Former NFL defensive end Dexter Manley caused quite a bit of controversy this past weekend, joking that black quarterbacks like running the football “because they’re probably used to running from the law.”
Manley, 56, is African American, but his words did not sit well with a lot of people, including Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon.
“I knew Dexter was probably trying to be funny with that, but it wasn’t good timing and it wasn’t a good joke to say, especially about quarterbacks running from the law,” Moon said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Come on. It just wasn’t in good taste. I’m sure he regrets saying that. Hopefully he does regret saying that. But you just don’t want people, especially of your own race, making those types of jokes about players after we’ve done so much and come so far at that position.”
Manley, it is worth noting, apologized for his comment almost immediately after he said it.
Still, Manley’s words stung Moon, the first African American quarterback elected to the Hall of Fame. Moon, 59, was a nine-time Pro Bowler and twice led the league in passing yards.
“I know I wasn’t dealt with fairly along the way as I tried to make that trail as a quarterback, but I wasn’t going to dwell on it,” Moon soon. “I wasn’t going to look back and feel sorry for myself or any of that. I was just going to keep trudging forward and trying to keep working, and if I got the opportunities, I would take advantage of those opportunities. That’s kind of the way my career went. If I would have felt sorry for myself or if I would have gave in and played another position – because that’s what they wanted me to do – who knows where my career would have went? So I’m glad I stuck to it. I’m glad I had the confidence and the cockiness and the arrogance to keep doing it. I’m glad I got the opportunities that I got because I made the most of them going forward. And I’m proud to say excuse of my play, because of Randall Cunningham’s play, because of Doug Williams’ play, I think that’s what opened the door for that next group of African American quarterbacks to really get a lot of opportunities.”
It’s hard to argue with that.
“When Russell Wilson went to the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, no one even talked about him being an African American,” said Moon, now a Seahawks radio analyst. “So that’s what we were striving for all that time – to just be included as a quarterback. I think we’re at that point now, and I’m really proud of the fact that I played a small role in that.”