Saturday, November 16, 2013

COMMENTARY: For McNabb, Ignorance IS An Excuse

FOX Sports Live's Donovan McNabb
So-called “stick and ball” sports analysts have never been shy about displaying their disdain for NASCAR.

Not long ago, ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser accused NASCAR of rigging the outcome of its events, saying a media source told him there was “a 60 percent chance” the sanctioning body had willingly allowed Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to qualify an illegal car at Daytona International Speedway in 2012.

Last night, former Philadelphia Eagle-turned Fox Sports 1 commentator Donovan McNabb ignited a firestorm of controversy when asked to rank the most dominant athletes of the last decade. McNabb initially ranked Johnson third -- behind golfer Tiger Woods and NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant – before suddenly declaring, ““Do I think he’s an athlete? Absolutely not. He’s not an athlete. He sits in a car and he drives. That’s not athletic.”
FOX Sports Live host Charissa Thompson offered McNabb an opportunity to back away from his remarks, pointing out that Johnson is favored to clinch his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship this weekend at Homestead Miami Speedway. McNabb declined, saying that while NASCAR is indeed a sport, Johnson – and by association all racers – are not athletes.
The outcry was both swift and decisive.
Fellow panelist Andy Roddick leapt immediately to Johnson’s defense, calling McNabb’s comments “disrespectful.” And within minutes, the Twitter hashtag #PeopleWhoAreMoreAthleticThanDonovanMcNabb became the No. 1 trending topic in the United States.
Johnson is a triathlete in training
For the record, Johnson’s athleticism is beyond question. The Sprint Cup Series point leader is currently training to compete in the 2014 Boston Marathon – just one day after running a 500-mile Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway – and packs in five days of running, two days of swimming and three days of bicycle training each week.
McNabb knows nothing about that, of course. In fact, the six-time Pro Bowler knows very little about NASCAR, and nothing that can’t be learned from the comfort of a Barcalounger on Sunday afternoon. He has almost certainly ever attended a NASCAR race, and likely never will, despite numerous offers to strap himself into a NASCAR-style stock car and learn first-hand about what he speaks.
Jimmie Johnson currently has five NASCAR championship rings. Donovan McNabb never won an NFL title. Under the circumstances, perhaps a little jealousy is understandable. It’s easy to be angry with McNabb today, but maybe it’s better to simply take the high road, discounting his comments as those of an uninformed observer who was unable resist the urge to play “expert” on a topic he knows nothing about.
After all, this is the same Donovan McNabb that was benched by Redskins coach Mike Shanahan during a 2010 practice – we’re talkin’ practice – for being out of shape. It’s the same McNabb who vomited in the huddle during the late stages of a Super Bowl XXXIX loss to the New England Patriots. Cookies weren’t the only thing McNabb tossed that day. He also threw three interceptions en route to a 24-21 loss that made the entire city of Philadelphia gag.
This isn’t the first time an NFL player has expressed disdain for NASCAR drivers. In 2011, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate commented on Johnson’s Male Athlete of the Year ESPY Award nomination, tweeting, "Jimmy Johnson up for best athlete???? Um nooo. Driving a car does not show athleticism."
Tate felt the wrath of NASCAR Nation that day, eventually begging Johnson to, “get these rednecks off me." McNabb is likely feeling the same wrath today, after insulting a fan base that takes its sport very seriously and has little tolerance for those who do not.
Johnson has not responded to McNabb’s comments. He’s busy tending to the business of winning his sixth series title. But two years ago, he said of Tait, “it's easy to make a comment when you don't know. In a lot of situations, people haven't been to a race or been close enough to our sport to understand what takes place."
Apparently, ignorance is an excuse, after all.


  1. Anonymous2:41 PM

    Didn't the fat kid vomit in the huddle in "The Replacements"? Ignore the ignorant. Not sure I need a moron at a race in the one true sport. How many times have Jimmy and Kasey gone out and run a friggin' marathon before getting into the car that afternoon? Garb yourself some more chips and dip, settle back on the couch and watch how real men (and some really cool girls...) compete there Donovan, ole' buddy. Sorry if my bein' a redneck on the pile bothers you.
    Tommy from Long Island

    1. Anonymous1:34 PM

      Garb some chips and dip? You really must be a redneck....To say McNabb is not a real man truly shows your ignorance about a very demanding position in an equally demanding and complicated sport. Oh, in case you didn't know McNabb was a quarterback.

    2. Anonymous2:20 PM

      I highly doubt that a car owner would allow a driver to run a marathon and then get in a racecar, let alone drive in a race at 200 mph. The fatique after running all those miles would make them a liability. I also highly doubt that your comments would bother McNabb.

