Another Iggles offseason means another round of speculation and debate on whether the Birds move on with Donovan McNabb at the helm, or to hand the reins to Kevin Kolb in the hope that Kolb develops and gels along with the young core of offensive players that emerged in 2009. McNabb has vociferous critics amongst Igglephans, perhaps the most strident being Bernard Hopkins, a man who grew up on Phillys meanest streets, spent his teenage years robbing drug dealers and who honed his craft in a state penitentiary, eventually going on to be considered by many as the worlds best pound-for pound fighter during his prime and whom is regarded by many as the baddest dude in the city of Philadelphia. Be it cold hard facts, bitter lashing over a perceived personal sleight or garnering free publicity for his upcoming fight, The Executioner let loose his latest salvos on the subject of #5. From the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Brookover :
At first, the 45-year-old prize fighter from Philadelphia promoted his long-awaited rematch with 41-year-old Roy Jones Jr. set for April 3 in Las Vegas.
Eventually, at Hopkins’ urging, the subject turned to Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who was not far away on South Beach being interviewed by the NFL Network about tomorrow’s title game between the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts.
“The people now say, ‘Take him to Arizona, he has a house there,’ ” Hopkins said. “But my thing is, I’ve been telling you this since after the [Eagles’ 2005] Super Bowl [loss]. At the end of the day, you have a guy that is a front-runner. You have a guy that doesn’t even give a hint that he’s upset. He smiles. He doesn’t show any type of feeling of ‘Damn, we’re so close and we kicked the bucket.’ “
McNabb could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Rich Burg, a publicist for the Eagles’ quarterback, said Hopkins’ anger stems from a meeting between the two men at the NovaCare Complex earlier in this decade.
Hopkins attended a practice in 2004. Burg said McNabb was unaware Hopkins was visiting until a brief meeting before the practice. Burg said the meeting was too brief for Hopkins, who felt shunned. Burg worked for the Eagles’ media relations department at the time.
“If there is anyone who is craving attention, it’s Bernard Hopkins,” Burg said. “He tries to get it all the time by using Donovan’s name. Donovan has shown his class by ignoring the entire thing.”
Hopkins said if McNabb had better body language during a game that Eagles fans would like him more.
“Fake me out,” Hopkins said. “Throw Gatorade. People would look at that – even if it’s an act – and say to themselves . . . ‘He’s upset because they just blew it just like I’m upset as a fan.’ They would say ‘He relates to the fans.’ He doesn’t relate to the fans by his body language. The fans can’t feel you.”
“When you have that smile and you come out of the tunnel doing the Michael Jackson dance and the score is zero-zero – are you kidding me?” said the oldest man to ever hold a middleweight boxing title. “You’re dancing and doing all this moonwalk and the score is zero-zero and you’re saying, ‘I’m ready.’ I told people McNabb needed to go three years ago and they were, ‘Oh, you’re hard on McNabb.’ Now the same people are saying, ‘Oh, you’re right. He needs to go, he needs to go.’ “
Hopkins finished his rant by accusing McNabb of believing he was above his teammates.
“He’s the guy inside the house who gets the extra food, the extra clothes, he gets treated a little better,” Hopkins said. “Now, the guys that are outside picking up the corn – they get treated a little different outside. But the house all of a sudden got upset, because he’s not playing well and [McNabb] wants to know, ‘Why you all doing this to me? . . . Why are people in personnel talking about me? I’m one of you, right?’ Are you kidding me?
“So he . . . goes on HBO and you talk about racism. He’s going to go and speak about racism, about who has to go above and beyond because they’re African American, than [the] other quarterbacks. . . . He’s right about that. [But he’s] the wrong messenger.
“You know when O.J. became black? When he was facing life. That’s when he became black. That’s what these guys do. They get wrapped up in this world. See, Tiger Woods knows he’s black now. All that other bull, ‘I’m half this and I’m half that.’ – all right, Tiger, what color are you now?”