McNabb says black QBs under more pressure

Updated: September 19, 2007, 1:47 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

African-American quarterbacks face more pressure and more criticism than their white counterparts, Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb says in an interview scheduled to air on HBO on Tuesday night.

McNabb, in an interview on "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," tells interviewer James Brown that African-American quarterbacks such as himself face added pressure because there are fewer black QBs -- and because some still don't want black athletes playing the position.

"There's not that many African-American quarterbacks, so we have to do a little bit extra," McNabb tells HBO. "Because the percentage of us playing this position, which people didn't want us to play ... is low, so we do a little extra."

In just-completed Week 2, five of the 32 teams (15.6 percent) had black starting quarterbacks.

Later in the interview, Brown presses McNabb on criticism of his performance -- and if African-American QBs are graded more harshly.

"I pass for 300 yards, our team wins by seven, [mimicking] 'Ah, he could've made this throw, they would have scored if he did this,' " McNabb tells HBO.

"Doesn't every quarterback go through that?" Brown asks.

"Not everybody," McNabb replies.

Brown then asks if the media is tougher on him than on white quarterbacks such as Carson Palmer and Peyton Manning.

"Let me start by saying I love those guys," McNabb tells HBO. "But they don't get criticized as much as we do. They don't."

In the interview, McNabb also talks to Brown about playing in Philadelphia, a city known for passionate sports fans who aren't afraid to criticize the city's pro athletes.

"Every year I'm part of some criticism," McNabb tells HBO. "But every day that we go through life, you're faced with a lot of adversity. Now the answer is how do you handle the adversity. How do you respond?

"I try to handle myself with class. I try to handle myself with dignity. I think sometimes people look to players to act out, speak loudly, pretty much be an idiot. But that's not me."