7:34 PM

    white QB’s and black route runners… isn’t that the way it is supposed to be? Let the white guy lead and the black guys use their natural born athletic skills to catch and run. Sounds about right

  51. kindasporty says: Feb 28, 2013 7:37 PM

    Who do people compare Colin Kaepernick to? Off the top of my head I only remember him being compared to RG3 and Russel Wilson. I think of Randall Cunningham, but I could see Steve Young comparisons, not because of style of play, but because of the situation and location.

  52. tothefellowshipofthemiserable says: Feb 28, 2013 7:41 PM

    Who cares! White, black, green or purple, just snap the da**ball!

  53. donnymacjack says: Feb 28, 2013 7:42 PM

    I am offended that you keep calling us caucasions “white”. Please, stop stereotyping us with a color. We’re all just people, right?

    Ok, so I jest…I’m not offended. But I am pointing out how even yourself is easily able to fall into stereotyping people. These days calling someone “white”, “black”, or anything other than the “accepted” terms, tends to create issues with some people. Wouldn’ it be great if we were all just happy to be who we are, regardless of the shade of our skin, or the shape of our facial features, or anything that is physical?

  54. Chase The Future™ says: Feb 28, 2013 7:52 PM

    Applause.

  55. skleech22 says: Feb 28, 2013 7:54 PM

    The GREAT WHITE Conner Vernon will be a steal of this draft!! Wes Welker’s second coming!

  56. PriorKnowledge says: Feb 28, 2013 7:56 PM

    Hey, NFL.com: BUSTED!!!

  57. harrisonhits2 says: Feb 28, 2013 7:57 PM

    “Fenelon lectured me about how unfair I was, demanded that I explain myself to him, and informed me that he stands by what NFL.com published.”

    Even though the “facts’ about Swope’s speed are clearly disproved by the facts of his combine workout, Fenelon still stands by the analysis of that Swope has poor speed.

    Lol sounds like he’s having an Eric Cartman moment. “Screw you guys, I’m taking my toys and going home”. Or “You guys don’t know what the f you’re talking about, I hate you guys !”

    Lol at Fenelope being an obstinant douche.

  58. kayakattack says: Feb 28, 2013 8:01 PM

    “”jibzek says:
    Feb 28, 2013 7:13 PM
    Matt Jones was a quarterback in college. You can’t compare him to Swope. He also smoked a lot of pot.

    Swope is flat out a playmaker. Not going to lie, when I heard he ran a 4.3 it made my head turn. That’s flat out speed.””
    ——————————————-

    No no, Reggie Williams smoked all the pot, Matt Jones just stuck to cocaine I think.

  59. pftbillsfan says: Feb 28, 2013 8:01 PM

    I like that you call people out when they try to bully the site. Good for you and good for you for providing additional back up to further what may be a subconscious stereotype.

  60. wtfchiefs says: Feb 28, 2013 8:02 PM

    Who would NFL.com compare an Asian wideout to?

  61. doe22us says: Feb 28, 2013 8:04 PM

    I am extremely pleased that this has come to the limelight , i always found it unfair when players are characterized based on skin color and not on ability. Every white DE is considered a high motor guy, and every white reciever is considered a good slot runner with solid hands. RG 3 was considered a Michael Vick type player same as Cam Newtown, wherby all these QBS bring different things to the table. Its so unfair across the board. And MDS and everyone else thanks for calling those chumps out.

  62. Dusty Grey says: Feb 28, 2013 8:11 PM

    If I were a lesser man the MDS (and I am), my response to Andy Fenelon would have simply been this:

    “Either you carelessly used common ‘white’ WR descriptors or you are terrible at player evaluation. Either way you are bad at your job.”

  63. doe22us says: Feb 28, 2013 8:12 PM

    wtfchiefs says:
    Feb 28, 2013 8:02 PM
    Who would NFL.com compare an Asian wideout to?

    Answer: Jeremy Lin lol.

  64. phloorioisanarcissist says: Feb 28, 2013 8:13 PM

    blackandbluedivision says:

    smh. America finally catches up. This has been said about black QB’s for the longest time. Most modern black QB’s were either compared to Donovan McNabb (if they didn’t run) or Michael Vick (if they ran). If a white QB ran then he was compared to Steve Young.

    People call it sensible and non-racist until it’s done to a white person. Then it’s stereotypes. Wow.

    ——————————————————

    On the contrary blackandbluedivision, I think nearly everyone on here would agree with you, that Black QB’s are profiled as well, because of color. So are White QB’s. They can’t be fast because they are white, right? According to popular opinion it would seem. Black QB’s can’t read a defense and are always “run first”, because they are black, right? That seems to be the accepted norm. Neither of these things are true, but they are accepted because the media tells us that. I am sick of it both ways.

    I am a white male, and my wife is black. She and I are planning on having kids. She and I are both athletic, however I am faster than she is and she is smarter than I am. I sure hope my son can play football someday and not be racially profiled no matter what position he plays.

  65. shzastl says: Feb 28, 2013 8:21 PM

    But just because NFL.com’s description fits into a stereotype, doesn’t mean it isn’t true for these four guys. It would be one thing if they were speculating about these guys based solely on skin color, e.g., “I haven’t seen Swope play, but since he’s a white guy, that probably means he’s got good hands, a little slow, probably like Welker.” If in fact these four players have good hands but not great speed, should NFL not report that because it happens to fit a “stereotype?” Should they compare a slower white receiver to a fast black receiver even if his game is in fact most comparable to another white receiver? That’s absurd.

  66. notdemfalcons says: Feb 28, 2013 8:32 PM

    hoopieguy says:Feb 28, 2013 7:07 PM

    Somewhere, Jimmy the Greek is smiling………

    ———

    this is a hall of fame comment…

    so true, so xxxin true

  67. boogerhut says: Feb 28, 2013 8:39 PM

    wtfchiefs says: Feb 28, 2013 8:02 PM

    Who would NFL.com compare an Asian wideout to?
    =================================
    Jackie Chan delivering egg rolls.

  68. JSpicoli says: Feb 28, 2013 8:43 PM

    Out of gayness angles, turn to race.

  69. jfd117 says: Feb 28, 2013 8:44 PM

    And Zeke Motta compares to Eric Smith on nfl.com. You may be onto something here…

  70. 4thqtrsaint says: Feb 28, 2013 8:49 PM

    He’s not just white, he’s articulate.

  71. mbhcu98 says: Feb 28, 2013 8:52 PM

    No but, why can’t you compare a slow white WR to a slow black WR? Are all Black players fast? Are there no tough Black WRs?

  72. rollerino1 says: Feb 28, 2013 8:53 PM

    Who would NFL.com compare an Asian wideout to?

    5 0
    Report comment

    ———————–

    Jackie Chan.

  73. thegreatgabbert says: Feb 28, 2013 8:54 PM

    Ryan Swope – ” I run a 4.3 40!”.

    Kid Cudi – “But yo’ white.”.

  74. mhs8031 says: Feb 28, 2013 9:04 PM

    White kids are systemically eliminated from Pop Warner through high school and into college. This is not racial, because it is done by white coaches more than black coaches. However, by the time these athletes reach the college level they have been sorted out, many times by color. It works both ways, but there are not many positions where whites are considered equal; there is only one where blacks suffer from similar discrimination.

    Nobody said life is fair, and dispelling stereotypes is part of it. As long as there is subjectivity in the talent evaluation process on every level of football, there will always be stereotypes because our vision of the athlete it takes to play a position is often inspired by the characteristics of our idols and heroes.

  75. mnajb says: Feb 28, 2013 9:09 PM

    Wow. I am earnestly impressed by the bold, progressive stances taken by Florio on the gay player issue, and MDS on the racial stereotyping. I think PFT is really showing some cojones. Nice work guys.

  76. frankg2469 says: Feb 28, 2013 9:19 PM

    Don Beebe was another one of those ‘slow’ white Wide Receivers—his 40 time was only topped by Deion Sanders that particular year,and it was only by a shade.(like 4.26 to 4.29)

  77. mputelli55 says: Feb 28, 2013 9:27 PM

    You really need to find another spot for the “report comment” link…Android phones are set up so geniusly they always clock accurate..haha

  78. neepo13 says: Feb 28, 2013 9:39 PM

    Why is anyone surprised? That is what happens when a position is dominated by one race. It is the same thing that happens to black QB’s. People lump Vick, Newton and RG3 into one type of QB and the 3 of them could not be more different. It is the same for white guys at RB and CB.

