Ryan Swope: People are shocked I’m a white guy running a 4.3


Texas A&M receiver Ryan Swope was timed at 4.34 seconds in the 40-yard dash on Sunday, putting him in a tie for the second-fastest 40 at this year’s Combine. Swope believes people didn’t expect him to run that fast in part because of the color of his skin.

“I think a lot of people were pretty shocked. You don’t see that every day, a white guy running a 4.3,” Swope said on the Dan Patrick Show.

Although Swope said he personally wasn’t surprised by his time because it was in line with what he’s been running in pre-Combine workouts, he said it’s common for people to lump white receivers together as if they’re all good route runners with good hands but lacking high-end speed. And he’s right. For instance, Swope’s profile on NFL.com is almost a parody of the way white wide receivers are always described.

“Very reliable receiver, his hands are strong enough . . . strong route knowledge,” the NFL.com profile says. “Gives excellent effort blocking . . . straight-line speed and acceleration are only average. . . . Doesn’t have the elite athleticism.”

To say the player with the second-fastest 40 in the entire Combine has “only average” straight-line speed is hilarious, as is the fact that NFL.com tells us the closest NFL comparison to Swope is another white guy, Jordan Shipley. For his part, Swope notes that he’s been compared to Wes Welker, although he hastens to add that that’s a comparison he’ll gladly take because he admires Welker as a player, even if he knows the comparison is only skin deep.

“I’ve been compared to Welker,” Swope said. “I think that’s a huge compliment because Welker’s a great football player. . . . But I think people decide to make a white and white comparison.”

Swope then said he thinks a better comparison is Jordy Nelson. Who’s also white. Which might mean that Swope has become so accustomed to people comparing him to other white receivers that he can’t help but do it himself. Or might just mean Swope knows that Nelson averages better than 15 yards a catch over his NFL career, and that Swope sees Nelson as a speedy receiver he wants to emulate, regardless of skin color.

110 responses to “Ryan Swope: People are shocked I’m a white guy running a 4.3

  1. Absolutely true. You never hear a white guy is fast or quick, he’s “deceptively” fast or quick. Just like you’ll hear white guys with “not a lot of potential or upside”.

    Might not like the comment, but you know it’s true.

  2. As a packer fan, I can say that I have seen Jordy Nelson run past plenty of defenders and most have a “How did he run past me” look on their face. Swope is even faster than Nelson so if he can catch the ball, Swope should do just fine in the NFL

  3. I propose a new rule that each team interview at least one white receiver at the Combine each year. The Chrebet Commandment will encourage diversity.

  4. I do agree that there’s that stereotype about white receivers. However, if you watched A&M games, Swope didn’t play that fast.

    By that, I mean: Watch film on Tavon Austin, then watch film on Ryan Swope. They have similar 40-yard dash times, but one guy “played faster” than the other.

    So while some of the surprise is probably due to his race, the fact that he didn’t move like a speeding bullet also made it surprising he had that high vertical speed.

    Swope certainly helped his draft stock with his 40-time. I imagine he’ll be drafted in the first 3 rounds.

  5. When I see 4.3 speed, I never ever think “white” guy. We all have preconceived notions of what a position player looks like whether we like to admit or not. Good for him that he runs that fast but can he catch the ball.

  6. It’s the same as people always comparing every black QB to other black QBs. Maybe it’s not a big deal, but BREAKING NEWS: people can play the game similarly to people of another race. White receivers can be as fast and athletic as black receivers. Black quarterbacks can be pocket passers and as accurate as white quarterbacks.

  7. reverse bias? I think so..but go prove the morons wrong..i can think of a movie title..White men can’t run fast..

  8. He’s right, any time you see a white WR he’s immediately compared to other white WRs. It’s the same way the media lumps all black QBs together as if they’re all “fast, run first QBs”. I’ve read numerous articles about how Geno Smith is a “run-first QB who may need adjusting to the speed of the NFL” when in reality he only had 200 rushing yards the entire season at WVU.

  9. Like Swope alot – reminds me of Steve Smith (out of USC) premicrofracture. Good hands, good routes, deceptive speed. Shocked at the 4.3 though – don’t think he plays that fast.

