Don Lemon's Super Bowl Obsession: The Color of the Quarterbacks

January 30th, 2023 11:14 AM

Take it as a sign of the progress our country has made. In thinking about the Super Bowl, it's likely that relatively few people are focused on the fact that, for the first time, it will feature two black starting quarterbacks: Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles, and Patrick Mahomes (whose mother is white) of the Kansas City Chiefs. Doug Williams of the Washington Redskins was the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl....35 years ago.

But count CNN's Don Lemon as someone who has made the race of the QBs his Super Bowl obsession. After some chit-chat at the top of the show, here's how Lemon formally introduced today's episode:

"Good morning, everyone. For the first time in Super Bowl history, two black quarterbacks will lead their teams in the Big Game."

Lemon repeatedly mentioned that factoid during the opening segment. To his credit, CNN sports reporter Coy Wire eschewed Lemon's racial obsession, focusing instead on the quarterbacks' leadership, toughness, and selfless we-not-me attitude. 

But Lemon would not leave it alone. When Wire mentioned that the Super Bowl would feature two "brothers" facing off, Travis Kelce of the Chiefs and Jason Kelce of the Eagles, Lemon exploited that to bring the conversation back to the race of the quarterbacks:

"When he said 'brothers,' I was like, is he talking about Jalen and Mahomes?"    Poppy Harlow Don Lemon Kaitlin Collins Coy Wire CNN This Morning 1-30-23

I have a dream: that one day, Don Lemon will focus not on the color of quarterbacks' skin, but on the content of their throwing arms. 

Don Lemon's obsession with the race of the starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl was sponsored in part by Subway, Chevron, Jackson Hewitt Tempur-Pedic, GoDaddy, and Whole Foods

Here's the transcript.

CNN This Morning
6:01 am ET

DON LEMON: Good morning, everyone. For the first time in Super Bowl history, two black quarterbacks will lead their teams in the Big Game. So who is the favorite and who is the underdog? We're going to have much more on this historic match-up. We're going to have that in just a moment. 

. . . 

But just in case you were wondering what we're talking about, come on. You know. It's official. The Super Bowl LVII matchup is set. It's Eagles versus Chiefs. Philadelphia versus Kansas City. And Jalen Hurts versus Patrick Mahomes. This is the first time in Super Bowl history there will be two black starting quarterbacks! 

. . . 

Corey Wire joining us this morning. You can attest to that. Good morning to you, Coy. This is going to be very interesting. We have two black starting quarterbacks. Brothers facing off for the first time in history. This is going to be an interesting matchup. 

COY WIRE. Incredible storylines. Hurts and Mahomes, Don. Quintessential leaders. They both, mental fortitude. Their physical toughness. They're "we," not "me" mentality.

And then, the brothers. They call it the Kelce Bowl. Travis Kelce for the Chiefs facing Jason Kelce for the Eagles. First brothers to ever face off in the Super Bowl. It will play out in 13 days time in Glendale, Arizona. Eagles versus Chiefs . . . Don, the Eagles last won the Super Bowl five years ago, the Chiefs just three. Now they're going to go toe-to-tow. And we'll have Rihanna doing the halftime show. Chris Stapleton will be singing the National Anthem. We're going to be there for you all week, bringin all the sights and sounds of Super Bowl week. But, who do you cheer for if your mom and dad for the Kelce brothers? I mean --

LEMON: When you said "brothers," I was like, wait: was he  talking about Jalen and Mahomes? 

POPPY HARLOW: No, the other brothers! 

LEMON: Brothers versus bruthas. 

WIRE: That's right.