By LZ Granderson
Special to Page 2

Apparently, there's a branch of Christianity in which knocking each other silly is OK but playing Go Fish is a sin. We know this now because some key members of the NFL Players Father's Association weren't willing to play Fish, or any card game, for fear of being chastised by their pastors back home. And since these manly men didn't want to play charades either, this installment of Game Night has everything except a game. But all was not lost. We did find out D.J. Shockley's real name is Donald Eugene.

ESPN the Magazine "Game Night" with Donovan McNabb.
Watch the entire clip on ESPN360. ESPN Motion


It's not all fun and games
The fellas had no problem ribbing each other during their long conversation. Antwaan Randle El took the opportunity to remind Donovan McNabb about his Super Bowl ring; and Sam McNabb, Donovan's dad and the group's founder, kept chiding Randle El (listed in the media guide at a generous 5-foot-10) for being short.

But they also made time to talk about serious issues: women (the NFL will run background checks on them for its players), unruly fans and what they would change about the league.

"I would have something for guys who leave school early, so they have someone who can [help] walk them through," said Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris Jr. "I was 20 when I was drafted and I thought I had all the answers. I had millions of dollars and all these people asking me to invest here and there. I finally learned to say 'no.' Thing is, there's so much happening besides football, you need help."

Follow the money
Falcons rookie D.J. Shockley and his father, Donald, were all ears as the vets shared financial advice.

"How do you know if you have a good financial advisor?" Donald asked.

"You have to do credit checks and background checks," Donovan advised. Added Harris Sr., "And make sure you know the relationship he has with your agent, because they could be trying to run some kind of game on you."

"And let me tell you," Randle El warned, "there are no investments where you put in $20,000 and you get $1 million back the next year. Anybody comes up to you saying that, turn the other way."

Game Night crew hams it up.
The Game Night crew discusses money and haters.

Watch out for haters
"I looked at the scouting reports and all the negativity about my son," said Donald Shockley, a high school football coach in Georgia. "It's as if as a black quarterback you're assumed to not have everything these other guys have. Look at Vince Young. Tremendous athlete, won a national championship, and there are so many knocks against him. I think I'm pretty realistic when it comes to the game, and I've always thought my son is an outstanding quarterback. But the so-called experts say he can't play."

At this point, Donovan McNabb -- who knows a thing or two about the subject -- chimed in: "It's a shame we're still looked at as black quarterbacks as opposed to just quarterbacks. The game has changed in the last 10 years because quarterbacks are more mobile. We're part of that, we've been able to uplift the position. You go back to Warren Moon, he didn't even get a phone call after he was Pac-10 Player of the Year and Rose Bowl MVP. He had to go to Canada."

Shockley, a seventh-round pick despite leading Georgia to an SEC title, knows all that history and said he worked to be a role model in all areas.

"I tried to break that 'not-smart-enough' stereotype by always being in class, always making good grades and graduating on time. I didn't want anybody to say I'm not a smart player."

But McNabb cut him off, offering the final word on a subject that has received too many comments in recent years: "Never feel because of the color of your skin that you're less intelligent than somebody else."

LZ Granderson is an editor at ESPN The Magazine. "Game Night" is an ESPN 360/Motion video feature and also appears in the Magazine. Sound off to Page 2 here.




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GAME NIGHT WITH DONOVAN MCNABB