Justin Fields is undoubtedly a top prospect, but has seen his draft stock slip as of late. Is this purely because of his football abilities, or could it run deeper?
In the eyes of ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, there is clear racial bias in play in the case of Justin Fields. He took to Twitter yesterday, claiming that “What’s happening to Justin Fields is some straight B.S.”
In the tweet was a clip of “Stephen A’s World” where the analyst emotionally criticizes the situation. According to Stephen A, Fields has “done everything you could ask of quarterback” and yet slipped from the #2 QB in the draft to #5.
He also pointed out that this slide in Fields’ attractiveness took place suddenly and suspiciously close to draft, and that ranking the Ohio State QB below Mac Jones, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance is simply ridiculous.
“Now why is that?”, Stephen A sarcastically asks, clearly hinting that there has been a pattern of NFL scouts depreciating black quarterbacks in the past.
What’s happening to Justin Fields is some straight B.S. pic.twitter.com/qgUvbwxsIB
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) April 9, 2021
Stephen A: “Folks find ways to depreciate black QBs’ value, rather than embracing it”
Of course, Stephen A was not simply talking about Justin Fields but rather about the problem as a whole. He cited examples such as Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson, who both fell significantly on draft night.
Moreover, he mentioned Warren Moon, a Hall of Fame Quarterback who went undrafted in a 12 round draft and was left with no option except to play in Canada for a year.
While he may be making a valid point, there certainly are examples of black quarterbacks who were drafted early first round regardless. For instance, Mike Vick, Jameis Winston, and Cam Newton were all first overall picks.
Smith apologized for bringing it up, but argued that white quarterbacks who have had character issues, for instance Baker Mayfield and Mac Jones (who has a DUI) have not been negatively affected by it.
“Imagine if any of this applied to Justin Fields. Sadly, we don’t have to imagine. He’s being treated like that anyways,” a disappointed Stephen A said.
“You know what they say: the more things change, the more they appear to stay the same.”