Bomani Jones says NFL teams take skin color into account when picking backup QBs


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Bomani Jones said on his podcast this week that if an NFL team has a Black starting quarterback, it will also likely have a Black backup, or a “blackup.”

The former ESPN host said teams do so to avoid receiving backlash and calls for a White backup to replace a Black starter.

Jones made the comment when speaking with Mina Kimes and pointed out that the Cleveland Browns, instead of retaining Joe Flacco, brought in Jameis Winston to be Deshaun Watson’s backup.


Tyler Huntley (2) of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with Lamar Jackson (8) after throwing a touchdown pass against the Seattle Seahawks at M&T Bank Stadium Nov. 5, 2023, in Baltimore.  (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

“The Browns continued what they’ve been doing, which is signing every Black backup quarterback they can find,” Jones said. “The new blackup is Jameis Winston because you gotta put him behind Deshaun Watson’s nasty a– to stop the fans from asking for something else. They couldn’t bring Joe Flacco back behind him because he will wind up being some form of mutiny.”

Jones all but guaranteed who the second overall pick of the NFL Draft will be.

“You will notice the New England Patriots. I’m surprised they did this. They went and signed Jacoby Brissett. That’s letting you know Jayden Daniels is coming to town,” Jones said. “If I were Jerod Mayo, I probably would have tried to space this out a little bit. 

“I don’t know what White man is going to take responsibility for this, but they’re asking for Boston to get behind the first Black quarterback that they’ve ever wanted to have.”

Jacoby Brissett

New England Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett scrambles in the fourth quarter of a preseason game against the Chicago Bears at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Aug. 18, 2016.  (Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Jones then said the Las Vegas Raiders, in desperate need of a quarterback, may have to pass on Justin Fields because newly-appointed head coach Antonio Pierce “had a hard enough time getting this job.”

“Look at the [Baltimore] Ravens,” Jones added. “Every backup the Ravens have picked up since they got Joe Flacco out of town, it’s a roll call.” Lamar Jackson’s backups the last couple seasons have been Tyler Huntley and Anthony Brown.

Kimes mentioned, though, that Gardner Minshew, who is White, was Anthony Richardson’s backup in Indianapolis for the Colts.

“Colts fans, if you were calling for Minshew over Richardson, then I actually think Colts fans are amongst the few people who understand how bad Minshew was last year because they actually watch all the Colts games,” she said.

Anthony Richardson and Gardner Minshew

Anthony Richardson, left, and Gardner Minshew (10) of the Indianapolis Colts celebrate after beating the Las Vegas Raiders 23-20 at Lucas Oil Stadium Dec. 31, 2023, in Indianapolis.  (Dylan Buell/Getty Images)


By Week 18 of last season, at least eight teams whose primary quarterback was Black had White backups, including the Eagles, Cowboys, Panthers, Texans and Cardinals.


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