Seahawks Players are Complaining Russell Wilson Isn't Black Enough. I Can Relate



SeattleIf you want to understand, at least in some ways, the dynamics of the Seattle Seahawks locker room and why Percy Harvin was fitted to an ejector seat… Harvin was an accelerant in a locker room that was quickly dividing between Wilson and anti-Wilson. Again, people will deny this, but there’s truth to it. The main issue some players seem to have with Wilson is they think he’s too close to the front office… There is also an element of race that needs to be discussed. My feeling on this—and it’s backed up by several interviews with Seahawks players—is that some of the black players think Wilson isn’t black enough… This is an issue that extends outside of football, into African-American society—though it’s gotten better recently. Well-spoken blacks are seen by some other blacks as not completely black. Some of this is at play.



I have two reactions to this story.  First, welcome to NFL success, Pete Carroll.  You think it’s easy keeping a team together after winning a Super Bowl?  Well this is what it’s like.  Remember all Spring and Summer when everybody talked about the Seahawks like they were the next NFL dynasty?  Because they were young and talented and loved their coach who basically re-invented tackle football?  Yeah, well about that.  Now they’re sitting at 3-3, in 3rd place in their division and that defense that was going to dominate the game for a generation is now 10th in the league.  They’ve had contract squabbles (Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch) had to let go of some key contributors (Red Bryant, Chris Clemons, Golden Tate, Brandon Browner) for salary cap reasons.  And now they’ve got a circular firing squad forming in their locker room over the relative blackness of their black quarterback.  There’s an old expression (I forget where I heard it, but it’s might be from a beer commercial) that goes “The only thing harder than working your way to the top is staying there.”  And in today’s NFL – a league designed to prevent sustained success – there’s only been one team capable of staying there.  Their dynasty is in it’s 15th big year.  Seattle’s jumped on the ash heap of history after one.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

That said, I have to comment on this Russell Wilson blackish issue.  Maybe you’d think in 2014, we’re beyond talking about race in sports.  Perhaps you’d think that being a Super Bowl winning QB would earn you enough goodwill that you shouldn’t have to defend your ethnicity.  But you’d be wrong.  Personally I have no problem with anyone questioning Wilson’s racial authenticity because quite frankly I do the same thing with our own Super Bowl MVP franchise quarterback.

Yeah, I said it.  Tom Brady isn’t Irish enough for me.

A few St. Paddy’s ago I complained about the lack of true Irish athlete heroes in this town.  To the point where I decided to name Dustin Pedroia an honorary Irishman.  Well I got hammered by people who screamed “What about Brady???” at me.  And therein lies the issue.  What about Brady?  Yes, he’s got an Irish name.  But it’s one of those kind of dubious ones, that could go either way.  More of a  “Brady Bunch” Brady than a real Hibernian like a Sullivan or an O’Reilly, say.  And to me, he’s just too Anglo.  I mean, look at the way he carries himself.  He talks in perfect King’s English, without a hint of a brogue.  You’ve seen the way he dresses at the postgame pressers or walking the red carpet someplace.  He might as well be a Royal.  The next time I see him in a scally and a hoodie with a shamrock on the front will be the first.  We’ve seen him dance to Salsa music in Rio, but never once have I seen him at Mr. Dooley’s belting out “Wild Rover” at the top of his lungs like a real Mick.  And if you look up where he was on September 17th, he was at Gillette getting ready for the Oakland game instead of celebrating “Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day” over a bunch of Guinnesses at The Snug in Hingham like I was.  And the last time I checked, he married a Brazilian goddess, not a ginger with good child-bearing hips.  So yes, while no one appreciates all that Tom Brady has brought to New England as much as this lad, you can’t tell me I should be satisfied with his level of Irishness.  Whoever you are in Seattle that’s disappointed in Russell Wilson’s blackishness? I feel your pain.  @JerryThornton1