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View Full Version : Football Justin Medlock adds to list of black NFL kickers, but he's not a trend-setter


Tribal Warfare
09-07-2012, 11:25 AM
Justin Medlock adds to list of black NFL kickers, but he's not a trend-setter (http://aol.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2012-09-07/justin-medlock-panthers-black-kicker-nfl-history-cedric-oglesby)

If your TV market feeds you the Bucs-Panthers game on Sunday, do not despair. You are going to see the rarest of football sights.

Hint—Justin Medlock.


Hint No. 2—Panthers kicker.

If you’re still stumped, do not adjust your set when Medlock trots onto the field. He really is African American.

It won’t quite be like spotting Halley’s Comet, since like clockwork that comes around every 76 years. You never know when you’ll spot a black kicker. But there have been more Swedish kickers in NFL history than black ones, and the NFL is a bit more popular here than in Stockholm.

What gives?

“It’s not a racial thing,” Cedric Oglesby said.

He was the last black kicker before Medlock. Oglesby wore No. 1 for the Cardinals in 2001. A more appropriate number would have been 3, since he was the third black field-goal kicker in NFL history.

That makes Medlock No. 4. Think about that.

African American’s make up about 65 percent of NFL rosters. That’s a remarkable statistic considering they comprise 13.1 percent of the U.S. population.

The NFL began in 1920. Yet only four black players have kicked field goals for a living.

That defies mathematical probability, Freakonomics and historical trends. Heck, Augusta National now has more women members than the NFL has black kickers.

Is it a problem that cries out for some sort of Rooney Rule, or just a confluence of innocent factors that adds up to great curiosity?

The Rooney Rule requires NFL teams to interview minorities for coaching jobs. The difference is there were plenty of candidates being ignored when the rule began.

Black kicking prospects aren’t being ignored. They aren’t turned into defensive backs or wide receivers, like promising black quarterbacks used to be. Nobody’s pulling a Jimmy the Greek and saying they lack the leg strength or other “necessities.”

There simply aren’t many out there.

“The hard part is finding a kid who’ll stick with it,” said Oglesby, who runs a kicking camp in Atlanta. “I come across kids who have the talent, but either they’re not interested or don’t have the money to attend camps. Or they play on a team that doesn't put any emphasis on it.”

Almost all young kickers played soccer, which is not popular in black communities. They get specialized training and don't depend on high schools developing their skills.

That’s a good thing, since kicking is often an afterthought on the high-school level. And even if a kicker is a young Sebastian Janikowski, the position doesn’t have much sex appeal to an impressionable kid of any race.

“People tend to do what they think is attractive,” Oglesby said. “Kicking is not very attractive.”

No, but it sure pays well. The average NFL kicker’s salary is just under $900,000. Janikowski signed a four-year, $16 million contract in 2010. The odds are against anyone becoming a professional kicker, but you have no chance if you don’t even try.

A lot of it is a self-fulfilling cycle. There are few black kickers because there are few black kickers. Everybody simply accepts that’s the way it is, even thought that’s not the way it has to be.

When Oglesby showed up for a tryout in Dallas, the other players figured he was a kick returner. Then he pulled out his soccer cleats and suddenly became Halley’s Comet.

“Oh man, you kick?” players said.

Oglesby was used to the shock. The only kicker of color in anyone’s memory was Donald Igwebuike, but he was from Nigeria.

As best as anyone can tell, Gene Mingo was the NFL’s first black kicker. He doubled as a halfback and return man for five teams from 1960-70. Cookie Gilchrist kicked for the Bills in 1962, then he became a full-time halfback.

Danny Kight was a kickoff specialist for the Colts and Ravens from 1999-2001, but he never attempted a field goal. And for trivia buffs, Chad Johnson (then Ochocinco) made an extra point for the Bengals in a 2009 preseason game.

When it comes to full-time kicking, Oglesby was the first in more than three decades. He went 3-for-3 for the Cardinals before being released.

It took an atypical path to produce an atypical performer. Oglesby’s parents didn’t let him play football, so he played soccer and other sports.

He got to high school and scored a touchdown in a football game during P.E. class. For grins, he stuck the ball in the ground and kicked it through the goal posts.

A friend saw it and talked him into trying out for the football team. His parents approved, and Oglesby’s kicking talents quickly evolved.

It helped that he played at Southwest Dekalb High, which emphasized kicking. The school even had a black punter, Rodney Williams.

Talk about a statistical improbability. Black punters are every bit as rare as black kickers. Williams went on to punt for the Giants in 2001, becoming the fourth black punter in NFL history.

What are the odds two of the nine black Americans who’ve booted footballs for a living would attend the same high school?

