76m: Fran Tarkenton / Leo Sayer, Donny Harper Singers
Garrett Morris: Good evening, and welcome to "Black Perspective". I'm your host, Garrett Morris. Tonight's discussion concerns the black athlete in pro football. And our guest is the legendary quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings, Fran Tarkenton. Welcome, Fran.
Fran Tarkenton: Well, thank you, it's nice to be here.
Garrett Morris: Yeah, Fran. Aside from your fabulous career on the field, you are also a member of the National Football League's committee on race relations.
Fran Tarkenton: Well, that's true, Garrett. I've been the Chairman since 1971.
Garrett Morris: Yeah, you've been quoted as saying that football is really brotherhood in action, man. What did you mean by that?
Fran Tarkenton: Well, you know, a football team is a family, a family unit consisting of 40 men living and working together toward a goal - winning. And it's a family that counts. The only color that exists is the color of a player's jersey.
Garrett Morris: Well, times certainly have changed, Fran. I mean, we've come a long way.
Fran Tarkenton: Yeah, and it's about time, I say.
Garrett Morris: Right on. right on, man. But still, man, even in 1977, you know, some stereotypes still exist, wouldn't you agree?
Fran Tarkenton: Uh, none that I know of.
Garrett Morris: Well, how about the myth that a black man can not make it as a pro quarterback? There are 28 teams in the league, and only three of them have black quarterbacks, and they all sitting on the bench, you know what I mean?
Fran Tarkenton: Uh.. yeah, yeah.
Garrett Morris: Well, for years there's been this myth that a black's mind is not elaborate enough to read defenses. And he can't call audible from the line, and that he has no leadership qualities. Now, you've been, you know, in the league for sixteen years, and you just said that there is no prejudice, right?
Fran Tarkenton: Uh, yes.
Garrett Morris: Then, what about these myths?
Fran Tarkenton: They're absolutely true, Garrett.
Garrett Morris: I must have missed something. What did you say?
Fran Tarkenton: It's not a myth, it's a fact. Every black I know has trouble with area codes, let alone numbers of plays!
Garrett Morris: Wait, wait, wait.. say that again?
Fran Tarkenton: Well, you know, even the black kids in the summer camp I run don't have it. Sure, they can dance in the end zone, they've got the bomes in their feet. But when it comes to leadership, one black quarterback on the forty yard line ends up in the parking lot with a bucket of chicken!
Garrett Morris: Hey, man, I know what you mean! Yeah, that's true! Yeah, I know what you mean!
Fran Tarkenton: And, Garrett, let's face it - try to be objective. If you were on the offensve line, would you turn your back on a black guy standing behind you? Especially during a night game?
Garrett Morris: No, man.. not me. I've got a wife and kids. Uh.. look, man, thank you for clearing that up, man. I've always had a problem about that. And thank you for watching "Black Perspective". Next week, Mark Spitz explains why there are no black swimmers.
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[ SUPER: "Coming Up Next: Pornographic Money For Cash Freaks" ]
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