The first thought that doubtlessly filled the minds of many of these players was the Donovan McNabb incident and the appalling and disgusting ignorance mixed with racist contempt that Rush Limbaugh displayed during the brief period when he served as an NFL television "analyst." The incident prompted Limbaugh to be immediately dropped.
I received my first impression of Donovan McNabb during a foray he made with his Syracuse University teammates into South Florida to face a Miami team that was blessed with overall superior talent.
I was astounded by McNabb's impressive ability to read blitzes and scramble for yards when virtually anyone else under those circumstances would face large losses, in football parlance being "sacked."
Despite Miami having considerable more football talent that day than the outmanned visitors from Syracuse, McNabb's abilities to scramble out of the pocket and gain significant yardage through passing and running kept his team in a game for a large spell that would otherwise have been a lost cause from the outset.
I recall wishing that I could be lucky enough to be McNabb's agent and help negotiate the kind of contract he deserved from the NFL.
Time marched on and soon McNabb was performing on Sunday in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles. He provided Philadelphia with the shot it needed to become a playoff team in contention for championship honors. He put that same elusive talent on display, driving defensive coordinators mad with his ability to improvise, to scramble for big yardage in situations where he would otherwise be in the opposition's grasp.
So what did Rush Limbaugh do after putting on an additional hat and undertaking NFL television analysis? Limbaugh made the outrageous comment to the effect that reverse discrimination was alive and well in the National Football League as exemplified by Donovan McNabb.
Limbaugh, who demonstrated the same kind of expertise he dispensed on the American political scene, tossed out a huge dose of racism in proclaiming that McNabb did not have the ability to play quarterback in the NFL. The fact that he was doing so meant that he had benefited from reverse discrimination, meaning racial preference, by performing in the league.