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Russell Wilson Clarifies ‘Opened Doors’ for Black QBs Comments



Pittsburgh Steelers FA QB Target Russell Wilson

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson must of caught wind of Shannon Sharpe blasting him, as he clarified his “opened doors” for Black quarterback comments that he made in an recent exclusive interview with with Essence.

“Let’s start building each other up!!! The Evolution of Black QBs in the @NFL has been one of the coolest experiences in my life to be a part of. Full context is always important! Grateful for those before me.
Those with me. And those after. God is Good!” Wilson wrote on X, along with highlighting comments from his interview where he acknowledged current and past Black quarterbacks.

Wilson was the second Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl, following Doug Williams who was the first in 1987. Williams was also named Super Bowl MVP for leading Washington to a 42-10 win over Denver in Super Bowl XXII.

“For me to be able to go to back-to-back Super Bowls, and win one of them, I think opened up a lot of doors,” Wilson said in his interview with Essence. “Now you see guys like Patrick Mahomes who won it; it’s really just us so far, but there’s more to come. The emergence of quarterbacks like Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson and C.J. Stroud, to name a few, is indicative of a new era in football and a glimpse into what the sport is trending toward.”

For decades, there have been negative and unfair stereotypes surrounding Black quarterbacks. Often praised for their athleticism and criticized for not grasping the technicalities of the position as a pure passer. People calling two-time League MVP Lamar Jackson a glorified running back is a prime example.

Of the 32 quarterbacks who started in Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season, a record 14 were Black. That number is up from 11 in 2022, and it doubles the seven from 2002. Super Bowl LVII was the first Super Bowl to feature two starting Black quarterbacks — Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts.

“What I love to see is guys getting drafted early, and that a lot of teams these days have Black quarterbacks playing for them,” Wilson continued. “It’s all across the league, and it’s showing how the National Football League is starting to evolve, change and break down barriers. I think one of the biggest blessings of my career so far is that I’ve been fortunate to be able to open up doors for others, because of what others did for me.

“I think about those guys before me, but when I came into the league, there were only a few of us. It was Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, myself and a couple others.”

Sharpe took issue with Wilson acting like he was the only trailblazer for Black quarterbacks.

“So what role did Doug Williams play? The first African-American quarterback to actually get to and win the Super Bowl and win MVP,” Sharpe said on the Nightcap Podcast with former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson. “So what about Shack Harris? What about Joe Gilliam? So what did Marlin Briscoe do? Jack Harry? Steve McNair? They opened no doors? Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick? It was you?”

Johnson thinks Wilson was solely referring to the modern day era of Black quarterbacks.

“I think moreso for Wilson’s sake, he was speaking on behalf of the modern day era,” Johnson told Sharpe. “Younger kids, younger generation. A generation that probably won’t know about Doug Williams, the Steve McNairs, the other quarterbacks you named that were Black that you’ve named. The kids in today’s era might not recognize or know about them. So I think, in a sense, Russell Wilson was speaking on behalf of his era and the era of younger generation kids that are playing now.”

To his credit, Wilson did state that “I’ve been fortunate to be able to open up doors for others, because of what others did for me.” I guess the way Wilson came off in the interview rubbed Sharpe the wrong way, however. That should all be water under the bridge now with Wilson clarifying his comments.