When McNabb was negotiating a contract in 1999, his agent, Fletcher Smith, accused the Eagles of discriminating against McNabb because he is black.
Negotiations ceased for two days this week after Smith's comments about race playing a role in the talks aired on a cable television show. Smith cited white quarterbacks who got voidable contracts and a black quarterback, Steve McNair, who didn't.McNabb agrees to terms with Eagles - Saturday, 7/31/99
And this is why, when agent Fletcher Smith levied charges of racism against the Philadelphia Eagles this week, I could not dismiss it. As a white person, I am in no position to reject Smith's perception. If he feels his client, Donovan McNabb, is being discriminated against because he is black, then there is little I can do to convince him otherwise.Perceiving Racism Where We Hope It's Not There (Eagles: 7/28/99)
Smith is negotiating with whites, and he has noticed that white quarterbacks in similar positions to McNabb's have received different treatment. The only quarterback who had been treated like this was Steve McNair, who is also black. Smith put two and two together and, in his mind, got four.
The only problem is that everyone else, including McNabb himself, thinks Smith has done the math wrong. The Eagles are not a racist organization; in fact, they have one of the best track records for hiring minorities in all of football.
McNabb, meanwhile, is in damage control mode, calling Comcast SportsNet on his own to set the record straight. He knows he's already gotten off to a bad start with Eagles fans because he's not Ricky Williams, and he doesn't want to get into a protracted standoff with the Eagles by throwing around charges of racism. He knows the Eagles aren't racist. If they were racist, they wouldn't have picked him No. 2 overall.