Count Warren Moon among those who took serious issue with the controversial “homework clause” removed from Kyler Murray’s five-year, $230.5 million extension with the Cardinals last Thursday.
In a conversation with TMZ Sports in the days since the clause’s removal, the Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback blasted Arizona for the initial addition of the stipulation to the contract, calling it an “unfortunate” and “embarrassing” situation for both the franchise and its 24-year-old cornerstone.
Moon, who infamously spent the first six of his 23 years as a pro in the CFL after going undrafted in 1978 following a standout collegiate career, then called the much-maligned addendum a “slap in the face to all African-American quarterbacks.”
“It’s something we were always accused of back in the day when they didn’t let us play,” said Moon, the only Black QB inducted into the Hall of Fame. “That we were lazy, that we didn’t study, that we couldn’t be leaders, that we weren’t smart. So all those different things just kind of came to the surface after we had put all that stuff to bed over the years and just because of this deal that’s gone on between Arizona and Kyler.
“So yeah, very embarrassing.”
The “independent study” mandate, which Arizona axed a week after the contract was announced amid a flurry of public criticism, required Murray to set aside four hours of film review each week during the season. It also stipulated that the star QB must spend extra time studying in preparation for games outside of team meetings, and would only receive credit if he is actively engaged with the material sans all distractions.
The strong public reaction to the clause, which was reported four days after the extension, eventually led to its removal on July 28, a move the 65-year-old Moon believes will ultimately mean little in the grand scheme of things.
“The damage has been done,” he said. “He’ll have this riding on him every time he does something wrong in a football game. They’re going to say, ‘See, that’s the reason why that happened is because he didn’t study enough film last week,’ or whatever it might be.
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“So, yeah, it’s a very unfortunate situation for him and very embarrassing for both sides.”
Moon’s take on the homework clause echoed sentiments shared in responses from pundits and fans alike to the news in the past week. As the wave of criticism and question marks surrounding the situation continued to surge, Murray openly challenged naysayers during a surprise press conference held hours before Arizona altered the deal.
“To think that I can accomplish everything that I’ve accomplished in my career and not be a student of the game and not have that passion and not take this serious, it’s disrespectful and it’s almost a joke,” Murray said in part, per Bob McManaman of The Arizona Republic.
On Friday, Patrick Mahomes came to Murray’s defense after fielding a question after practice asking if he felt he is evaluated differently because he is Black. The Chiefs star cited the plight he, Murray and other Black QBs like Lamar Jackson face while looking to forge their path in the league.
“Obviously the Black quarterback has had to battle to be in this position that we are to have this many guys in the league playing,” Mahomes said.
“Every day, we’re proving that we should have been playing the whole time. We’ve got guys that can think just as well as they can use their athleticism. It’s always weird when you see guys like me, Lamar, Kyler kind of get that on them when others don’t. But at the same time we’re going out there to prove ourselves every day to show we can be some of the best quarterbacks in the league.”
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