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One Fan(n)’s Opinion by @rich_fann – Let’s Talk

I’m going to be fairly brief, but I hope this serves as a fun final OFO. In 3 years on this site and 7 years or so in the Bills Twitter sphere, I think I have set up a standard as to my work and who I am both as a fan and a man.

I picked that photo for this piece, because it’s probably my favorite Taylor photo in his time in Buffalo. This will be my final Fann’s Opinion. Let’s rock.

“He just isn’t a good QB”

“Why do you have to make it about race?”

The inability to walk among you, my Buffalo brethren in this willful nodding and applauding at the move to bench the starting quarterback is this reason Nate astutely points out. Race is like water, this thing you can’t prove – unless you’re talking dearth of black QBs, OCs, and offensive play callers outside of name only. I don’t know Nate, but I know “Nates” – folks who are woke as anything except for one little area. And we all have that issue, we all have blind spots. That’s not my problem.

There are tons of allies that will stand up and push back against the president, or say “this thing is wrong”. But when you talk about some of the baked in racism in football, the quarterback position in particular, now it’s the meritocracy of meritocracies and how dare I deign to say what is, is.

Take a look at the rates of how many black qbs are benched sooner than their white counterparts. Or how few black head coaches are in sports, let alone offensive coaches to begin with.

Again, I’ll try to take it personal, because that eliminates the stats and the “I just don’t see it” type responses. 10 years ago, when I first decided I myself wanted to be a coach, I read one of the first of these articles. I made a point from that moment on I would push at every opportunity to be an assistant on the offensive side of the football, to prove that a black man can and will be good there. 10 years later I’m an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at a high school here in Pittsburgh – Ellwood City. I am both humbled and honored in that role and I cried the day I got my letter of hire because I knew, so many people hadn’t had that opportunity at every level and I have it.

THAT is what is baked into the DNA of football, for good and bad. For any of you to hop onto Twitter and dare insinuate that there is never an element of race to this, especially the quarterback position writ large – is both ignorant and in Nate’s case dangerous – as he has a radio audience that will lap that up. I do not think the benching is race related – I think it’s more or less the ideal situation the staff wanted to happen from day one – but the reaction of Bills fans and the ease with which they declare a man mentally unfit for a spot, or to insinuate he should go for a “more natural” position – AND HAVE THAT ENCOURAGED – was a dark day in my fandom today.

“The National Media(tm) doesn’t know US”

I heard you. I’ve seen you. I’ve cheered with you. I’ve been in Ralph Wilson Stadium, I’ve heard the comments about Willis, Lynch, you name it. I’ve heard in the Rockpile the N word more in 10 years than I heard it in a rural high school. I’ve seen it – not some national outsider, a kid from Brooklyn stupid enough to think he could be a part of the Bills community.

Now I get to tell you, you’re wrong, you have been wrong for a while, and I’m going to do what I think is the right thing in this situation – I’m going to save my energy for fans, for people that won’t waste it. As of today, outside of doing my draft coverage with Buffalo Wins, the odd podcast with Joe and my work I love with Rob Quinn over at The Bills Wire, I’m formally stepping down from Buffalo Wins.

I will not be the black cipher that yells into the void while people I expect better from and of blithely say “well this isn’t about race” or any of the other things I’ve heard and read the last few days. I will not be the person you think you can tweet at and talk to any kind of way because I’ll return fire and professionally explain to you why the sadness within you and your village won’t darken my door. I can’t adopt a blind loyalty to a region I’ve never lived in and a team that’s never earned it.

If you want to have a chat, I’ve been available to talk – between message boards, facebook, twitter, in person, on the phone – Bills football for the last 8 years with pride. And I am going to pull away from the blogosphere to not fall into the old adage of being the guy that argues with an idiot – you get pulled to their level and they win with experience. For the people this was for, my work’s been a pleasure and something I’ve taken pride in doing – and being a part of.

I want to thank some people, because I think that’s what you do when you’ve had a great time at something. First, Joe. Joe is just the craziest dude and he’s the best friend you can have running a place like this. Like I said I’ll help out with the operational stuff and chip in with my college and draft coverage with Mike McKenzie because that’s fun and I don’t have to think about the Jake in Cheektoawaga’s that’ll suggest every black signal caller needs a position switch.

I want to thank the Buffalo Wins Staff – Mike M, Migs, Chris, Husaria, Liz, Steph, Ricardo, Tyler, Bleez, Evan, and if I missed you I’m sorry, but this is a lunch break and I only have so much time!

I also want to thank Sal Capaccio, Tyler Dunne, Joe Buscaglia, Matthew Fairburn, Jay Skurki and Tim Graham for not being jerks whenever I’ve had a question – and to Matt Rich Warren and Brian Galiford for being great sounding boards when I first took over for Joe.

God Bless and I’ll talk to some of you in due time – my DMs remain open if you want to have a full and frank conversation.