  10. This is so true, if anybody is ignorant to this fact they are living a sheltered life. I don’t know why it’s a story at all….heck look at white DE’s who are productive. They get praised for their “knowledge of the game” and their “non-stop motor” but not much else. It’s just understood by the media, and fans are used to it as well. Surprised it’s even a story.

  11. Now see he’s sterotyping himself…now I know for a fact all white guys aren’t slow and also that all black guys aren’t fast…I ran track with some pretty fast white guys and played football/baseball and basketball with the some slow brothers…

  12. Don Beebe was one of the fastest receivers the NFL had. He was always put into a small class of his own. Swope should just keep his head up and keep doing his thing. People get classified every day, doesn’t mean he has to play into it. He is just a fast football player.

  13. I don’t think it’s intended racism, I think it’s typical media laziness. They have sterotypes and instead of relying on actual facts or watching game film. They go with generic lazy descriptions for athletes who play positions that aren’t commen for their race. White WR, Black QB for example are apparently all the same. Either they are Wes Welker or Mike Vick.

  14. “High motor receiver…hard as nails toughness…constantly in the video room…runs precise routes…was a coach’s son.. Great student of the game…plays within himself and knows his limitations…high football iq…loves his family…great guy in the locker room…destined to be a coach…”

  15. No doubt about it … Wide receivers and quarterbacks are still the most stereotyped players based on skin color.

  16. And the same for white DE’s. What white DE there are, are some of the best DE’s in the league. J.J. Watt, Jared Allen, Chris Long. None get praise for speed. Speed translation for a white guy is “high motor”. And the comparisons of Geno Smith to other black QB’s. Everybody is calling him a scrambler, but if you watched him in college, he was the opposite. Rather a pocket passer.

  17. Too bad he has an up hill battle because of his race. Everyone will doubt his ability because he is white. If he were a Punter nobody would question him. Imagine if he was cornerback! He would not even been invited to the combine.

  18. Forget about skin color folks and take each kid for his God given talent. Take it from a white guy who ran 4.4 in with 38 vertical in 1982, these kids are bigger faster and strong with training regiments of today. Please imbrace each player, don’t stereotype them I would hope we where all past that from years ago. God Bless all! Ps he would look great in Silver and Black aka Fred Biliknikof!!!

  19. He’ll probably do good in the NFL just like Jordy Nelson does because cornerbacks will think they can go half speed and be comfortable.

    Then when the white receiver is in the endzone with the football they will have that “I let him do that” look.

  20. Hmmm…does anyone remember Don Beebe? He never played for my team, but it was always fun watching him run deep routes. He ran right by people.

  21. People said the same thing about Luke Kuechly last year, and I did a Judd Nelson fist pump when he shredded the combine.

    The boilerplate “Smart player, instinctive, but not athletic” assessment of white players is racist in both directions (what is it saying about black players). Every white linebacker is Mike Vrabel, every white runningback is John Riggins, every white receiver is Wes Welker regardless of their size (Swope is 3″ taller and 30 lbs heavier).

    It’s not only unfair and ignorant, but it shows which analysts just aren’t doing their homework.

  22. We call that “manufactured speed,” because in the drills he didn’t look fast and he had hard time keeping his footing. Its like Jason Hill a few years back that had all those yards at WSU and ran a blazing time, but didn’t run routs or play like his combine 40 time.

  23. I watched him play at A&M and liked his game, but never thought he was a 4.35 kind of guy. He’s just not that fast on the field.

    If his hands were a little better, he would be an awesome WR.

  24. eventhorizon04 says:

    I do agree that there’s that stereotype about white receivers. However, if you watched A&M games, Swope didn’t play that fast.

    By that, I mean: Watch film on Tavon Austin, then watch film on Ryan Swope. They have similar 40-yard dash times, but one guy “played faster” than the other.



    Tavon Austin is not as good of a route runner as Ryan Swope, therefore Austin had to rely more on his speed to gain separation, which is almost always why people say he “played faster” than someone who out performed him and who is actually faster.

