At CBSSports.com, Jonathan Jones authored what may be the most ridiculous article written about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.
Titled “Carson Wentz leans on his privilege to avoid fair criticism for driving latest Eagles drama,” the story basically asserts that Wentz is getting a free pass that black quarterbacks would not get.
Here’s the subtitle, which may have been written by an editor, and not Jones:
‘The Philly quarterback has escaped much of the criticism that his Black peers would face’
Huh? Carson Wentz has been absolutely HAMMERED with criticism for three seasons running now. He may very well be the most criticized quarterback in the NFL this season, outside of Dwayne Haskins. He is constantly shredded in this town and shredded by the national media, especially for his poor and inexcusable on field performance in 2020 and, at times, in 2019.
In the body of the story, Jones writes:
Carson Wentz’s behavior is unbecoming of an NFL quarterback who’s supposed to be a beacon of leadership. And it would be unacceptable if he were Black.
For the last few weeks, as reports have trickled out about the Eagles quarterback’s desire in being traded elsewhere and topped by his declination to tell his side Monday, these are the only two conclusions I could come to.
Reports. Reports citing anonymous sources. Reports that were blown out of proportion to the point where Adam Schefter had to come out and scold the people who “misconstrued” his nothing burger story about Wentz being unhappy with his demotion and seeking a trade if he’s not the starting quarterback in 2021. All the while Wentz teammates not named Alshon Jeffery come out and defend the quarterback and dispute unsubstantiated media claims.
Ten years ago, ESPN asked you to consider how we’d view Michael Vick if he were white, accompanied by a now infamous photo illustration. Replace Photoshop for a decent memory and consider how Eagles fans would treat Donovan McNabb, who led them to five NFC title games, if he pulled this. I mean … just consider how Eagles fans treat Donovan McNabb anyway.
Hmm, well, I don’t know about this one. The level of criticism Carson is taking right now is just as bad, if not worse, than the pinnacle of the ire directed at Donovan. And while there certainly may have been a racial component to some of that, McNabb never really “clicked” with Eagles fans based on his media interactions or public persona. He was a little bit goofy and aloof, and people did grow frustrated by the fact that the Eagles couldn’t get over the hump and win the big one.
Similarly, however, plenty of people are out there making fun of Wentz for being some sort of North Dakota country bumpkin who likes hunting and Jesus. It’s not like he’s the perfect cultural fit for the Philadelphia region, whereas Nick Foles could do no wrong, on or off the field.
I covered Cam Newton as a Panthers beat writer for years. “If Cam Newton did this…” became a common refrain among Panthers fans when another NFL quarterback did something that drew less attention. This comparison blew up after Newton’s Super Bowl 50 press conference where, yes, his attitude was poor and the optics were bad, but he didn’t commit a crime. I mostly didn’t engage with it because the double standard was obvious. I understood he was treated differently because he played the position like a proud, young, rich, Black man from Atlanta, and comparing everything back to Newton seemed unnecessary.
But ask yourself, what if Newton engaged in the same behavior Wentz has? What if Newton, with his injury history, had never won a playoff game, had gotten a nine-figure extension despite those facts, had reports that he wasn’t a good teammate, admitted he fell short as a teammate, played so poorly in 2020 he was worthy of a benching and then allowed reports of his discontent to linger as he refused to address it at the end of the season?
What if Newton engaged in the same “behavior?” He’d probably get ripped, the same way Carson Wentz is getting ripped now.
The author seems to think that Wentz is escaping criticism, which couldn’t be further from the truth. There are scores of Eagles fans out there who hate the Carson’s guts, and have hated him since the Eagles decided to move forward with him instead of Nick Foles. They’ve hated his on-field performances, hated the clothing he wears at postgame press conferences, and still make comments about the guy’s acne and other personal, nonsensical things.
Instead of getting roasted, Wentz is having people bend over backwards trying to figure out how he can get out of his contract and get on another team. It’s baffling. Maybe he’s worth it, but 2017 was a long time ago, too. Todd Gurley won Offensive Player of the Year the same season Wentz was nearly the MVP.
Again, this is misleading. Wentz IS getting roasted. He’s getting KILLED by NFL fans and media. And the same people that are tweeting out trade scenarios are going to do the same for Deshaun Watson, who reportedly wants out of Houston. Each individual scenario for each individual player is going to be unique in its own way. You can’t just say “what if blah blah blah” and paint with broad strokes.
Maybe Carson Wentz enjoyed some privilege as a white guy growing up in a mostly white area, and playing college at a mostly white school. That could absolutely be true. But in this case, there’s no racial component to the Wentz/Eagles story. The guy had a horrible year and is getting absolutely crushed for his on-field performance and the off-field perception that he’s a selfish dude.
The entire premise of this column is flawed.