ESPN’s Max Kellerman is intent on scoring as many bat guano points as possible before he takes his exit from the daily First Take program. On Monday, he suggested that chess is a racist game because the white piece always starts the game first. He made this brilliant deduction while discussing whether or not the San Francisco 49ers should exclusively play their Super Bowl-veteran, white quarterback, or rotate him with a rookie of mixed race.
You read that right.
Jimmy Garoppolo is San Francisco’s white, veteran starting quarterback who took his team to the 2020 Super Bowl. It’s not as if he’s chopped liver as a QB. Trey Lance is a rookie of mixed race, the third player taken in the 2021 draft. “Mad Max” suggests the 49ers transcend NFL tendencies by rotating these two quarterbacks, as they did in their final exhibition game.
In Kellerman’s fertile mind, chess provides the background for this strategy, which would also assure the 49ers of overcoming racism. See if you can follow this crazy “logic.”:
“You can innovate. But this ain't the way it's always been done. I think you take a risk by innovating, not if you're in a position where you don't have the horses, right? You've got to do something. You've got to have an asymmetrical kind of strategy. If you play chess and you're the black pieces which always goes second, go figure, right? If you just do the theoretically strongest move every time, you're always a step behind. The white pieces will start first and you have to do something asymmetrical to throw off balance. ..."
Coach Kyle Shanahan said he opted for a situational quarterback strategy in the 49ers’ final exhibition game. The First Take panel discussed whether or not they should employ this strategy during the regular season.
Weighing in on Kellerman’s bizarre comments, the lefties at Mediaite concluded he was clearly pointing to racial bias in chess.
Mediaite’s Brandon Contes wrote Kellerman’s football point infers NFL teams need to be innovative when they lack the pieces to succeed in a traditional way. “In chess, the person with black pieces is at a disadvantage by going second, therefore they need to play more innovatively. But his chess observation about the ‘black pieces, which always go second,’ clearly pointed to a racial bias existing in the centuries-old board game.”
In three exhibition appearances, Lance completed 19 of 41 passing attempts for 276 yards and had very minimal rushing yardage. Not enough to supplant Garoppolo as starter. Or to mount a charge of racism in the team’s quarterbacking decisions. It’s about the team and winning, not who plays first or second.
However, Kellerman insisted that Lance has a good upside and a good resume. How many more days until Kellerman leaves First Take?