“I just happened to be in the right place,” Oglesby said.

It was a place where black kids didn’t automatically buy into the notion they weren’t supposed to be kickers.

Medlock was a soccer player and went to a California high school where players apparently didn’t realize they were supposed to be players.

The school went 1-9 his senior season and dropped football as a varsity sport the next year. By then, Medlock was on his way to an All-American career at UCLA.

The Chiefs drafted him in the fifth round in 2006. Medlock bounced around the NFL, CFL and UFL. He made 49 of 55 field goals last year for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. That got him invited to Panthers camp, where he beat out Olindo Mare.

“He should do well,” Oglesby said.

Just not well enough to make black kids across America find a kicking tee, go to a park and aspire to be the next Janikowski instead of the next Calvin Johnson.

“They just don’t want to do it,” Oglesby said.

So if you’re getting the Panthers-Bucs game, maybe you should even record it. The door is open for black kickers. There’s just no telling when you’ll see another one walk through.

Deberg_1990
09-07-2012, 11:40 AM
Everyone knows black guys are not smart enough to be kickers.

mikey23545
09-07-2012, 11:56 AM
Crap, I didn't even know he was black.

Rain Man
09-07-2012, 12:01 PM
Kickers are just a token NFL gift for the white man, to make it look like there's equality.

Bump
09-07-2012, 12:04 PM
I remember some high school teacher trying to explain how race is tied into football. LOL, this is just what HE said, the kansas high school teacher. But this is the public education they tried to give us. Although my memory probably isn't 100% accurate but it went something like this


Football is a game that revolves around race. White people are almost always in the center of the sport on the offense. The centers, guards and quarterbacks are almost always white. Mind you, this was in like 1995 or something. That way, the whites can be the center of attention and provide the most leadership. The blacks are almost always on the outside, the wide receivers, the tackles, etc.

LOL. Remember, that's not me. That's my high school teacher.

Deberg_1990
09-07-2012, 12:09 PM
I remember some high school teacher trying to explain how race is tied into football. LOL, this is just what HE said, the kansas high school teacher. But this is the public education they tried to give us. Although my memory probably isn't 100% accurate but it went something like this


Football is a game that revolves around race. White people are almost always in the center of the sport on the offense. The centers, guards and quarterbacks are almost always white. Mind you, this was in like 1995 or something. That way, the whites can be the center of attention and provide the most leadership. The blacks are almost always on the outside, the wide receivers, the tackles, etc.

LOL. Remember, that's not me. That's my high school teacher.

heh...wow, hopefully he was just joking?

I think its pretty well known that the NFL sterotyped the QB position for years as a “whites only” club. That’s what my opening joke was about.

I never played football, but Ive heard for years from friends that played in HS and college that yes, coaches tend to sterotype certain postions. I have no idea how much truth there is to that.

Bump
09-07-2012, 12:13 PM
heh...wow, hopefully he was just joking?

I think its pretty well known that the NFL sterotyped the QB position for years as a “whites only” club. That’s what my opening joke was about.

I never played football, but Ive heard for years from friends that played in HS and college that yes, coaches tend to sterotype certain postions. I have no idea how much truth there is to that.

I remember several lectures about it, but it's hard to remember every little thing. At the time it sort of made sense because almost all QB's are white. But he was trying to make it sound like football is for racists.

Ace Gunner
09-07-2012, 12:14 PM
I remember some high school teacher trying to explain how race is tied into football. LOL, this is just what HE said, the kansas high school teacher. But this is the public education they tried to give us. Although my memory probably isn't 100% accurate but it went something like this


Football is a game that revolves around race. White people are almost always in the center of the sport on the offense. The centers, guards and quarterbacks are almost always white. Mind you, this was in like 1995 or something. That way, the whites can be the center of attention and provide the most leadership. The blacks are almost always on the outside, the wide receivers, the tackles, etc.

LOL. Remember, that's not me. That's my high school teacher.


OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YOUR TEACHER DISCOVERED THE ANSWER TO THE UNIVERSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:D

whoman69
09-07-2012, 12:46 PM
Does that count punters. Reggie Roby.

TEX
09-07-2012, 01:56 PM
Hey Justin - you STILL $UCK! Bet you get cut during the season.

Douche Baggins
09-07-2012, 01:59 PM
He might be a trendsetter for being completely worthless and still being in the league.

KC Tattoo
09-07-2012, 02:27 PM
I remember several lectures about it, but it's hard to remember every little thing. At the time it sort of made sense because almost all QB's are white. But he was trying to make it sound like football is for racists.

I don't even want or (can't for that matter) say what our principle said about other ethnics. Altho he said he liked them, I can't go any further. It's racist.