Posted under Sports
Stanford’s great running back Toby Gerhart was drafted in the second round of the recent NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Despite his impressive stats his senior year, the fact Gerhart was not draft until the second round may well have been due to this fact about him: He’s running back. A white running back.
“As the NFL draft approached this weekend, scouts from around the league had reservations about Gerhart because … he was also an accomplished baseball player. Yeah, that’s it.
We began this post rather haphazardly to highlight an issue that is very much a part of Gerhart’s story as the Minnesota Vikings’ pick at No. 51 Friday night, yet doesn’t get nearly the same scrutiny — more like microscopic biomolecular inspection — that most elements of most draftee’s games receive.
Instead, it gets dealt with sideways, cautiously, even self-consciously casual, although it has much to do with where and when Gerhart was drafted and even more so with the projections all the experts have for his career.
Gerhart, if you didn’t know by now, is white. Which is a rarity these days, akin to being a black Olympian in the butterfly or a fifty-something journalist with two job offers. It was backdrop heading into the draft — as much as his runner-up finish in the Heisman Trophy balloting or his 27 touchdowns and 1,871 yards gained last season at Stanford.
And it figures to be subtext to his pro career, good, bad or indifferent. Whether folks ‘fess up about that or not.”
This excerpt was taken from a very good MinnPost.com article on Gerhart and the “elephant in the room” factor about him. In fact some have said that he will be Adrian Peterson’s “shadow” in the backfield. Yes, the White Shadow right?
If it was wrong to say blacks could not be quarterbacks it’s equally wrong to say whites can’t be running backs, wide receivers or cornerbacks. No one should be stereotyped or steered into positions just because of race. If the NFL about the best football players in the country playing at the highest level, then Gerhart’s talent to play running back should be acknowledged and encouraged, not treated like a rare animal exhibit at the zoo. Hopefully when Gerhart plays in his first Super Bowl, no one will ask him, as some idiot reporter once asked Doug Williams, what is was like to “How long have you been a black (white) quarterback (running back).