December 2019, San Francisco 49ers radio color analyst Tim Ryan was suspended for one game due to his comments on Baltimore Ravens Quarterback Lamar Jackson. After Ryan’s team lost to the Ravens, he spoke on a radio show the next day,

 “He’s really good at that fake, Lamar Jackson, but when you consider his dark skin color with a dark football with a dark uniform, you could not see that thing. I mean, you literally could not see when he was in and out of the mesh point, and if you’re a half step slow on him in terms of your vision, forget about it, he’s out of the gate.”

Brian and JD discuss whether this statement was racist and worthy of suspension or if it was a fair take on athletic performance. Brian believes the remark was unnecessary and racist, while JD gathers points to suggest it was a reasonable observation on athletes and game tactics. 

 

Shapiro questions this statement, asking if Ryan would suggest a pitcher in a white uniform could hide the baseball because he’s white.  JD argues that part of game planning is hiding the ball, but it is based on their outstanding athleticism and not their skin color.

 

“He was trying to make an excuse as to why the lost the game,” – Brian. 

 

Brian and JD open the phone lines for callers to weigh in on whether Tim Ryan’s statement about Jackson was racist, or if there is some truth to it and what he said is just fine. The response of callers varies in opinion; some questioning the meaning of racism, to how they are tired of “you can’t say that” culture, and the value of being open and honest about beliefs. Some suggest that the west coast lifestyle is “a little more phony,” and that people don’t say what they think openly, but say it privately. One caller suggests that we live in a society where words are almost equivalent to physical action.  

 

Brian responds “You can say that, but you have to deal with the repercussions of it.”

 

Brian asks caller, Shawn, an African American man who played football at a very high level, “If you were sitting next to Tim Ryan, what would you say to him?” Sean answers, “That’s ridiculous. You can’t see the football? If you’re looking for the football, you’re already lost.” Shawn goes on to say that in the game, you are trained to look for your team and not at the ball, suggesting Jackson wouldn’t have been deliberately trying to hide the ball. 

 

Brian believes someone should be fired from a job if they say something racist. , There was no reason for him to comment on the color of Jackson’s skin in terms of skill or athleticism, or how it would benefit him in the game. There are no studies that are put in place that say because Lamar Jackson is black he runs the ball better. 

 

“If Lamar Jackson was white, this comment wouldn’t have been made. Tim Ryan could have spoken about fifty or sixty qualities, positive qualities, that Lamar Jackson had. It could have been about his athleticism, could have been about how smart the kid is, how much he pays attention to detail, his arm, his throwing arm. It could have been a number of different things. So what does Tim Ryan decide to do? He decides to talk about the color of Lamar Jackson’s skin.”

 

JD discusses the NFL Stats of top ten rushing quarterbacks; how eight out of ten will be African American. Statistically, an African American quarterback is more likely going to be better at running the ball than a Caucasian quarterback. Brian asks why there are no African Americans that play hockey. Race is irrelevant, it comes down to skillset.

 

Brian ends, stating the reason that not many African Americans are NHL players has nothing to do with skill and has everything to do with the fact that it’s a sport where you need money. Hockey is an elitist sport. 

Rachael Edlow

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