  25. Funny thing is when someone in the media speaks like this about a black QB, heads roll, but for some reason, media and athletes ( Nate Burleson ) are allowed to say these types of things to “White” players. The use of the words “white boy” is thrown around like crazy, but yet it’s accepted. If someone EVER called RG3 a black boy, that person would never work again. Double standard. Can’t have it both ways. A player is a player and race should NOT be allowed in the discussion ever.

  26. Love how people were all upset that the media keeps comparing black qb’s to other black qb’s but yet a fast white guy comes out and all people can compare to is Jordy nelson…. Not mike Wallace, not Percy Harvin, but another white guy

  27. PeterKingLovesCoqAVin says:
    Feb 28, 2013 12:30 PM
    I propose a new rule that each team interview at least one white receiver at the Combine each year. The Chrebet Commandment will encourage diversity.

    This is fantastic.

  28. Ryan Swope will be in a Dolphin uniform since that is a Texa A&M landing spot, replacing a WHITE receiver from Ohio State in Brian Hartline!

  29. The stereotypical white receiver is the slow third-down “possession” guy (e.g. Largent, McConkey, Welker), or the heavy-duty tight end (e.g. Bavaro, Novacek, Witten). It’ll take a LOT more guys like Swope to break that, but as long as white receivers are more willing to play football as opposed to just WR, they’ll always be viewed that way. Outside of Hines Ward, most of the black WRs don’t have a block-first mentality – they want the highlight catch on the double-move go route and a long TD.

  30. almighty1 says:
    Feb 28, 2013 1:51 PM

    Now that he’s fast they’ll call him something original like “white lightning.”


    Time to trademark “The Great White Swope.”

  31. Does anyone else wonder why the big three tests at the combine are so valued? Why don’t they make players wear gear for the 40? everyone has to wear it in practice/games so it should give a better read on “football speed”. The vertical jump test… a standing jump? I see only line of scrimage ball swats and the hail mary needing this metric in football. Again players should be in full gear. The bench… this one is ok to test upper body strength which is big for football. I just dont understand why they test this way and then criticize the player by saying they dont have “game speed” or “football speed” when they run a fast 40. Never heard someone say “Well his vertical jump was poor so he wont make it at the NFL level.” These tests are pointless imo.

  32. It is funny how every white receiver coming into the league is compared to one of the 5 current white receivers, as if there aren’t any African American WR’s with average or sub-average speed.

    When the white guy is a flat out burner it is even funnier.

  33. He’s right about Jordy Nelson. He’s fast too. At the Kansas State High School Track and Field Chamionship, Nelson took first place in the Div III 100, 200, 400, and Long Jump. Yes, it may have been Div III, but still, that’s pretty good.

  34. We also hear a lot of projections saying that white receivers will be limited to the slot position in the NFL

  35. hopefully an investigation is underway to determine who exactly these “shocked” individuals are. names need to be named and these people should immediately be sent to sensitivity camp with the bigoted culliver.

    have we heard from the great social justice pioneer, brendon ayanbadejo on this one yet?

    i wouldn’t mind reading super lawyer floride’s take on what swope’s legal options might be here. some kind of employment discrimination lawsuit is warranted against the racist nfl.

  36. This guy is a pure slot receiver… most slot receivers are faster in a straight line then when they play cuz they worry about their route cuts and where patrick willis or brian urlacher are.

    Comparisons for me
    White: wes welker
    Black: jason avant

    Not gunna kill u down the field cuz they threaten more coming across the middle and following blocks

  37. obnoxiousDCfan says:
    Feb 28, 2013 1:25 PM
    Warren Moon thinks that’s racist.
    Actually, I doubt it. Racism only works one way for guys like Moon.

  38. As a Steelers fan, I can remember a player named “Weegie Thompson” …as a Steeler, he’s white, and was a fan favorite during the down years. Not sure what his exact speed was, but he was 6’6 and considered one of the fastest WR’s in the league at the time ,…and definitely the team.

  39. Boo hoo. All black quarterbacks are compared to each other. Obviously the media is going the same thing with white wide receivers. How Geno Smith is being considered a running quarterback is ridiculous.

  40. Great job Ryan.. now maybe some young white kid will see that and ignore his father and other stupid people who imply he needs to move to a position he can succeed at..

