Syracuse-Maryland, Race, and Quarterbacks
The Confidential is not a source for book reviews or history lessons. And we are not about to get preachy. But there was an interesting story in Deadspin about the history of a Syracuse-Maryland game in 1937. See article: Deadspin.
The 20-word summary: In 1937, Syracuse had to bench its quarterback, Wilmeth Sidat-Singh, on a road trip to Maryland because he was not from India (as claimed), but an African-American. This did not sit well with segregationists. With Syracuse traveling to Maryland this Saturday, it is interesting to read how much times have changed. Now, before casting a stone at Maryland, just remember that the NFL was not desegregated yet at that point either. Times have changed in more places than just Maryland. Society has come a long way.
And while one does not ordinarily think of Syracuse University as a racial trailblazer, it does bear mention that there were few African-American quarterbacks even as late as the Donovan McNabb era. For every Warren Moon or Tony Rice, there were numerous other kids forced into different positions based solely on race. Guys like Don McPherson, Marvin Graves, and Donovan McNabb were given the chance to fulfill their dreams of playing quarterback by Syracuse. Under their leadership, Syracuse football was a consistent bowl team from 1987 to 1998. And it was part of a change for college football.
In fact, just look at the ACC Standings:
|North Carolina State||0-5||3-5|
There are seven teams with conference records at .500 or better. Want to know what they all have in common? They all have African-American starting quarterbacks: Florida State (Jameis Winston), Clemson (Tajh Boyd), Virginia Tech (Logan Thomas), Miami (Stephen Morris), Georgia Tech (Vad Lee), Duke (Anthony Boone), and Terrel Hunt (Syracuse). Needless to say, things have changed considerably between 1999 and 2013, much less 1937 and 2013.
The economy may have been better in the 1950s. The world might have been more sociable and interactive, and less Facebooky and Twittery, in the 1980s. But some things are better today. While we often lament the days of yore–remember, we have made a lot of progress as a society just to get to a point where teams will finally play the QB that gives them the best chance of winning, without regard to the color of his skin.