Red-headed quarterback out to break color barrier

Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton is still facing some of the same questions that black quarterbacks entering the NFL Draft have long had to deal with.

At least he can look to those who have gone before him for guidance.

The same can’t be said of the potential discrimination facing Andy Dalton, who is apparently trying to break through his own color barrier.

A four-year starter at quarterback for Texas Christian, Dalton led the Horned Frogs to back-to-back undefeated regular seasons and a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin in January.

He did just about everything one could ask of a college quarterback to prove worthy of being drafted in the NFL.

Still, a Sports Illustrated report says at least one coach has doubts about Dalton’s readiness for the league based strictly on his appearance.

“Has there ever been a red-headed quarterback in the NFL who’s really done well?” the coach asked. “It sounds idiotic, but is there any way that could be a factor? We’ve wondered.”

Dalton is projected as a second-round pick, but with a little help — and possibly an endorsement deal from Clairol — he could be a surefire first-rounder.

■ READING IS FUNDAMENTAL — Connecticut’s remarkable run through the Big East and NCAA tournaments is the kind of dramatic tale that is more than likely to be turned into a book one day.

Just don’t expect the Huskies’ Kemba Walker to read it.

According to a Sports Illustrated cover story on the likely NBA lottery pick, Walker had never read a book until he got through one while leading his team to the NCAA championship.

The 20-year-old is set to graduate in three years but is quoted in the magazine as saying the only book he’s ever read is “Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete,” by William C. Rhoden, which Walker read for an independent study course on racism in sports this semester.

The revelation prompted former UNLV standout J.R. Rider to call Walker a nerd.

■ OH, CANADA — If the financially strapped Phoenix Coyotes end up moving to Winnipeg, Manitoba, this offseason, the team will probably have to do so without its best player.

Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who will be a free agent, made clear his feelings on the Canadian town after he struggled as the Coyotes were swept by Detroit.

“You don’t want to go to Winnipeg, right?” Bryzgalov told a reporter. “Not many people live there, not many Russian people there. Plus, it’s cold.

“There’s no excitement except the hockey. No park, no entertaining for the families, for the kids. It’s going to be tough life for your family.”

This from someone who grew up in Russia.

Bryzgalov has been to Winnipeg only a few times, when he was playing in the American Hockey League. He said he would rather go back to play in Russia than relocate to Winnipeg.

COMPILED BY ADAM HILL
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

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