Jan 21, 2011, 2:29 PM EST
Cleveland was dying for a local sports hero to take their minds off of the LeBron James debacle of 2010, and their cries of despair did not go unheeded as a gigantic lumberjack-man/new golden standard for biceps definition named Peyton Hillis stepped out of the shadows. His only obstacle? Racist linebackers!
SI’s Dan Patrick asked Hillis about the novelty of being a white running back in the NFL. Hillis said the topic is thrown in his face directly and indirectly, regularly. “I know a lot of people don’t have a lot faith in me,” he said, “and even if you have a good year or a bad year they’re still going to criticize you and say you’re not good enough. It just gives me the motivation to go out there and do better.”
Hillis said his complexion always came up on the field. “Every team did it,” he said. “They’ll say, ‘You white boy, you ain’t gonna run on us today. This is ridiculous. Why are you giving offensive linemen the ball? All kinds of stuff like that you hear on the field, but I use that to my advantage. I kind of soaked it in, ate it up a little bit, because I enjoyed it.”
Is this an example of the mysterious ‘reverse racism’ everybody’s saying exists now? Not to my knowledge. Most defensive players like to try and get inside a star player’s head to feast on their insecurities as a human so when they receive a hand-off and hit a running lane they have the idea that they’re a slow nobody with a stupid facemask who can barely tie his own shoelaces bouncing around their skull. Because Hillis is white, he noticed these comments a little bit more, and when Patrick asked him a touchy question, he went at it with the same bullheadedness he uses to perfection on the football field. There haven’t been many great white running back hopes in recent memory, and defensive players are put on their heels a little bit because they have no idea how to insult Hillis without bringing race into the equation.
Seriously, how else would you try and put down the guy? “Your gargantuan biceps make you look like you could maybe kill the Predator!” “HA! You couldn’t even beat out Darren McFadden and Felix Jones at Arkansas! WHAT A SCHLUB!” “You’re going to look so stupid when your hairline recedes in 20 years!” “YOU HAVE BAD CUTICLES!”
When you’re on the football field, insults are going to fly. It’s a part of trying to win. If Hillis wants the white cracks to stop, he should try and develop some noticeable flaws to pick on instead.
Peyton Hillis Claims He Was Taunted For Being A White Running Back [Huffington Post]
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