*On Friday’s edition of ESPN’s “First Take,” Stephen A. Smith responded to Stanford University running back Christian McCaffrey’s statements in Sports Illustrated about being irritated by stereotypes of white athletes. McCaffrey believes his race plays a role in the way he’s perceived as an athlete, and that his athleticism isn’t fully appreciated because he is white.
“When you read about white athletes these days and white skill possession receivers specifically, one word you’ll always find is tough,” McCaffrey told the publication. “You’ll rarely see explosive, athletic, stuff like that. … You get a little bit upset: ‘I ran the same 40 as this guy, and you’re calling him … .’ People do the eye test and underestimate me, so I do play with a chip on my shoulder.”
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Atlantic Black Star notes how last season, McCaffrey “broke legendary Oklahoma State and Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders’ all-purpose rush and receiving yards record of 3,250 yards. McCaffrey surpassed him with an astonishing 3,864 yards.” This achievement did not garner him the coveted Heisman Trophy, and for that reason, he believes he was slighted.
Smith agrees that McCaffrey does not get enough credit. However, the sports journalist and commentator points out that Black people have also felt jilted in many aspects of their professional lives.
“Christian McCaffrey deserves more respect, more recognition than he is receiving. He is a white guy that is not receiving it because of the color of his skin and the position that he plays,” Smith said. “There’s a whole bunch of Black folks that feel exactly the same way about different positions — even in different professions every day we wake up. As Black people — particularly Black men — we find ourselves looking at situations and saying ‘if we were white it would be different.’ ”