Prior to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints game, NFL Network Analyst Rich Eisen, not known for his ability to understand a football playbook enough to hold a coaching clinic, said of the Bucs now former QB “Literally every time the ball is thrown, I hold my breath.”
And that was in the same 2019 game pitting Tampa Bay against the Houston Texans, where Eisen kept mistaking Jameis Winston for Deshaun Watson on air!. He did this repeatedly, six times in the first half of the game, and as if he was trying to send a message that he was saying he could not tell black quarterbacks apart. I am not kidding:
Someone please tell Rich Eisen that Deshaun WATSON plays for the Texans. And Jameis WINSTON plays for the Bucs. pic.twitter.com/pjty1hnqDk
— David Otero (@David__Otero) December 21, 2019
And while Rich Eisen is on record as saying that Winston would return to the team after the 2019 NFL Season, and said “I think [the Bucs] are going to be smart enough to figure it out. Jameis is not wrong when he says to check his numbers,” and then went on to present the impressive list of statistics Winston put up that year as evidence for why Bucs fans should expect him to return, Eisen failed to defend the Heisman Trophy winner when it mattered most.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians, not willing to see the truth that it was his offensive system and not Jameis Winston that was the problem, went hunting after Tom Brady. Arians made a number of statements that were awful then, and completely baseless and cruel in the wake of Brady’s two interception, one-a-pick-six, and in total completely sloppy performance in The Superdome, losing 23 to 34 to the Saints.
Before that Bruce Arians said of Jameis Winston in an interview with Rich Eisen “It didn’t work out for us only because Tom Brady was available.” In other words, Bruce Arians expected Tom Brady to come in and be an automatic upgrade from Winston. Eisen never challenged that idea, but I did, vlogging:
So, during the sturm-und-drum of the Bucs clobbering at the hands of the Saints, when Brady threw an interception to Janoris Jenkins on 2nd and 15 in the third quarter of the game, and returned it for a touchdown, putting the Saints on top by 17 points, you would think that Rich Eisen would at least try and come to Winston’s defense, and tweet something like: “Well, you know, maybe it’s time to ask if it really was Jameis Winston’s fault in 2019?”
Nope. Rather than do that, Rich Eisen elects to keep up the white media (because it does divide along racial lines) habit of making fun of Winston and expecting nothing good from him. Eisen tweets out this:
Jameis standing on the Saints sideline watching that Pick Six thinking, I could’ve done that.
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) September 13, 2020
It was awful, and so much so that the more measured NFL Network anchor Ian Rapport tweeted…
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 13, 2020
And NFL Nework’s reporter Steve Wyche, who broke the Colin Kaepernick story, had this tweet:
— Steve Wyche (@wyche89) September 13, 2020
And yet more to display their displeasure with Eisen’s words:
Here comes a white man to deflect the attention back to a black man when a white man is struggling. Lol, clockwork
— Inglewood Swangin (@still2black) September 13, 2020
In short, and on a day when racism was front and center as something to be stopped, Eisen went and thoughtlessly dipped his foot in the pool of institutionally racist thought, once again. The point is, that action is not an obvious act of racism, but it helps maintain a climate that allows them to come up again and again. You have to stop such actions when they’re small and not wait until they are large.
Maybe Rich will get the message.
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