It would be easy to dismiss boxer Bernard Hopkins’ latest comments questioning former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb’s Blackness as the ramblings of a punch-drunk, over-the-hill fighter.
But it’s not that simple.
Hopkins, an Eagles fan who has been critical of McNabb in the past, hit below the belt this week when he said the NFL quarterback isn’t Black enough and lacks heart. Hopkins has made the uneducated assumption that Blackness is somehow related to struggle and poverty. He questions McNabb’s Blackness because he grew up privileged in suburban Chicago.
It's a safe assumption that Hopkins, 46, has realized many multimillion dollar purses as a top prize fighter, which has effectively taken him out of the mayonnaise sandwich line. Does that make him any less Black?
So his ciriticisms in the Philadelphia Daily News are ridiculous. “Forget this,” said Hopkins, as he pointed to his own Black skin. “He’s got suntan. That’s all.”
Hopkins might as well have called McNabb an Uncle Tom or sellout.
It’s unfortunate that some Black people find ways to discriminate against one anoother or discredit another from their own race. Just like Black people come in all different shades, we all come from different economic backgrounds and have varied interests. Our differences don’t distance us from our race. We do that.
It’s one thing to be critical of McNabb for his game or even his lack of heart, which Hopkins has done over the years. It’s a low blow when Hopkins plays the race card. He went as far as to call McNabb a "house n---a" when he was with the Eagles before being traded to the Washington Redskins last year.
For those who may not know, "house n---a" was used to indentify slaves who worked in the white masters’ homes and perhaps felt closer to their owners and were treated better, as opposed to the darker-skinned slaves who worked in the fields.
"Why do you think McNabb felt he was betrayed? Because McNabb is the guy in the house, while everybody else is on the field. He's the one who got the extra coat. The extra servings. 'You're our boy,'" Hopkins said, patting a reporter on the back in illustration. "He thought he was one of them."
Just maybe Hopkins should give up examining another man’s Blackness and focus on his upcoming light heavyweight world title bout with Jean Pascal on May 21 in Montreal. Hopkins is attempting to become the oldest person to win a world title.
Hopefully his tactics in the ring won’t be as outdated as the ones outside of it.
(Photo: J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)