Gerhart put the Stanford Cardinal football team on his shoulders and carried them to prominence for the first time since John Elway led them to prominence 25 years ago.
His college statistics are astounding: 1871 yards and 27 touchdowns last season. His combine numbers are impressive: 4.50 in the 40 yard dash and a 38 inch vertical leap.
Sounds like a sure-fire first round draft pick…
So why are scouts projecting Gerhart will be picked in the second round of the upcoming NFL Draft?
Gerhart thinks it may be due to the fact that he is white.
In the NFL, running backs are black. And Gerhart is white.
In his own words:
“One team I interviewed with asked me about being a white running back,” Gerhart says. “They asked if it made me feel entitled, or like I felt I was a poster child for white running backs. I said, ‘No, I’m just out there playing ball. I don’t think about that.’ I didn’t really know what to say.”
In the words of a scout:
“He’ll be a great second-round pickup for somebody, but I guarantee you if he was the exact same guy – but he was black – he’d go in the first round for sure,” the scout said. “You could make a case that he’s a Steven Jackson-type – doesn’t have blazing speed but he’s strong and powerful and versatile.”
Of course there are some legitimate concerns about Gerhart’s running style and durability and those are factors in his draft placement as well.
Is it racism when a white football player is discriminated against? It can be. When the white person is the minority and the white person is given negative treatment it could be considered racism. And as far as NFL players and specifically NFL running backs go, white is definitely a minority.
I can’t say whether this case is racism or not. Whether it is perception or reality is impossible to know. But either way I am rooting for Gerharts success. The more stereotypes that can be broken down the better our society will be.
Quotes courtesy of Yahoo Sports: Column