I have to wonder if Karl Rove formed his lifelong political strategies as a young man watching football. After all, his political years started in the late 1960's, around the same time the Caste System was coming into its own. OK, so maybe that's a bit of a stretch, but whenever I hear the term "upside" used about athletes, I can't help but think about the cornerstones of Rovian politics. For those unfamiliar, Rove likes to employ two primary strategies(besides the usual political staples of lying and cheating): Attack your opponents strengths, as though they are a weakness. Transfer your own weakness to your opponent. (Just as a frame of reference, think back to the 2004 Bush/Kerry campaign, and the whole swiftboating episode, and how Bush's weak military experience managed to become Kerry's in just a few months in popular perception. Enough of Presidential politics, though) The essence of talent evaluation in the NFL has been consumed by the same sort of twisted logic. And it has been supremely successful. Consider the traits we most commonly see associated with players of different races: Black athletes get to have upside, White athletes get to be hard working. "Hard working", a positive White trait, has been corrupted into meaning that someone has peaked, and cannot become more than what they are now. Upside is a word used to convince the sheep to ignore all logic and statistics, and to just believe that one athlete is going to be more special than any reality indicates. Hard working vs Upside I probably wouldn't get much of an argument around here if I said that work ethic is a trait your average White athlete has more of than your average Black athlete, but I believe it goes much deeper than that. In terms of an athletes potential to get scouted to the next level, from HS to college, or college to the NFL, the term "hard worker" is actually a good example of a black weakness that has been transferred to, and is used against White athletes. When you are gauging a players potential upside, who possesses more? Take two players, both put up comparable numbers in HS/College, both are of similar size, measurables, etc. Kid 1 has focused on nothing but sports their entire life so far, blew off school, put their entire future into the possibility of making it to the pros. Kid 2 was a well rounded kid with many interests, who put effort into both school and sports, knowing that even if he didn't make it to the pros at least he would still have a future. Who probably has more upside? It's obvious to me that if both athletes have similar output, that Kid 2 possesses more potential "upside" when you consider that he hasn't even truly dedicated himself to the sport yet, and is managing to put out comparable numbers to his peers who sold out 100% to athletics at a young age. While there are exceptions to every rule, I think it is obvious which race's athletes have a tendency to fall under which of those 2 examples. Then of course there is the biological reality that Whites physically mature at a slower rate than Blacks. Again, logically, who possesses more "upside," the kid who puts up his stats from playing HS ball against kids, of whom half of them were biologically a year younger than himself, or the kid who put up equivalent numbers while half of the players he played against were a year more physically mature? From all of that, I believe your average White kid possesses more upside, while your average Black kid has probably put more single minded effort into playing sports at the school level. The Rovian Caste System has attacked the White strength of upside and given it to Blacks, and has taken the Black weakness of being illogically focused purely on athletics from a young age, and has transferred it to White athletes as a backhanded compliment. The same thing has happened to the very nature of athleticism. Whites are very well rounded athletes. How many times do we see a kid put up amazing all around numbers at a pro day or combine only to have his athleticism questioned? He could be in the top 5 of his position in virtually all metrics and would be attacked, and torn down by the media for the one he was 6[SUP]th[/SUP] in. His one dimensional Black counterpart puts up a good 40 time and the fact that he is a low endurance weakling who struggled on agility drills is forgotten. From strength to weakness, from weakness to strength. It was bad enough when I joined CF and started recognizing the code words, the backhanded compliments against productive white players, and the undeserved praise and second chances heaped on mediocre would-be criminals. Now that I've started viewing everything through the lens of corrupt political games... reading scouting reports, DWF posts, and MSM sports articles has become downright depressing. Thanks for indulging my rant. edit: maybe I should have put in the media stereotyping forum.