This is something that's been weighing on my mind for a while. I've alluded to it in some other posts, but I've always been hesitant to start an actual thread on it because it's a sensitive subject and I wasn't sure the board could discuss it in a mature, responsible manner. I didn't want to be seen as a race-baiting troll, in other words. That said, I think it needs to be discussed and, this being the dead part of the offseason, it's as good a time as any:
We are the only major program to have at least 3 Heisman trophy winners and not have one that is African American. Further, not only are our 3 winners all white, they are also all the sons of ministers; two of which were particularly outspoken about their Christian faith.
This is a problem, in my opinion. Especially when you consider the high rate at which African American players impact the modern game. It just doesn't make sense.
We've been treated to outstanding play by some special African American players over the years - Wes Chandler, Emmitt Smith, Percy Harvin all come to mind - yet none of them could get a Heisman push here. Why?
With 2 of our winners, Wuerffel and Tebow, I don't believe they were even the most important players on the offense. Fred Taylor, Ike Hilliard, Reidel Anthony were all much more talented and impactful than the weak-armed Wuerffel. Any QB could have had success surrounded by that cast. Tebow got the push and hype from 06-09, but Harvin was clearly the best player on that offense. Notice Tebow didn't win anything without Harvin. Percy was electric and might be my favorite Gator of all time, yet the UAA largely ignored him.
Even with the 2001 team, when Grossman was given a strong campaign, I always felt Jabar and Reche made that offense work. Grossman was awful the following year without them. And it's not like he didn't have anything to work with - he still had Jacobs running routes for him, if I recall. Yet, Jabar and Reche were second-fiddle in the marketing of that team.
Leak actually won the national title here, unlike Grossman, yet got booed off the field and received no push whatsoever.
I also can't help but think about that whole Cam Newton vs. John Brantley situation. Look who won out and the effect it had on our program.
Most recently, Callaway has clearly been the best playmaker on the team, yet he wasn't even made available to the press until like November of this past year. I'd watched him score all kinds of touchdowns for a year and a half before I was even able to hear the kid's voice for the first time.
For some reason, the only way you're allowed to be made the face of our football program and given a national advertising campaign is if you're Caucasian, pray after touchdowns, and never get in any trouble. Notice that Gaffney, Harvin, and even now Callaway all had incidents in their past. It's like the UAA won't do business with you from a marketing perspective if you don't perfectly align with its fake, highly contrived, ridiculous facade. I believe this does affect recruiting in a roundabout way. Recruits and their handlers aren't blind as to whose brands get pushed at a given program. FSU has 3 Heisman winners, too....one was a really well-rounded African American young man who wound up not even playing professional football (went to NBA instead), one was an older, white guy, and another was an ultra-talented, future #1 draft pick with more of a larger-than-life, lightning rod personality. Peter Warrick was also given a huge push despite his troubles. In other words, they've demonstrated the ability to market all types of athletes. Why can't we?
It has to change. Our leadership needs to stop assuming that the only head coaches who can succeed here are folksy types who produce a good soundbyte for the press (Meyer already blew that notion out of the water) and the only star players the fans will embrace are white, evangelical Christians. Let's embrace diversity and backgrounds of all types, and become a stronger program for it.