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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson may have made a statement with his uniform choice Sunday. A week after San Francisco 49ers broadcaster Tim Ryan said Jackson’s “dark skin” helped him hide the football, Jackson wore white sleeves with a white glove against the Buffalo Bills.
That could be a complete coincidence, or it could be Jackson’s way at commenting on the controversy. Jackson hasn’t shied away from responding to questionable statements. Following his Week 1 performance, Jackson told reporters his numbers were “not bad for a running back.” It was an obvious dig at draft evaluators and team personnel who didn’t believe Jackson could succeed as a quarterback.
Wearing white sleeves and a white glove isn’t as overt as Jackson’s Week 1 comments, but it’s in the same vein. The 22-year-old Jackson chose to wear those particular articles of clothing a week after 49ers broadcaster Tim Ryan said Jackson was more effective at hiding the ball on option plays due to “his dark skin with a dark football with a dark uniform.” Ryan apologized and was suspended for a game by the 49ers.
Jackson hasn’t opted for sleeves or gloves often in his career. He wore sleeves once last season, in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Those sleeves were black. In the Chiefs game, the Ravens were wearing white uniforms, so Jackson’s choice of white sleeves against the Bills wasn’t necessarily an issue of matching sleeves with his uniform. The Ravens also wore white uniforms against the Bills.
Though Ryan’s comments resulted in a suspension, some members of the 49ers defended Ryan. Cornerback Richard Sherman and defensive end Dee Ford said they don’t believe Ryan was offering up a racist comment. Sherman said Ryan was making a valid point, but could have used more appropriate words to make that point. Ford also said Ryan could have used “better judgement.”
Jackson got the Ravens out to a 10-6 lead in the first half while wearing the sleeves. When he emerged from the locker room for the third quarter, however, Jackson was no longer wearing the sleeves.
Jackson was asked about removing the sleeves after the game, and gave no hint that he wore them in response to Ryan’s comments. Jackson said he wore the sleeves because it was cold, and took them off at halftime because he felt hot.
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