Before the Cardinals forced a homework clause into quarterback Kyler Murray‘s contract, no one questioned his work ethic. Now, with the team apparently thinking he doesn’t work hard enough, others are assuming the team’s assessment has merit.
Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, who had to start his pro football career in Canada because no NFL team wanted him, told TMZ.com that Arizona’s effort to reduce an independent study commitment to writing is a “slap in the face to all African-American quarterbacks.”
“It’s something we were always accused of back in the day when they didn’t let us play,” Moon said. “That we were lazy, that we didn’t study, that we couldn’t be leaders, that we weren’t smart. So all those different things just kind of came to surface after we put all that stuff to bed over the years and just because of this deal that’s going on between Arizona and Kyler.”
That would have been yet another reason for the Cardinals to realize the potential harm of insisting on a clause that made their quarterback look bad and the team look worse. Even with the homework clause presumably being dumped from the deal, the stain to Murray’s image will remain. And that fact that Murray is Black invites speculation as to whether the team would have made such a big deal about the clause if he weren’t.
“The damage has been done,” Moon said. “He’ll have this riding on him every time he does something wrong in a football game. They’re going to say, ‘See, that’s the reason why that happened is because he didn’t study enough film last week,’ or whatever it might be. . . . It’s a very unfortunate situation for him and very embarrassing for both sides.”
Indeed it is. And the real question is whether team and player can ever get past this, or whether at some point the franchise quarterback will decide he needs to continue his career with another franchise.