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'He doesn't get it'

Local NAACP head stands by criticism of McNabb

Posted: Wednesday December 14, 2005 6:50PM; Updated: Wednesday December 14, 2005 7:06PM
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Donovan McNabb
Donovan McNabb had 16 TD passes before going on injured reserve last month.
Al Tielemans/SI

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Donovan McNabb has taken more shots off the field than on it this year.

J. Whyatt Mondesire, who publishes a newspaper for blacks and who is the president of the Philadelphia branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, didn't back off his scathing criticism of McNabb, more than a week after saying the Eagles' star quarterback "played the race card" and was "mediocre at best."

"He doesn't get it," Mondesire said Wednesday. "If he got it, I wouldn't have written the article."

Mondesire, publisher of the Philadelphia Sunday Sun, blasted McNabb in a column in his paper on Dec. 4.

"In essence Donny, you are mediocre at best," Mondesire wrote. "And trying to disguise that fact behind some concocted reasoning that African American quarterbacks who can scramble and who can run the ball are somehow lesser field generals than one who can summon up dead-on passes at a whim, is more insulting off the field than on."

McNabb's season ended last month when he decided to have surgery for a sports hernia. It's been a miserable year for the five-time Pro Bowl selection, starting with his feud with now-banished wideout Terrell Owens.

McNabb was stunned by Mondesire's comments.

"Obviously, if it's someone else who is not African American, it's racism," McNabb told reporters attending his annual holiday party last Saturday. "But when someone of the same race talks about you because you're selling out because you're not running the ball, it goes back to what are we really talking about here?

"If you talk about my play, that's one thing. When you talk about my race, now we've got problems. If you're trying to make a name off my name, again, I hope your closet is clean because something is going to come out about you ... I always thought the NAACP supported African Americans and didn't talk bad about them. Now you learn a little bit more."

Mondesire said the article expressed his opinion of McNabb, not the view of the NAACP. When Rush Limbaugh said on ESPN two years ago that McNabb is overrated because the media wanted to see a black quarterback succeed, the NAACP criticized the conservative commentator and called on him to quit. Limbaugh resigned from ESPN three days later, but kept his job as a radio talk show host.

Mondesire said McNabb's agent, Fletcher Smith, called him after the story appeared. He returned the call twice, but hasn't spoken to McNabb.

McNabb had a strong start this season, throwing for 1,333 yards and 11 touchdowns while leading the Eagles to a 3-1 record. But he was bothered by injuries and struggled over the next several games, before going on injured reserve.

McNabb clearly wasn't the same quarterback who led the Eagles to the NFC championship game the last four years. He threw a costly interception in the fourth quarter in each of his last three games, and had nine picks this season.

Overall, McNabb passed for 2,507 yards, 16 TDs and had a passer rating of 85.0 this season. A feared runner, McNabb was reluctant to leave the pocket this season. He had just 55 yards rushing on 25 carries, including several kneel-downs.

McNabb's problems with Owens dominated the headlines most of the year. Their issues began when Owens dissed McNabb after the Eagles lost to New England in the Super Bowl last February. The two didn't speak for a prolonged period, but performed well on the field together.

Owens was suspended last month for a series of infractions and critical public comments about McNabb and the organization, dating back to his offseason demands for a new contract. An arbitrator later upheld the Eagles' decision to deactivate him for the remainder of the season.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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