  79. kibblesnvick says: Feb 28, 2013 10:01 PM

    I remember during Don Beebe’s hay-day in Buffalo he was the fastest player on the team.

  80. kibblesnvick says: Feb 28, 2013 10:05 PM

    shzastl says:
    Feb 28, 2013 8:21 PM
    But just because NFL.com’s description fits into a stereotype, doesn’t mean it isn’t true for these four guys. It would be one thing if they were speculating about these guys based solely on skin color, e.g., “I haven’t seen Swope play, but since he’s a white guy, that probably means he’s got good hands, a little slow, probably like Welker.” If in fact these four players have good hands but not great speed, should NFL not report that because it happens to fit a “stereotype?” Should they compare a slower white receiver to a fast black receiver even if his game is in fact most comparable to another white receiver? That’s absurd.
    ——

    You forget the fact that the author of this article did say that Swope ran a 4.3 40 (which is pretty fast). So, if NFL.com says he doesn’t have great speed then they are incorrect.

  81. juiceboxsupply says: Feb 28, 2013 10:23 PM

    Swope’s a scrappy over achiever. What he lacks in atleticism, he makes up for with grit and and intelligence. Fundamentally sound

  82. mlmeier says: Feb 28, 2013 10:30 PM

    Thank you, Michael. Others have already said, but it’s worth saying again because this has been a problem for a LONG time, and you handled it perfectly.

  83. screbels89 says: Feb 28, 2013 10:33 PM

    Fred Biletnikoff clone!
    Just look at the hair.

  84. blackandbluedivision says: Feb 28, 2013 10:35 PM

    phloorioisanarcissist says:
    Feb 28, 2013 8:13 PM
    blackandbluedivision says:

    smh. America finally catches up. This has been said about black QB’s for the longest time. Most modern black QB’s were either compared to Donovan McNabb (if they didn’t run) or Michael Vick (if they ran). If a white QB ran then he was compared to Steve Young.

    People call it sensible and non-racist until it’s done to a white person. Then it’s stereotypes. Wow.

    ——————————————————

    On the contrary blackandbluedivision, I think nearly everyone on here would agree with you, that Black QB’s are profiled as well, because of color. So are White QB’s. They can’t be fast because they are white, right? According to popular opinion it would seem. Black QB’s can’t read a defense and are always “run first”, because they are black, right? That seems to be the accepted norm. Neither of these things are true, but they are accepted because the media tells us that. I am sick of it both ways.

    I am a white male, and my wife is black. She and I are planning on having kids. She and I are both athletic, however I am faster than she is and she is smarter than I am. I sure hope my son can play football someday and not be racially profiled no matter what position he plays.
    ________________________________

    I don’t think anyone has ever said a white QB “can’t run.” They just don’t. When Jake Locker came out and Tim Tebow came out and others they were labeled as runners. But, (aside from Tebow) they were compared to white QB’s. I’m sorry, I’ve never seen a black QB compared to a white one. White QB can be compare to any QB in league history but the media won’t dare taint a legendary white QB by comparing him to a black one.

  85. blackandbluedivision says: Feb 28, 2013 10:37 PM

    People are missing the point. The NFL has been stereotyping black athletes (QB for example) for years. Now that whites ones get stereotyped they wake up.

  86. scallops says: Feb 28, 2013 11:19 PM

    I think its just being lazy more than racism.

    Players also get compared to people with similar height/weight even if they play drastically different. Lazy writers take a player and look for another player who looks like he could be his brother and then say they are similar. It saves them from actually having to look at tape.

    For receivers, if you’re tall and skinny with a good 40 you are a long strider and more fast than quick. If you are short then you are automatically more quick than fast. If you’re slow – you have good hands. If you’re big – you are a good blocker. There are no such things as big, tall receivers with a good 40 who are quicker than fast and are terrible blockers.

  87. mazblast says: Feb 28, 2013 11:33 PM

    chipwrecked says: Feb 28, 2013 7:27 PM

    This has been going on forever… Before Welker and Jordy Nelson every white WR was compared to Ed McCaffrey or Wayne Chrebet. Who cares… They were great players.
    ————————–
    Ed McCaffrey and Wayne Chrebet were/are miles from being “great” players. They played a few years for New York teams, made a few catches, got a lot of ink. They weren’t bad, but they were hardly “great”.

  88. 88ibis says: Feb 28, 2013 11:54 PM

    If anyone ever said I reminded them of Steve Largent, it’d be one of the top 5 days of my life.

