Writer plays race card when it comes to Donovan McNabb’s benching

Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb outruns the St. Louis Rams defense for a 26-yard gain in the second half at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on September 26, 2010.  UPI/BIll Greenblatt Photo via Newscom

Author John Feinstein says race is factoring into how Mike Shanahan is handling Donovan McNabb in Washington.

After he benched McNabb for Rex Grossman at the conclusion of the Redskins’ game in Detroit two weeks ago, Shanahan said that McNabb wasn’t physically fit enough to run the two-minute offense because of a hamstring injury. Later it was reported that the Redskins have had to cut the playbook in half because McNabb is having a hard time picking everything up.

That prompted Feinstein to play the race card when he appeared on a local Comcast Sports talk show in Washington recently.

From FOX Philadelphia:

“The situation with Shanahan and McNabb has gotten completely out of control. Shanahan simply won’t say ‘I made a mistake. I got mad at Donovan, I put Rex Grossman in the game and it was a mistake.’ Instead, the first spin is that he doesn’t know the terminology of the two-minute offense, i.e. he’s stupid. The next day, it’s, well, his cardiovascular, he’s out of shape, i.e. he’s fat. Now, he’s leaking to Chris Mortensen — who is culpable in this, too, because I guarantee he didn’t call Donovan McNabb for a response — that we had to cut the playbook in half because of McNabb.”

“I think there’s racial coding going on here, and it’s my belief that that kind of behavior is worth firing a coach for. Dan Snyder’s not gonna do it, but I think it’s out of control.”

I’ve got one, big, fat trump card for Feinstein and his name is JaMarcus Russell.

While the Redskins didn’t sign the mammoth bust, Shanahan did bring Russell in for a workout two days after the Lions game. If Shanahan doesn’t want to work with black quarterbacks, then why bring in Russell? If Shanahan feels as though he has to cut his playbook in half for black quarterbacks, then again…why bring in Russell? It doesn’t make sense.

I think what happened here is that Shanahan got caught overthinking. Grossman had been running the two-minute drill in practice because McNabb had been nursing a hamstring injury, so Shanahan thought he could sneak one past the goalie by bringing in Grossman. Plus, it’s not like McNabb had been sharp up until that point, so Shanahan took a gamble.

Obviously that gamble didn’t pay off, but to accuse the man of racial coding is a bit extreme. This appears to be a classic example of the media looking too much into a situation instead of keeping the matter on the surface. McNabb wasn’t benched because he’s black. He was benched because Shanahan thought he was smarter than everyone and it backfired.

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