Lamar Jackson Is A Victim Of Racialized Media: Bobby Burack

The Baltimore Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Lamar Jackson. He can now negotiate with other teams, though the Ravens have the right to match any offer.

Outside interest in Jackson is so far non-existent. At least five potential suitors have made it known they will not pursue the quarterback: Falcons, Dolphins, Panthers, Commanders, and Raiders.

Already, the football-sphere is attributing the lack of a long-term deal to racism against black quarterbacks.

Former wide receiver Dez Bryant says not paying black athletes is a trend in the NFL. What examples did he provide? Unfortunately, not a one.

Former backup quarterback Robert Griffin III suggested in a tweet the Jackson situation "smells" suspicious.

While Jackson doesn't have an agent, ESPN has served as his chief advocate for the past year. Griffin, Ryan Clark, Stephen A. Smith, and Chris Canty have covered him without objectivity, vilifying Baltimore for not making him the highest-paid player in league history.

Each analyst subtly or not so subtly has cited racism for Jackson's contract status.

Put Marcus Spears in the not so subtly class. Spears prefaced a bashing of the NFL by reminding the viewers that Jackson is “a black QB," and thus treated unfairly.

Remarks like those have heightened as Jackson's demands for a fully guaranteed contract have escalated.

Last year, Domonique Foxworth advised his colleagues to be "careful" when discussing Jackson because negative remarks could derail his negotiations.

It would seem as if the media has a deep affection for Lamar, whether it be personally or professionally. Though that doesn't appear to be the case.

Rather, the media has turned Jackson into the poster child for the hypothesis that the NFL is systemically racist.

Lamar Jackson, to no fault of his own, is a pawn in the so-called racial reckoning of the United States. He, again to no fault of his own, is the face of supposed injustices of the black quarterback.

See, RG3 and Foxworth do not care about Lamar Jackson or his bank account. They both failed in the NFL and need to rely on ESPN to remain affluent. Inciting racial animosity is their clearest path to sustained relevance.

Jackson's contract negotiations are useful in their quest.

Still, the fair-minded ought to be able to see through the hysteria. The case that racism is to blame for Jackson's contract status has long been without merit.

We are told the NFL discriminates against black quarterbacks. Yet there's no proof of that. At least not presently. Perhaps, long ago, the NFL viewed black quarterbacks differently — similar to how the NFL views white skill players or the NBA views white players in general.

Case in point: Deshaun Watson.

Watson is the highest-paid player in NFL history. The Browns awarded him a fully guaranteed contract of $230 million. Watson signed the deal in 2022, after nearly 30 women accused him of sexual misconduct.

"Whenever guys like Lamar Jackson and other black athletes perform past their contracts it’s always a problem whenever it's time to be paid," Dez Bryant tweeted Tuesday.

The contract of a black sexual predator proves otherwise.

As does the case of Kyler Murray, who signed a deal worth the second most in guaranteed money.

As will the contract of Jalen Hurts, who is reportedly set to receive $50 million a year from the Eagles (which he deserves).

In fact, whatever arguments remained about prejudice against black quarterbacks should have ceased to exist in 2021, when the four highest-paid quarterbacks in history were black:

Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson, and Russell Wilson.

Yet here we are, two years later, discussing racism in the NFL because Lamar Jackson is without the long-term deal he prefers.

Unlike Bryant and RG3, we will not pretend to know exactly why the Ravens -- and apparently the rest of the NFL -- view Jackson unworthy of his demands. Instead, we will list logical possibilities.

According to Adam Schefter, Jackson wants a fully guaranteed contract and turned down an offer of $250 million from the Ravens. (Those racist bastards in the owner suite only offered him a quarter of a billion?)

There are several concerns with acquiescing to said request, none of which relate to Lamar's black skin color.

First, Lamar Jackson cannot stay healthy. Durability is as critical as performance when negotiating guaranteed money.

Jackson is not the former. He has missed 34 percent of snaps over the past two seasons for a total of 10 starts. He has been unable to finish both of the past two seasons.

NFL teams can advance in the playoffs with an above-average quarterback -- see Brock Purdy and the 49ers last season. However, teams cannot advance into the playoffs with a quarterback who cannot finish games -- also see Brock Purdy and the 49ers last season.

A Corvette is of diminished value if it runs barely over half of the time. Baltimore fears bearing the burden of investing in miles that it likely won't be able to utilize.

There's also the case Jackson is not a Corvette, but a sports car in the next echelon. While ESPN host Keyshawn Jackson argues Jackson is on par with Patrick Mahomes, the league rightfully considers him otherwise.

Jackson is a good player. He was great when he won the MVP in 2019. But he hasn't been great since. His passer rating for the past two seasons rests at 89, a rate slightly below the league average of 90.

Last season, he was the second- least accurate passer in the NFL. He trailed only Zach Wilson, who the Jets benched.

Before his injury, Jackson threw a league-leading three game-losing interceptions. His team blew several double-digit 4th quarter leads. His fourth-quarter passer rating was 28, among the worst in the league.

It's no wonder RG3 only cites 2019 when making the case for Lamar:

Former ESPN host Trey Wingo -- whom ESPN kicked to the curb because he was old and white -- reports there's concern among the NFLPA that the league is "colluding" to ensure no player sees a Deshaun Watson-like contract where all money is guaranteed

If true, said collusion would affect both white and black players. Hence not a racial issue, as we hear.

Ultimately, the Ravens and the NFL have calculated Lamar Jackson is not worth a record-setting deal.

Evidence suggests that could be a symptom of his injury history, declining performance since his MVP season, lack of accuracy as a passer, or his fourth-quarter struggles.

We can't say for certain. Only the owners can.

Still, the prevailing narrative remains Jackson is without a contract because he's black and the NFL is racist.

That is not a serious argument. It's without proof. It's a myth.

A myth Jackson, himself, has fallen for with his contract demands.

Lamar Jackson is not a victim of racism. Lamar Jackson is a victim of a racialized media convincing him that he's worth what he is not.  

Written by
Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics.. Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.