  89. evilmajortom says: Mar 1, 2013 12:00 AM

    It works both ways. Josh Freeman was compared to Michael Vick and Donovan Mcnabb by racists even though a far more acurate comparison would have been Gus Ferotte. But seriously, who cares?

  90. marcinhouston says: Mar 1, 2013 3:18 AM

    Another scouting insight on these four receivers: they can’t jump.

  91. jerrytown says: Mar 1, 2013 3:21 AM

    White DE:
    Strengths – Relentless motor. Blue collar worker who brings his lunch pail to work every day. Outstanding finesse moves and a sound tackler who consistently wraps up with good technique. Gym rat with high football IQ.
    Weaknesses – Lacks power moves and a true bull rush. Less than ideal speed, but he makes up for it with his willingness to outwork his opponent.
    NFL COMPARISON: JARED ALLEN

    Black DE:
    Strengths – Big, nasty animal with freakish athleticism. Absolute monster with a mean streak and jarring club move. Physically dominates his opponent and delivers train wreck tackles. World class speed and uncanny jumping ability. Beast.
    Weaknesses – Takes plays off. Needs some work on his technique to become more effective at getting off his blocks. Lacks determination and hasn’t yet realized his full potential. Below average football IQ.
    NFL COMPARISON: GRIZZLY BEAR

  92. saxmachine69 says: Mar 1, 2013 3:27 AM

    White players in general always get the “average athlete”, “lacks speed”, “hard worker”, tag lines, no matter what the position.

    Take for example… Jared Allen. Everyone always talks about he’s a “high effort” guy who’s “motor never stops”. No one ever talks about how fast his first step is, despite him being one of the more explosive pass rushers in the league.

    Look at JJ Watt’s scouting reports a couple years ago, and you’ll see “hard worker, non-stop motor, more all around player” etc. But you’ll also see “not an explosive athlete, will not bring much in pass rush”. And yet we all saw how wrong that was this year. And again we see it with Bjoern Werner this year, same notion of not being as explosive a pass rusher as Moore, Jones, Jordon or Mingo, but he’s a more “all around DE” and a “high motor guy”.

    Look at Kuechly and Harrison Smith’s scouting reports last year. “Not great athletes, lack speed, etc.” Yet they were two of the best athletes at the combine for their respective positions.

    It’s silly how consistent you see these types of stereotypes for white players. Even white QBs like Ponder, Gabbert and Luck “surprised people with their athleticism and speed in the running game”. Meanwhile a guy like Geno Smith who rarely runs is just placed in the same bubble as RG3, Newton and Vick, he just happens to “choose” not to use his athleticism.

  93. pc1976 says: Mar 1, 2013 3:40 AM

    You’ve got a lot of support, including here. I live abroad and know nothing about college football.
    To get to know the players entering the draft I read the nfl.com player reviews at combine time. For years, without ever seeing them, I could tell if the WR was black or white purely based on their description. So if you want a completely unbiased example, here it is

  94. wwbbsay says: Mar 1, 2013 6:53 AM

    I’m actually glad you are bringing this up MDS, everyone always has to hear about the Rooney Rule and Hispanic, Black, Asian, Polynesian heritage holidays etc etc, all celebrating someone’s specific color creed ethnic background or sexual orientation. But talking seriously if there was a proposed white heritage holiday or white scholarship or traditionally white only college, that person, organization or whatever would be nailed to the cross and crucified. I think to truly get over our infatuation (or at least the medias) over the broad scope of civil rights and racism, stereotypes, discrimination, we need to first be able to get rid of race specific organizations (NAACP, KKK) and race based scholarships, quotas stating at least x amount of a certain race, or sex has to be employed by a business just to name a few and let it all be equal.

    I’m not stupid, at this point in time racism is still prevalent more so I think with older folks of ALL races not just white, but being of the mid 20s age group I can really tell we are moving forward doing a comparison of my age group to the older ones, a of now we still do need some regulation of jobs to make sure there is no discrimination there like the Rooney rule basis, to get better we need be able to move past programs that look out for certain races and move towards programs that look out for ALL people, get rid of NAACP and African American, Latin scholarships, traditionally black/womens only schools.
    Like I said I’m not stupid these things will be around for awhile, but it should go both ways, this is a prime example of how whites are looked down upon as inferior or not as good, just like black qb’s which both are unfair, but if whites dared to have a whites only scholarship, or a qualified white guy guy doesn’t get a job because the organization doesn’t have enough minority candidates, I can see the next Rooney rule having a minority quota and we will run into this problem sooner or later. Maybe not as bad as the real world since this is a very exclusive business where all candidates are great.
    Lets just stop the stereotypes and keep it all fair, whites included, they are getting more discriminated against with all the over sensitivity in the NFL and the real world.

