Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is fast. His 4.67-second 40-yard dash time at the 2012 Scouting Combine was faster than some wide receivers, and he has already gained more than 1,000 rushing yards in his career. Anyone who watches him knows he’s a great athlete.
Except those who watch him and see only his skin color.
When a football player who’s a great athlete also happens to be white, there’s often a qualifier attached to his athleticism. He’s “sneaky athletic.” Or the athleticism comes not from his genes but from being a “blue-collar” worker and a “gym rat.” Or he has “deceptive speed.”
That last label was used to describe Luck in a question to Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro this week, and Vaccaro wasn’t having it. When Vaccaro was asked if Luck’s “deceptive speed” makes it tough to prepare to play against the Colts on Sunday, Vaccaro pushed back against that label.
“Not deceptive. Just because he’s white doesn’t mean he’s deceptive. He’s actually a great athlete. He has all the tools that you ask for as a quarterback,” Vaccaro said, via Mike Triplett of ESPN. “Smart, big arm talent, can go through all his reads and he can run. So not deceptive, he’s actually athletic.”
Vaccaro is right. Members of the media should think about the labels they put on athletes. There’s nothing deceptive about Andrew Luck’s speed.