Rise of the Black Quarterback: What It Means for America

Andscape: Hachette. Aug. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781368076623. $26.99. SPORTS
This book by Reid (a senior NFL writer for the ESPN platform Andscape) examines the history of Black players in the NFL, with a particular focus on Black quarterbacks, who have historically been underrepresented in that position but are increasing in number. (Reid has reported extensively on this topic over the past several years, including a 2019 article titled “Welcome to the Year of the Black Quarterback,” part of a season-long series about Black quarterbacks.) His book chronicles the shameful treatment of Black NFL players over the course of the league’s history, but argues that the increasing prominence of Black quarterbacks is forcing the NFL and its fans to confront these issues. Reid discusses the careers of contemporary Black quarterbacks (Colin Kaepernick; Patrick Mahomes; Lamar Jackson; Kyler Murray) as well as those who have recently retired (Michael Vick; Jason Campbell) or who played in the 1980s and ’90s (Warren Moon; Doug Williams, who in 1988 became the first Black quarterback to win MVP in a Super Bowl). The author also looks at Fritz Pollard, who in 1920 became one of the first Black men to play in the NFL; he later became the league’s first Black head coach. Despite his pioneering achievements, Pollard was denied a place in the Hall of Fame until 2005, after his grandson spearheaded a campaign to induct him. Reid’s book includes bibliographical references for further reading.
VERDICT A highly recommended and important study, ideal for sports fans and those wanting another view of Black history in the United States.
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