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Open Mike (cont.)

Posted: Thursday August 10, 2006 10:06AM; Updated: Thursday August 10, 2006 10:07AM
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Donovan McNabb played just nine games last season because of a sports hernia, but he is completely healthy now.
Donovan McNabb played just nine games last season because of a sports hernia, but he is completely healthy now.
David Bergman/SI

Not since the Showtime Lakers' starting-lineup introductions has the low 5 been so prevalent. After getting slammed for everything from his leadership style to his accommodating persona, McNabb, you'd think, would be a tad combative, or at least somewhat defensive, when discussing such matters. But ask him about his status as the favorite punching bag of random windbags everywhere, and he laughs and says, "Why get upset? I really don't exert extra energy because somebody said something about me. You can't please everybody."

Oh, no he can't:

• Not Mel Kiper Jr., who said before the 1999 draft that the former Syracuse quarterback would take years to pick up the West Coast offense, or the Eagles fans who booed McNabb's selection with the No. 2 overall pick because they wanted Ricky Williams instead. (Oddly enough, it was McNabb's ability to cope with criticism that helped cement the team's decision to pick him in the first place. "That's why we brought him here," Eagles coach Andy Reid says. "We knew he could handle the city of Philadelphia, and it takes a strong person to do that.")

• Not Rush Limbaugh, whose brief stint as an ESPN analyst mercifully ended after he called McNabb overrated -- charging that liberal members of the sports media, in our unending quest to see an African-American quarterback succeed, inflated his accomplishments.

• Not former middleweight champion and Philly native Bernard Hopkins, who began verbally jabbing McNabb after the Eagles' Super Bowl XXXIX defeat to the Patriots ("If you're sick, take yourself out and put in the man on the sideline," Hopkins said.) and kept it up last summer in an interview with Philadelphia blogger Johnny Goodtimes, living down to his nickname, "The Executioner": "Donovan McNabb is their boy. Donovan McNabb is what they want to show the world you should be like... They gonna tell him what to say, how to say it."

• Not newspaper publisher J. Whyatt Mondeshire, the president of the Philadelphia branch of the NAACP, who last November criticized McNabb's leadership skills and charged that the quarterback "played the race card" in explaining why his rushing attempts had decreased. "In essence, Donny, you are mediocre at best," Mondeshire wrote. "And trying to disguise that fact behind some concocted reasoning that African-American quarterbacks who can scramble and who can run the ball are somehow lesser field generals is more insulting on the field than off."

To which I say: In essence, Whyatt, you are a misguided doofus at best, and with leaders like you, your once noble organization may soon be renamed the National Association for the Asinine Comments of Poseurs.