I got a kick out of Hog Haven’s piece on Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford’s interview with Kevin Sheehan on ESPN 980 yesterday. Specifically this part:
Kevin Sheehan: You are of Native American descent, correct?
Sam Bradford: Correct.
Kevin Sheehan: So, out of curiosity, do you have any sort of feelings about the Redskins name?
Sam Bradford: "You know, obviously in Oklahoma there's a large Native American population. There are a lot of opinions on that name....but...I really don't feel like, you know, I need to be, you know, voicing my opinion. You know. If it's something I have to do down the line, you know, then I will, but I just don't feel like I need to address that issue right now."
My first reaction? That Mr. Bradford may not have really, you know, helped himself much. Because like, while he did dodge the question and all—which could mean he feels the blind-side pass rush and moves well in the pocket—it could also mean he’s, you know, like, not all that bright.
Not trying to directly equate the Midwest's answer to Valley Boyishness with intellectual capacity, by the way. I'm just sayin'. I remember a Redskins beat reporter describing the pool conference call with former QB Heath Shuler on the day after the Redskins drafted him in '94, recalling how he had hung up the phone when the call was over, turned to a colleague and said, “My God, they just drafted Gomer Pyle.”
I snickered at the reporter’s cynicism at the time. A year or two later it had became clear to just about everyone that while Shuler was a very nice guy, he wasn't exactly Albert Einstein–or even Peyton Manning–when it came to the gray matter aspects of NFL quarterbacking.
In all fairness, while Shuler was clearly not possessed of professional football level quarterbacking smarts, he has shown he is quite capable of being elected to Congress.
I don't care what they say. This a great country.
Says here Bradford wasn’t about to take a position either way. He was simply avoiding controversy. The Redskins’ nickname has been a polarizing issue for a long time, one with well-articulated arguments on either side, passionately defended by firmly entrenched advocates not about to budge.
Like they would for any good politician on the campaign trail, Sam Bradford's handlers have prepared him to tapdance around anything even remotely controversial. They want conversations involving Bradford for the next three months leading up to Draft Day to be about his health, arm strength, football smarts, leadership and Heisman Trophy, not his stance on political or social hot-button issues.
They'll take their chances with the small cadre of critics who will inevitably try to equate his political two-step with lack of character or conviction.
Now if you have to find fault in Bradford's non-answer, accuse him of waffling. It indicates a potentially troubling lack of judgment, because as any redblooded American knows, the waffle is a poseur and far distant second (French Toast advocates would say third) to the REAL syrup-soaked breakfast standard—the pancake.
By the way ... when you were 22 years old, would you have been prepared to stand in front of a microphone with tens of millions of dollars and possibly your career literally hanging in the balance, and ad lib an articulate, cogent, politically correct answer to an out-of-context question about a controversial social issue?
Have to admit I also got a bit of a kick out of the responses to Bradford's answer among many Redskins fans. The default reaction of most seemed to be that Bradford's evasive non-answer meant he must be against the Redskins nickname.
Which is certainly possible.
Of course it could also have meant that Bradford thinks the question is merde in a blender, can't believe thinking people in 21st-Century America still waste brain cells agitating about silly sports team mascot nicknames, and didn't want to piss off anybody who might one day offer him a commercial endorsement or worse, show up at the family reunion.
Or maybe he's just Gomer Pyle without the drawl.
Guess we'll, you know, find out soon enough.