    3. I highly doubt your reading ability, my friend. The article clearly states that Jimmie will run the marathon ONE DAY AFTER the 500-mile race at Texas Motor Speedway.

    4. Anonymous8:20 AM

      I wasnt responding to the article Dave, I was responding to the reader comments...that person stated that Jimmy and Kasey raced AFTER running a "friggin" marathon.....For the record Dave, I have been a huge nascar fan for over 40 years and read Jayski every day, but this is the first time I have read one of your articles...The reader comments to say the least have been very unfair to Mr. McNabb

  2. As an Eagle, McNabb was an adept signal caller. Anything else that came out of this mouth was drivel. The saga continues.

  3. Another classic case of opening mouth an voicing an opinion on a subject u know less about than the sport u tried to play. Jealousy is a bad thing. Ignorance is even worse. Go away McNabb. We surely don't need you for our sport to survive!

  4. bucko branham4:02 PM

    Set him in a car when its 90 degrees out and just have him follow someone for 500 laps , myself I don't think he could make 500 hard laps!

  5. Better to sit and look a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubts, Mr Donovan.
    Maybe they should hire former Nascar drivers to comment on football or baseball, it makes the same sense as this misinformed person commenting on Nascar..
    Strap his butt in a race car and see when he soils him self at 200 miles per hour
    Ann from FLA and Canada.

  6. Anonymous10:27 PM

    Like I mentioned on another post on the subject. I hardly think NFL players are much of athletes either. heck the average ACTUAL time of play in an NFL game is 12.5 mins. If the game was even possessions that would be 6.25 mins for offense and defense, How dare they act tired after 6.25mins of actual play .spread out over about 3 hrs ;)

  7. I find it hilarious that someone employed by Fox Sports, a business that just signed a multi-billion dollar, with a "B", contract for broadcast rights to half the NASCAR season for the next decade (10 years), would belittle NASCAR's Top Tier Champion immediately after a race on the same channel.

    Not quite sure who the brilliant TV exec that made the decision to employ Donovan or allow him to comment so negatively about Johnson and Race Drivers in general but I would bet come Monday he will be less then pleased after the morning meeting.

    If Race Drivers are not athletes in the eyes of sports analyst on Fox Sports Network why is Fox Sports Broadcasting it as such and paying huge fees to do so?

    It would lead me to believe that McNabb questions the choice the Top Network Execs that made the NASCAR TV deal.

  8. Thanks for this article Dave. I couldn't believe what I heard this morning when I watched the Truck race and post race this morning on the DVR. I hope that McNabb realizes that he made a mistake with his comments and Jimmy will prove it to him for sure!!!! For the most part everyone in the world can drive a car, but very few can drive a car to the level that our Sprint Cup drivers do every Sunday!!!!

  9. Anonymous11:55 AM

    And how many championships did you win Donovan? Apparently, you were not much of an athlete either!

    1. Anonymous1:24 PM

      what a ridiculous if you dont win then your not an athlete, tell that to mark martin.

  10. Anonymous4:28 AM

    Another reason to skip FoxSports1. Journalistic integrity versus sponsor shills? Guess who sits in the booth, the dollar wins during NASCAR events so why expect reasonable commentators at any other time.

  11. Anonymous7:31 AM

    OK--Lets check them out -First put McNabb in a racecar at 200 MPH and see how he does--2nd Put Jimmy on a football field and see if he can throw interceptions or throw up on the field OR Make a Soup Add- McNabb just wants to be in the spotlight and will do what it takes to do so--He is not a has been --He is a never was been

    1. Anonymous1:27 PM

      McNabb was an all pro and the starting quarterback on an NFL football team...your statements are ludicrous.

  12. Anonymous1:20 PM

    wow, looks like alot of people need to move out of their parents basement and get a job! There is no question, that racecar drivers possess a very unique talent that most normal folks don't, but honestly to take shots at a very successful ex NFL athlete is wrong.

  13. It is a fact that on top of the racing spectrum, NASCAR drivers are in the poorest shape fitness wise compared to other professional drivers.

    Tony Stewart isn't close to being a world class athlete like those that play in the NFL, yet he can win NASCAR races and championships.

    The shots being taken at McNabb just prove how thoughtless some NASCAR apologist can be, and are not willing to face the fact that running in NASCAR isn't the athletic challenge that other professional sports are.

  14. Mcnabb is stupid commenting on a sport he knows nothing about but thats what happens when you have unqualified analysts on tv. Typical pop culture idiot.