Lamar Jackson Dec 25, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) during timeout against the San Francisco 49ers in the third quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn’t matter what the intention of the comment was; it matters that it was said.

There has been an unacceptable discourse in sports media regarding Black quarterbacks and how they are spoken about for far too long. For many years, the majority of NFL quarterbacks have been white. This means that when people think of the ideal quarterback prospect, they often imagine someone who looks like Peyton Manning rather than someone like Lamar Jackson. Unfortunately, when analysts fail to recognize this bias, they sometimes make unfair or inaccurate comments, as demonstrated below.

Monse Bolaños of Fox Sports Radio doesn’t believe Jackson is the league’s MVP this year. She prefaced it by saying that her following comments sound like she doesn’t like Lamar Jackson, and that’s not what it is at all. That’s all well and fine, but her comments suggest that it’s surprising to see a top-5 player in the league perform at an MVP-caliber level without some of his primary targets.

“I think Lamar Jackson has come out, and he’s become a better quarterback this year,” said Bolaños. “He is doing better than I thought throwing the ball and being the quarterback, especially after losing his favorite target (All-Pro tight end) Mark Andrews. And I see it; I see it. But to me, the MVP is somebody who has been kicking [butt] and taking names week after week. He had a great game against the 49ers. The defense — exquisite against the 49ers. But he’s also had four games without a touchdown pass — four. Then he’s had other games when he’s had one touchdown…In the words of Colin Cowherd, ‘Stars attract stars.’ No, I’m just kidding…

“I want my quarterbacks to be quarterbacky.”

Wait, what? What does that even mean?

Saying that Jackson is not “quarterbacky” can perpetuate harmful stereotypes about Black quarterbacks, who are often lauded for their athleticism and running ability while their passing skills are questioned. This reinforces the narrative that Black quarterbacks are not “true” quarterbacks unless they conform to a traditional pocket-passing style associated with white quarterbacks.

And, likely, Bolaños wasn’t trying to perpetuate any stereotypes about Black quarterbacks, or Jackson, in particular. Still, the Baltimore Ravens signal-caller is more than just a great athlete, and it’s a disservice to label him as such.

“To me, Lamar Jackson’s just a great athlete, and he had a great game against the 49ers,” she said. “Prisoners of the moment, he is NOT the MVP. Christian McCaffrey IS the MVP. And he has been; I’ve been saying this for weeks. It’s not like I just decided after this game. That’s what happened with Lamar. After this game, he jumped up. But wasn’t in the conversation. He was like an afterthought. It was always like Tua [Tagovailoa] and Dak [Prescott]. No, it’s Christian McCaffrey.

“If it’s not Christian, it’s Tyreek Hill. Those are the two that have stood out every week, every week. Not Lamar Jackson. It’s not that I don’t like Lamar. It’s not that he isn’t doing a good job. He is doing a good job, but he’s not the MVP. I’m sorry to say it.”

And if that wasn’t bad enough, Bolaños offered a double-down on her remarks, that probably didn’t come across how she thought it woud.

The NFL media landscape needs to be more aware of how casual biases can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and hold itself accountable for promoting accurate narratives about players like Lamar Jackson and all athletes. While her intentions may be innocent, the “quarterbacky” comment contributes to a narrative that undervalues Black quarterbacks like Jackson’s unique skillsets and contributions.

[Fox Sports Radio]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.