Monday, December 11, 2023

The Chicago Bears Aren’t Allowed to Have a Quarterback Controversy

In the 2023 offseason, the Chicago Bears signed undrafted free agent quarterback Tyson Bagent from Shepard University, which is a Division II football program. During his time at Shepard, Bagent set 27 records, including the all-time D2 record for passing touchdowns.

Still, Bagent didn’t compete at an elite level, so the odds were very long that he would make the Bears practice squad, let alone the 53-man final roster. Most D2 quarterbacks are known as “camp arms,” someone to take snaps and throw the ball so the coaches can evaluate the skill positions and the offensive lineman.

However, the staff noticed something different about Bagent from the first day he arrived at Halas Hall. His preparation was obsessive, and he had a deep understanding of the playbook that came from seven years’ experience as the starting quarterback in high school and college. Bagent knew what it took to be successful at the position, and he was ready for the opportunity.

A Star is Born?

Over the course of training camp, Bagent continued to impress to the point that the Bears cut their number two quarterback, P.J. Walker, who they signed in the offseason for $4.15 million. Bagent made the 53-man roster as the number three quarterback on the depth chart behind Justin Fields and Nathan Peterman. Five games into the season, Bagent moved past Peterman and became Fields’ backup.

Justin Fields was taken by the Bears with the eleventh pick in the 2021 draft out of Ohio State. A true dual threat quarterback, scouts were mesmerized by his extraordinary speed and arm strength. The issue with Fields since his first start with the Bears in 2021 is processing information pre and post snap. He has never shown a consistent ability to make quick reads and deliver the ball with accuracy before the receiver comes out of his break. As such, he is sacked often, has a dismal 6-25 record in 31 starts and an anemic 82.3 career passer rating. By contrast, Patrick Mahomes passer rating is 105.3.

When Fields went down with a hand injury during another bad game against the Minnesota Vikings, Bagent stepped in, and without benefit of any reps with the first team, moved the Bears down the field for a touchdown in a long, extended drive.

With Fields’ uncertain timetable for medical clearance, Bagent started his first NFL game against the Las Vegas Raiders this past Sunday, and the Bears won by a convincing score of 30-12. Bagent looked poised, self-assured and executed the Luke Getsy Packers-style offense with precision. Whether Justin Fields’ supporters want to admit it or not, it was the best the offense looked all season playing against the Raiders’ 15th ranked defense.

A Quarterback Controversy?

So, do the Bears have a quarterback controversy brewing?

Well, if Bagent plays with the same efficiency in his second start against the Los Angeles Chargers, every option should be on the table, but probably won’t be. You see, Justin Fields is black and Tyson Bagent is white.

In today’s psychotic woke world, merit runs a distant second to melanin content when choosing the right candidate for a job. That sensitivity is not lost on the NFL, where 70% of the players are black. Still smarting from the battering the league took during the Collin Kaepernick kneeling phase, the last thing they need is another racially charged issue to deal with. The league probably breathed a sigh of relief when head coach Matt Eberflus confirmed that Fields will be the starter when he returns from injury.

Amazingly, even with that assurance, the hyper-sensitive race baiters want to get ahead of the issue and launch their preemptive strikes.

In an article in the Chicago Sun Times, author Scoop Jackson wrote:

“That this new level of excitement has more to do with the removal of Fields than it does Bagent’s installation. And with that perception comes a card called race that some (many) people seem to have a problem with when it gets played. Here, in this, is what gets lost: The History. The history of the Bears when it comes to quarterbacks of color.”

“This isn’t about protecting Fields, it’s about something bigger. It’s about protecting a perceived perception of inequality. One that seems to be specific in haunting a certain group of people when it comes to a certain position in football when it comes to a specific team in a certain city that has a perceived history of being defined by race. Because sometimes perception is reality.”

Got it?

Before any change at quarterback is even made, Jackson is warning the Bears front office that the race card is on the table if they make the wrong decision, and the organization might be smeared with the stain of another accusation of racism.

A user on X couldn’t wait to launch an opening warning shot:

Remember, this is after one game where Bagent looked quite competent, yet the head coach unconditionally reaffirmed his support for Fields. Can you imagine the reaction if Bagent plays well against the Chargers? What if he actually replaces Justin Fields?

I just can’t imagine it happening.

Avoiding Negative Publicity

The notion that a white player could outperform an African American at the highest profile position on a football field for precisely the stereotyped reasons the old NFL once barred black players would be met with the kind of negative publicity neither the Bears nor the league want.

After passing on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, who are black superstars, in favor of Mitchell Trubisky, who was a white bust, in the 2017 draft, the McCaskey family, who own the Bears, came under scrutiny for what was perceived as soft racism. This was despite employing a black head coach, Lovie Smith, for a tenure that was only surpassed by George Halas and Mike Ditka in length. The accusations also ignored the fact that the Bears had a starting black quarterback in the early 1980s (Vince Evans) and 2003 (Kordell Stewart) when there wasn’t any pressure to do so.

The Bears responded to the Mahomes-Watson criticism by hiring a black general manager and a black team president, but it’s still hard to imagine that would be enough to quell the loud voices of the race baiters should Fields get benched in favor of Bagent.

It’s a damn shame America’s greatest strength, the ability of its citizens to achieve their highest level of competency, has been tainted and spoiled by woke ideology that prefers to reward people based on skin color, political dogma and sexual preference. This is exactly how we ended up with a vice president who would normally lose an election for county clerk if the contest was based solely on merit. It’s why we’re losing our edge in academic, business and technological innovation.

If Tyson Bagent outperforms Justin Fields, Bagent should be named the starter, period. But I suspect that will never happen. I can’t help but wonder if the Bears are hoping for a mediocre performance from Bagent on Sunday and a quick recovery by Fields just to avoid the potential crap storm if it turns out the other way.