On Sunday afternoon, after a frustrating Houston Texans loss to the Tennessee Titans, school superintendent Lynn Redden laid bare his racism in the comments of the Houston Chronicle’s Facebook page.
“That may have been the most inept quarterback decision I’ve seen in the NFL,” Redden said, referring to the play of Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. “When you need precision decision making you can’t count on a black quarterback.”
According to the Chronicle, Redden “deleted the comment after he realized it was a public post.” Oops!
As racists often do, he then defended his racism with more racism.
“Over the history of the NFL, [black quarterbacks] have had limited success,” Redden told Chron.com, in defense of his comments. It’s a common trope, but one that’s rooted in racism, not statistics.
A quick primer for the benefit of all the other Reddens out there who insist on sharing their loud and wrong opinions on the internet: black quarterbacks do not have the same kinds of statistical successes as their white peers because black athletes were systemically steered away from the quarterback position until very, very recently. Marlin Briscoe, who made history in 1968 as the first black quarterback to start a game in the NFL, was forced to change his position to wide receiver to extend his career. Fifty years later, football commentators are still making the same argument about a black quarterback, this time in reference to Baltimore Ravens rookie Lamar Jackson, who oh by the way won the Heisman Trophy.
But logic never seems to carry much weight with racists. If it did, Redden might be swayed by the Texans’ recent history: since the start of the 2014 season, the team has started nine quarterbacks. Eight of them have been white. Does Redden think they were exemplars in the decision making department? Does he miss the brilliant mind and accuracy of Brandon Weeden? What about Ryan Mallett, Case Keenum, Bryan Hoyer, T.J. Yates, Brock Osweiler, or Tom Savage?
Watson has the potential to be the best quarterback in Texans history. He was well on his way to a record-breaking rookie season in 2017 before tearing his ACL. He’s still working on regaining his form, but any fan longing for Tom Savage to save the day is nothing short of delusional.
Redden is (for now) the superintendent of the Onalaska Independent School District in Texas. Onalaska is an incredibly small city, with only 1,174 people as of the 2000 census. According to the same census, 91.23 percent of its residents are white, and only 6.56 percent are black. In the 2016-17 school year, less than one percent of the students in grades 7-12 in Onalaska were African American.
He told the Chronicle that he hopes none of his students read his racist comment about Watson — a comment that, I remind you, he made on a public Facebook page, and then tried to justify…with statistics!
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) September 19, 2018
Bill O’Brien, the head coach of the Texans, addressed the comments at the start of his press conference on Wednesday, calling them “outdated, innacurate, ignorant, [and] idiotic.”
“I’ll just let DeShaun’s proven success on the field, and his character off the field, speak for itself,” O’Brien said. “He’s one of the greatest guys I’ve ever coached, he represents everything that’s right about football, about life.”