What If Myron Rolle Were a White Quarterback?

Jonny SAnalyst IJanuary 13, 2009

I have NEVER been one to use the "race card" as a reason for somebody's lack of success because, quite honestly, I think it is overused as an excuse for many minorities to fail.

Sure, racism and sexism exist everywhere—there is no denying that. However, as a nation, we have moved very quickly from the 1960s, and even 1970s, when even drinking out of the same water fountain for whites and blacks was unacceptable.

Heck, we even have a black president who will be inaugurated in the coming weeks. Things have changed, things are significantly better, and hopefully they will continue to get better. Yet, I find the Myron Rolle situation very annoying and very much related to him being of  Bahamian decent, rather than your All-American white quarterback.

We all know that Tim Tebow is an extraordinary college football player and a wonderful person off the field. We all know the selfless acts he has committed and continues to do. Honestly, how could we not know anything or everything about the kid? He is everywhere. He is a bird, he is a plane, he is Superman.

Announcers and media outlets alike have pampered Tebow with nothing but love and admiration, and rightfully so. He deserves it, right? Sure, he does. Yet, I am one who does get annoyed with Tebow's unfair coverage.

And quite frankly, by the way the game was called, I wasn't sure if Florida won that last BCS Championship, or if Tebow played all 22 positions on the field and won it by himself.

This isn't really the thing that annoys me the most, though. What really irritates me, and what should irritate others, is the fact that magnificent young men like Myron Rolle of Florida State get overlooked.

Sure, he doesn't play quarterback. And, sure, his team didn't win the title game. But honestly, if those are the things that impress people the most and set Tebow apart, our society is even more messed up than I previously thought.

For those who don't know much about Mr. Rolle, here is some information about him that will make your jaw drop.

Rolle was raised in New Jersey and attended high school at The Hun School of Princeton. He had a 4.0 GPA during his high school years and was also named to the All-American Team. 

ESPN ranked him the 12th-best player in the nation his senior year and the top athlete overall in 2006.  Rolle then chose to attend Florida State University in Tallahassee, where he would play for the legend known as Bobby Bowden.

Since Rolle began at FSU in 2006, he has maintained a 3.75 GPA or higher while also starting for the Seminoles' football team as a safety.

Rolle graduated from Florida State in two-and-a-half years! He majored in Exercise Sciences, with a concentration in Pre-Med. Not only has he achieved this remarkable feat, he is also just months away from obtaining his Masters Degree in Public Administration!

If that weren't enough, he is also a member in a fraternity on campus. After school and on weekends, Rolle volunteers and has created programs to help poor youth.

He has represented himself and FSU admirably throughout his three years and has never been in trouble or gotten himself mixed up with the wrong crowd.

And finally...Mr. Rolle was named a Rhodes Scholar winner in 2008. This is the most prestigious academic award any college student can earn. He interviewed and won the award and received a scholarship to arguably the best school in the world, Oxford University.

Today, Jan. 12, Rolle officially announced that he will skip his senior season of football at Florida State. Most college football players projected to be picked between the second and fifth rounds of the NFL Draft would be leaving school early to turn pro and to make ridiculous cash.

Rolle isn't like other athletes. He isn't like other people. Rolle has decided to accept his scholarship to Oxford University. He will turn down the big money and the big fame so he can go to Oxford and study his true passion—medicine.

How many people have ever done this? How many people would have the guts to do this? Myron hopes to one day become a neurosurgeon and open free health care centers on Exuma Island. You hardly ever find "free" and "athletes" in the same sentence. Like I said, Rolle is not a typical athlete.

This kid is a flat-out genius. He has worked so hard that even Coach Bowden has been quoted as saying that he thinks Rolle's academics and study habits have gotten in the way of his football potential.

Now, my guess is most of you have never heard half of the things I mentioned above. Some of you may have hardly even heard of Myron Rolle.

Now, my question is this: If he were a white quarterback, or even a white safety, would he have gotten more attention? Would the headlines today on ESPN read "FSU safety Myron Rolle leaving for Oxford, not NFL," instead of "Damage to leased car lands Burress in court?"

My personal opinion is, yes.

While Rolle made this huge and exciting announcement today, nowhere on the ESPN website does it mention Rolle's name or decision. Instead, they mention how Tebow had minor surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. Thank God ESPN televised a blurb on Rolle on SportsCenter today; the Worldwide Leader did a 20-second segment on "Who is Myron Rolle."

Thanks for the pub, guys.

As I said, talented non-white athletes seem to be a dime a dozen to people nowadays. White America has been hungry and thirsty for this All-American white athlete who can dominate the game and still act humble and unfazed.

White America has pushed Tebow's story and success so much that guys like Myron Rolle end up as a blurb in today's sports news, even though their accomplishments equal, if not exceed, those of Tebow.

I guarantee if Tim Tebow announced today that he was going to skip the NFL for a year to pursue his career as a volunteer and mentor to kids in the Philippines, not only would it be all over ESPN, it would be all over every TV station and website. Tebow is already called one of the best athletes out there, so who can even imagine what would be said of him if he did what Rolle is doing?

Look, it is in no way, shape, or form Tebow's fault that he gets this attention, but it is also no coincidence. Tebow is everything white America has dreamt about since Larry Bird.

I know many of you out there, sports junkies especially, will suggest that you have heard plenty about Rolle and what he has accomplished. Respectfully, I disagree completely.

But hear me out.

If Rolle is viewed as such an incredible person and student-athlete, then explain this to me: Myron Rolle was recently named to the AP Third All-Academic Team. I repeat, Third Team!

He obtained both his undergraduate and masters degrees in three years while also playing highly competitive football. He won the Rhodes Scholar Award and a scholarship to Oxford for his chance to study medicine, and still the kid gets named to the THIRD TEAM.

Are you kidding me?

What bothers me most is the fact that people, especially fans of other teams, are criticizing Rolle for being a flop in football. Why, because he isn't going to be a first-round draft pick? Because he will be a late-second to late-fifth round pick? Because he didn't quite get enough interceptions or tackles for a loss to meet your standards?

My bad—I mean Rolle's bad: He actually went to college for the right reasons.

It's Rolle's bad that he cared about his academics so much that it affected his athletic performance. (It is usually the other way around!) Rolle's bad that he has spent many nights and weekends studying how cancer cells attack the body instead of how the Gators' offense attacks opposing defenses.

Because, as we all know, the Gators' offense is much more important and deadly than cancer.

All I know for sure is that Myron Rolle is a unique student, unique athlete, and, of course, a unique human being. He wants to better mankind and to help cure the diseased. He knows that in one year, after Oxford, the NFL scouts may not have interest anymore. Rolle doesn't care. He just wants to make a difference.

So I will ask you again. If Rolle were white and a quarterback, would he get more love and attention? Or is it that he doesn't say, "God bless" enough to thrill the media?

Just remember this: While all of these announcers praise Tim Tebow for being the best competitor ever and a tremendous human being (I am not saying he doesn't deserve it), there is an equally or even more deserving athlete and person just a few hours north who isn't getting half of the respect he deserves.

I just hope that one day when Dr. Rolle discovers a treatment for cancer he actually gets the credit he deserves, because those very same critics, vocal or silent, may indeed be the same people asking him to save their lives.

***I welcome all comments, but if anyone comments in a crude or ignorant manner I will gladly ignore you. Even you if you disagree with me I would love to do it, but please keep trash out of these comments. Thanks!***


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