To read part one click here. TO read part two, click here.
The interview picks up where we left it last time, talking about whether or not a black person would ever root for a white underdog. As many of you know, Bernard made some disparaging comments about Donovan McNabb in February after the Eagles lost the Super Bowl.
“I’m disappointed at how he reacted the last minutes of the game, just walking up to the line. If you’re sick, take yourself out and put in the man on the sideline…T.O., he was playing with a broken leg. I mean, come on, man. I had a dislocated shoulder when I fought Antwun Echols and he slammed me down in our second fight. But I kept fighting.”
McNabb was unruffled. “You know, in a situation like this, if it’s T.O. or Bernard Hopkins, if it’s whoever may decide to take shots, the whole offseaon, the best way to handle it is to be yourself and being able to understand what is at hand. What’s at hand is for me to be prepared and ready to go to lead this team to a Super Bowl win.” Apparently not a McNabb fan, Bernard doesn’t hold back in this one either.
Johnny: I’m a big Donovan McNabb fan, and I don’t think it’s only because he’s our cities quarterback, I think it’s also because he’s the underdog. For so many years you heard that blacks couldn’t be quarterbacks. And now you’ve got a guy who’s one of the top three in the NFL. So I think there’s a sense of, people in America, whether they’re black or white, they appreciate that and they want that guy to succeed.
Bernard: (Talking about McNabb) He blew it. He blew it for that era and he might have blew it for his career. See, I’ll show you how I know my history. That’s already proven it’s not true. Look at Doug Williams, who also won a championship, and it hasn’t been done since. Donovan McNabb says the right things. See, TO is Bernard Hopkins in football, and Bernard Hopkins is TO in boxing. Donovan McNabb is Jermaine Taylor. Their boy. See, you got the American Dream, and you got the American Boy. They gonna tell him what to say, how to say it. You gonna have a segment once a week, you’re gonna get somebody’s kid to hold your football pads and they’re gonna show you walk to the locker room with Bob’s son. “Oh, look he’s a great kid.” They’re gonna say that. The same thing with Jermaine Taylor. “Aw, he’s a great kid, he’s a great kid.” What is this, a white person’s nickname for calling a guy’s name? “Jermaine Taylor’s a great guy. Jermaine Taylor’s a great man, Jermaine Taylor’s a great husband.” But I hear, “Jermaine Taylor’s a great kid.” My grandmother’s 93 years old, and she told me what the definition of kid is.
Johnny: Is it a goat baby?
Bernard: It ain’t good. It’s degrading. Some people might say, there’s nothing degrading about that, that’s the way white folks talk. DiBella called him a stud. “We got one of the best studs in boxing.” What is he, a horse? But this is that forefather’s stuff. They didn’t live in that era, but they benefited from it. Now how are you gonna rectify it? Not all the way, but let’s talk. The kid. I’m TO, Taylor is Donovan McNabb. He comes across the way they want him to. He comes across the way they want him to. He comes across the way they want him to. There’s a way they want you to be, and you have a choice as to whether you want to follow it or not. TO believes, and I feel for the brother because I feel the same way in my situation, and I proved that I was right, that you don’t have to let me them scare me and have me thinking that I have to part of what they believe is the American way to be. I gotta compromise my pride and my principles.
Donovan McNabb is their boy. Donovan McNabb is what they want they want to show the world what you should be like. I love TO, man, for doing that. I know the stances. I might not agree with everything he do, but I agree with about 99.9% of the things he’s done.
Johnny: But he signed a contract.
Bernard: He had to. The owner’s making more money. Without TO, they won’t win a championship. The man got 130-some yards with screws in his legs. Is it easy to say if he was healthy, they would have won a Super Bowl? I say yes. Yes, he signed a contract, but that doesn’t mean he can’t ask for more. Nothing in the contract that says, “You can never ask for nothing.” He did what any opportunist would do. He asked. He knew the Eagles were desperate and they needed him. Didn’t work. He’s back on the field. He’s playing now. Scored a touchdown, they love him again. This is a strange town. These people out here ain’t never gonna get me. It ain’t that I’m too smart or too slick, it’s that I know their game. “Bernard, you don’t go to bars, you don’t drink or smoke?” Nope. “Why? You need to have some fun.” Yes, I have fun. When I look at where I came from, when I look at old jail pictures. Everywhere I go, I got an old jail picture, just to remind me where I’m from, just to stay focused. I got one here. Wanna see it?
Bernard pulls out a photo of himself in 1989, before the Mercedes convertible and the penthouse were even a dream. The penthouse, it must be said, is stunning. On top of a building in the Art Museum area, it had an unparalleled skyline view of the entire city. On a counter as I headed out, I noticed two books. One was about the Cubs, the other one was about NASCAR. Not an easy guy to put in a box or to categorize. That’s why I like him so much, even though I respectfully disagree with several of his opinions.