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Deshaun Watson Sheds Light on Stereotypes Used for Black Quarterbacks

Deshaun Watson is one talented and introspective quarterback, who just happens to have a little “wiggle” and some extra jets if has to take off.

Make no mistake about it, “the face of college football” can’t stand when “lazy” writers struggle to figure out the proper words to describe a really good black quarterback.

During an insightful sit-down with Bleacher Report, the Clemson All-American and Heisman Trophy candidate made it clear that he’s not a fan of code words like "dual-threat" when they are used to describe African-American signal callers.

"People say, well he’s a dual-threat quarterback. You look at that word . . . that’s a code word.

"People think, ‘Oh, he’s a black quarterback, he must be dual-threat.‘ People throw around that word all the time. It’s lazy. The one thing I learned early on as a football player is people have their opinions, and I can’t change them. But I can show them what they’re missing.

"People have assumed that I have to run the ball before I can throw it most all of my career, all the way back before high school. It’s a stereotype put on me for a long time because I’m African-American and I’m a dual-threat quarterback. I don’t know why that stereotype is still around. It’s about talent and the ability to throw the ball, not the color of your skin or your ability to also be a dangerous runner."

Watson’s 1,105 yards and 12 touchdowns rushing in 2015 are more about the system and the talent around him than his need to rely on his feet to get him out of trouble.

Make no mistake about it, Watson is as precise a passer that you’ll ever lay eyes on. The quick feet and natural speed are just syrup on pancakes for the team that drafts him.

Watson threw for 4,104 yards and 35 touchdowns, completing nearly 68 percent of his passes last season, and he’s using those stats plus his high school resume to justify the feelings.

"I threw for more than 13,000 yards and 155 touchdowns at Gainesville High School and set the Georgia state record for total offense and total touchdowns by the end of my junior season. We won our first state title in more than 100 years. Every school recruited me to throw the football, not run it. I threw for more than 4,000 yards last year and was more accurate on throws of more than 30 yards than anyone [in college football—a stat Clemson attributes to an ESPN broadcast but that B/R couldn’t verify]. You don’t get all of that by running the ball first and throwing it second.

"Then everyone said, ‘Well, let’s see how he does against the Alabama defense‘—the defense everyone thought was the best. I think my teammates and I proved we can throw the ball."

Watson was spot-on with his criticism, and natural athletic ability doesn’t make him Michael Vick. It doesn’t make him Cam Newton or Russell Wilson either, because all four men bring a different skill set as passers while everyone in the group, except Vick, uses the pass to set up their run.

-- Glenn Erby

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