  95. blackqbwhiterb says: Mar 1, 2013 7:18 AM

    Just this past season I remember noticing the last few years there seemed to be a marked increase in the number of white wr’s throughout the league… During the 80′s, racism was rampant in the NFL, apparently, because virtually all wr’s were black..Heck, even the 70′s, outside of the Raiders, who had white wr’s?… I’m glad the owners seem to be getting the message…

  96. mensamember says: Mar 1, 2013 10:12 AM

    I beg to differ. Chrebet has the 3rd most receptions in NFL history for an undrafted player. 379 of his 580 receptions were for 1st downs on third down plays. Thats clutch!

    Ed McCaffrey and Wayne Chrebet were/are miles from being “great” players. They played a few years for New York teams, made a few catches, got a lot of ink. They weren’t bad, but they were hardly “great”.

  97. shzastl says: Mar 1, 2013 1:50 PM

    kibblesnvick says:
    Feb 28, 2013 10:05 PM

    You forget the fact that the author of this article did say that Swope ran a 4.3 40 (which is pretty fast). So, if NFL.com says he doesn’t have great speed then they are incorrect.
    —-
    But the profile had to have been written before the combine. Obviously, no one would see that he ran a 4.3 and then say he has average straight-line speed. A commenter above who watched him play in college notes that you would not think Swope could run that fast. The knock on Millner before the combine was also that he might not be athletic enough, yet he had one of the top 40 times. So it may have just been a good faith mistake about Swope’s speed, rather than the writer saying, ‘well, he’s white, I’m going to assume that he has below-average speed.” In that regard, I do think it’s a bit unfair to accuse NFL of doing exactly that, merely based on the fact that they made one incorrect statement about one player in this group of four. Now, if there are other examples, e.g., these guys do not actually have good hands, etc., then that’s a different story. But just because a report happens to fit a stereotype doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

  98. Max says: Mar 1, 2013 4:20 PM

    The journalism integrity of this website is trash, when you delete comments that point out that 3 out of the 4 wide receivers mentioned were the slowest at the combine.

    Not accepting criticism from readers shows that your journalistic purpose is not to deliver the news but to steer it in the way you see fit, or the to hide the obvious weaknesses in your article…

    Simply weak… only morons will eat this stuff up!

  99. ladavidco02baby says: Mar 2, 2013 6:46 AM

    blackandbluedivision says:
    Feb 28, 2013 10:37 PM
    People are missing the point. The NFL has been stereotyping black athletes (QB for example) for years. Now that whites ones get stereotyped they wake up.

    *cough cough racist cough

    I am offended as a black guy that most black people blame their problems and shortcomings on whites and you are a prime example, I’m doing fine and not salty at all. Probably bc I don’t spend my time stewing over racial ish like you do in every post, get a life stop looking for other races to kiss your butt and apologize for horrible things that happened to our people a hundred years ago, I am a human not an African American, once you realize that for yourself you will be much happier. Peace

  100. txnative61 says: Mar 6, 2013 2:08 AM

    I saw much in common with Steve Largent in Jerry Rice. That will make somebody mad, because everybody sees color first.

  101. gmsalpha says: Mar 6, 2013 2:46 PM

    I’m curious to know if any draft-eligible black WRs are compared to current white NFL WRs.

  102. bartlettruss says: Mar 7, 2013 5:22 PM

    NFL.com should be glad someone pointed it out. Now they can be aware of it and move forward in a positive direction.

  103. nathpz says: Mar 13, 2013 3:19 PM

    Jay Cutler is an elite QB – the whole point is that individual players aren’t stereotypes, they’re individuals. Evaluate them individually, don’t just lazily compare them to someone else of their race.

  104. tnsuperman says: Feb 17, 2014 12:00 PM

    Whitey sold out along time ago!!!! But we keep the stands full and pay to watch the black man play!!!

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