    Grew up loving Staubach to Golden Richards.. and he ran past Louis wright in the super bowl..

  41. All of his comments are 100% correct. I think Swope has some serious potential and could end up being a long term starter in the NfL.

  42. I remember someone comparing RG3 to Steve Young and people jumping all over him saying how crazy that was and these “experts” said he’s more similar to Cam Newton… even though Cam is 6’6″ and RG3 is around 6′.

  43. Cw3214

    I think that’s the point we are trying to make. The stereotypes go both ways. Everyone always acts like its the biggest hate crime in the world when a black qb gets miss judged for color bt nobody seems to care when it happens to whites

  44. The reason you haven’t heard of Ryan Swope is that he’s had 3 different QBs over the last 3 years and 2 head coachs. During his tenure there was no continuity. But he was definitely the safety valve for Johnny Football last year and his presence on the A&M team will be missed for sure.

  45. Oh being pigeon hole because of the color of your skin…thats never happened before…says no black qb ever. haha

  46. @PeterKingLovesCoqAVin

    I approve. Chrebet was a beast, he’d take a sledgehammer to the face before he didn’t catch that pass to convert on 3rd down. One of my favorite Jets of all time, not like there’s much variety though…

  47. “pretty fast for a white guy”, I wonder what the headline would look like if it was “pretty smart for a black guy”.

  48. How come the black DE is always an “Athlete, not polished” but the white DE is always “High motor guy not elite athlete.” JJ Watt looks like a good athlete so does Jared Allen. This is coming from a black guy too. Lol NFL GMs are funny.

  49. getyourownname says: Feb 28, 2013 1:24 PM

    Some older guys who also ran by people.

    Roger Carr
    Lance Alworth
    Don Maynard didn’t run precise little 3-yard patterns when he teamed with Joe Namath on the Jets.

    I find it interesting that everyone in the league obsesses about speed, but almost no one has the guts to throw the long pass anymore.

  50. Go watch his highlight tape, he doesn’t play slow, he never gets caught from behind and usually has separated from the defender. With that speed, he’ll go in the 2nd round. NFL corners won’t respect him either because he’s white, but after he burns them enough they will. 4.34 is fast even if you are white, Asian, Mexican or whatever race people deem as slow. Let me guess he’s real smart too, or is that just what people think because he isn’t black? Look at people for who they are not what they are.

  51. Jason Sehorn had the same story but back 20 years ago things like this wasn’t talked about, at least not in the media and certainly not if you wanted to keep your job.

    He played CB for the NY Giants and he is white.

  52. Easy to see he’s another Andy Dalton, and everybody knows red heads can’t play at the pro level.

  53. Kurt Gibson, the LA Dodger that hit that famous home run off of Dennis Eckersley, played wide receiver at Michigan State. He had one of the fastest recorded 40 times ever at a combine, 4.28. Caucasian.

    In 1998, high school sprinter Casey Combest ran the fastest high school time for the 60 meters, 6.57. That was the tenth fastest time in the world and he also had nearly a 40″ vertical. Caucasian. I suggest everyone to Utube the race where he set the record. He killed the field which included future US Olympic sprinters.

    In 1997, Kevin Little ran the fastest indoor 200 meter time, 20.10. His best time in the 100 meters was 10.10, though he specialized in the 200 meters. Caucasian.

    I don’t know why more white guys aren’t the top sprinters in the world when there is a legacy of very fast white guys. I sprinted in hs and college and had excellent coaching and hit 10.78 for the 100 meters, 21 flat for the 200 meters, and that was with horrible starts and a lot of pulled hamis. It didn’t help that I was nearly 6′ 4″. But Carl Lewis was 6′ 3″.

    Point is Entine is full of guano. If you look at his data, yes, West Africans are dominant in the sprints. But it’s West Africans from specific nations, not West Africans in general. Liberia has never had anyone break 11 seconds in the 100 meters. Jamaica has all the great sprinters, but when was the last time Haiti had anyone in the semis of the Olympic sprints? Why are Haitians so much slower than Jamaicans, though both are from West African ancestry? It’s as if to say that the fastest Americans are black folks from California, but only from the area in and around Fresno, not anywhere else. Entine’s logic makes no sense…..

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