Let’s turn this around for the ESPN crew: OK, when you look at Christian McCaffrey, who and what do YOU see? What about his name? What about those high-school videos with him playing at Valor High Christian school near Denver? What about his active, outspoken Christian parents, including his NFL pro dad? Might these factors play a role in this in-depth story probing the mystery that is McCaffrey?
Apparently not. Here is a sample of the content in this totally faith-free ESPN report on this young Christian named Christian. This scene is set on an airplane:
The intensity of this kid! There’s an immersion and stillness and deep rhythmic groove he achieves as he traces with his right index finger the motions plotted out for him and his teammates while also quietly incanting their mnemonic tethers. White. Sixty. Ox. Robin. One row over, one of McCaffrey’s teammates, smirking, unburdens himself. It’s silent but deadly ”“ a weaponized, wet-velvet, all-but-visible wave of flatulence that warps the air of the cabin. I exclaim Save us from Satan while pulling my shirt collar over my nose and mouth. Others around me do the same (more or less). But not McCaffrey. No, McCaffrey is in his bubble, impervious, tracing, incanting, learning, maintaining his rhythm: After “finishing” a given play, he moves on, then returns exactly five minutes later to test his retention.
It’s not the intensity that I’m loath to disturb but the earnestness. It somehow seems of a piece with his regard for the flight attendant making the safety announcement, quietly touching in the same way. I table my voice recorder for the moment and open a notebook. Perhaps because McCaffrey happens to be a pretty good self-taught pop-song pianist (again, see YouTube), I scribble this mincing fancy: Like a conservatory piano student working his way through a Chopin ?tude. The instant I do, though, another, even less appetizing, phrase bubbles up to consciousness. That phrase.
He’s a student of the game. You know it well. We all do, and what it’s code for: He’s white.