PHILADELPHIA -- The chief executive officer of the NAACP criticized the president of its Philadelphia branch Thursday for racially charged comments made about Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.
Bruce Gordon, who heads the Baltimore-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, issued a statement calling McNabb "a great quarterback, an excellent role model and a class act" and said he intended to apologize for denigrating remarks made by Philadelphia chapter president J. Whyatt Mondesire.
"The NAACP has many civil rights issues that require our attention," Gordon said. "Criticizing Donovan McNabb is not one of them."
Mondesire, who also publishes the Philadelphia Sunday Sun,
criticized the quarterback's proclivity for passing in a Nov. 27 newspaper column. He wrote that McNabb's tendency to run the ball early in his career "not only confused defenses, it also thrilled Eagles fans," and that abandoning that element "by claiming that everybody expects black quarterbacks to scramble' not only amounts to a breach of faith but also belittles the real struggles of black athletes who've had to overcome real racial stereotypcasting in addition to downright segregation."
Mondesire said Thursday he was not speaking in his capacity as a branch leader. "This has nothing to do with the NAACP. It's my opinion," he said.
McNabb could not be reached for comment Thursday, but said last weekend that "I always thought the NAACP supported African Americans and didn't talk bad about them."
"If you talk about my play, that's one thing," McNabb said. "When you talk about my race, now we've got problems."
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.