The Washington Post

ESPN ‘Outside the Lines’ on RGIII and post-racial stars

ESPN’s most prominent attempt to grapple with Robert Griffin III and racial matters this season didn’t really turn out so well. But the network is taking another swing at the apple, another bite of the pinata, with an “Outside the Lines” segment on Sunday morning called “Dream Quarterback.”

“Two years before Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in Washington, D.C., the Redskins became the last NFL team to integrate,” begins the press release. “Twenty-five years later, the Redskins made a different kind of history, when Doug Williams became the first, and only, black quarterback to win a Super Bowl. Today, even as he faces rehab from reconstructive knee surgery, Robert Griffin III is seen by some as the first ‘post-racial’ superstar, known more for his leadership, skills and ability than his race.”

Now, some of this is a bit opaque to me. I mean, Kobe Bryant is likely known more for his leadership, skills and ability than his race. So is Sidney Crosby. So is Adrian Peterson.

But quarterback, I suppose, is a special case, which is why The Post, Comcast SportsNet and others have already tackled this topic, with The Post headline asking whether RGIII is a post-race superstar. ESPN even used some of the same sources — like CSN, they talked to John Thompson, and like The Post, they talked to Michael Wilbon.

“Robert carries a burden of every kid in this city regardless of color,” Thompson told the program. “But he carries a special burden — whether he or anyone else wants to admit it — for black kids.”

“There’s no post-racial anything; it’s crap,” Wilbon told the program. “There’s no I don’t see color. There’s no color blind. There isn’t. Stevie Wonder doesn’t see color. Everybody else sees it.”

You can watch the preview here. The program will air Sunday at 10 a.m. on ESPN2.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.



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