Came across a column in the AJC today which highlighted the need for the Atlanta Falcons to sign cut QB Byron Leftwich.
Joey Harrington is 23-44 as an NFL starter. There's a quarterback available who's 24-20. If I'm the Falcons, I sign Byron Leftwich today. So: Why not Leftwich? He has been a starter. He has thrown more NFL touchdown passes (51) than interceptions (36). He can deliver the deep ball. He can't run, but neither can Harrington. At worst, he'd be a more viable backup than Redman. At best, he might be able to win a couple of games for a team that won't win many.
Certainly, it would seem that of the available QB's on the Falcons' roster, Leftwich would provide an improvement. Even if just nominal.
More importantly and beyond the possible on field upgrade Leftwich might provide, giving him the reigns to the offense and making him the face of the franchise would be the right thing to do.
The Falcons abandonment of Michael Vick, though understandable due to the poor publicity attached to the type of charges brought against Vick, sent a negative message to the Negro community in Atlanta. And that message resonated throughout America.
Once it became clear that Vick was more than likely involved in the sordid mess, owner Arthur Blank seemed to distance himself from Vick. Sending a clear message that the Falcons could not be counted on for support.
The organization's choice to use words like "disappointed in" or "despicable acts" sent a message to the Negro community that the team was not willing to support the QB in the face of adversity. It sent a message to the Negro community that, despite the incredible return the team had made thus far on their investment in Vick, they were not on his side.
Never once did we hear Blank mention race. Never once did we hear Blank bring up Vick's upbringing.
And, in possibly the most overt sign of ill will, the team sent a clear message of rejection to the Negro community:
Not once did Blank consider calling Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton to Atlanta to weigh in on the situation. Not once.
So, for weeks and weeks negative shrapnel from the media cut at Vick's veins. And no voices of dissension came from the organization or were invited by the organization to speak on Vick's behalf.
The notion that Vick's eventually guilty plea absolves the team from having not stood by him or having not brought in the esteemed protectors of civil rights is a fallacy. The outcome is of little importance. The knowledge of the facts at the time are of little importance. Protection of civil rights, at least the type provided by Jackson and Sharpton, does not require an agreeable outcome. So, let's put the notion that Vick's guilt is any sort of indicator that the Falcons acted fairly or correctly to rest
The Atlanta Falcons owe the Negro community of Atlanta another Negro QB. That is the only fair and correct outcome of this situation.
Byron Leftwich was mistreated and cut by Jacksonville.
Now, it's time for the Falcons to make amends.
Any decision short of signing and quickly starting Leftwich is an open indicator that the Falcons hold nothing but contempt for the Negro community of Atlanta.
The Falcons had the chance months ago to play the race card and at least attempt to divert the outcome in the Vick fiasco.
They chose not to do so.
Now, we demand the race card play them!