I absolutely hate pulling the race card. It’s a last-minute, last resort kind of thing for me. But if Michael Vick doesn’t start at quarterback next week for the Philadelphia Eagles, I’ll be tempted to swipe it. Eagles coach Andy Reid has some twisted, incomprehensible affection for his chosen starter Kevin Kolb. He traded away the most successful signal caller in franchise history in Donovan McNabb to give Kolb the nod.

Reid apparently saw something in the little-used, wide-eyed backup that made a six-time Pro Bowler expendable. Questionable decision-making at its finest—but Reid wasn’t done there. For his next trick, Reid wants to risk losing his locker room while jeopardizing Kolb’s health in the process of proving some phantom point.

Kolb suffered a concussion in Philadelphia’s week one loss to the Green Bay Packers, a game in which Vick arrived in the starter’s relief to immediately electrify an offense that Kolb had helped to water down prior to his injury. Vick was exciting, he was competitive and he was a leader, but evidently that wasn’t enough to grant Vick a job for last Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions. When Kolb flunked his concussion tests prior to last Sunday, Vick became the interim starter and proceeded to terrorize the Lions for over 300 total yards and two touchdown passes last weekend—still not enough.

After the Eagles’ 35-32 win over Detroit, when asked if it would be difficult to play Kolb over Vick in next Sunday’s game against Jacksonville, Reid labeled the decision “not hard at all” as reported by sbnation.com. I’m going to assume his decision to trade McNabb to the Washington Redskins wasn’t hard at all either by the simple fact that he dealt him to a divisional opponent. Reid’s fascination with Kolb has grown beyond scary at this point. A guy with a career 67.8 quarterback rating and seven interceptions and only four touchdown tosses should not be generating this much publicity. Kolb’s been thoroughly outplayed by both Vick and McNabb during their tenures in the “City of Brotherly Love,” but the “brothers” continue to miss out on the love.

McNabb was always underappreciated during his time in Philly, even while he was directing the Eagles to five NFC Championship games and posting the third-highest winning percentage among active quarterbacks. However, you’ll never confuse Reid with being bias or racist; he’s done wonders for McNabb and gave Vick a chance to play when few other teams would after he was released from prison. But if Vick outperforms Kolb again this Sunday and continues to remain in the background, I’ll have one hand scratching my head and the other firmly tugging at my race card.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO