We’d never go so far as to expect Jets WR Derrick Mason to be soft-spoken. But it took us by surprise to hear Mason — an offensive player, mind you — tell NFL Network that the league has a double standard when it comes to protecting quarterbacks.
Mason doesn’t have a problem with Michael Vick‘s rant that game officials treated him differently than other QBs. But while Vick has since backed off those comments and taken the politically correct stance, Mason is backing the beaten-up (or down) Eagle. Not only that, but Mason is perfectly willing to call it as he sees it.
“Vick has a point. I’m hoping he didn’t back off his words,” Mason said Thursday. “There are some quarterbacks in this league you can’t get close to; if you hit them, a flag is being thrown. Then, there are some quarterbacks you can hit after they’ve released the ball. That’s just the way this league is. You see it each and every week.
“I’m not scared to name any names. People like (Tom) Brady, (Peyton) Manning, (Drew) Brees … quarterbacks like that, who are very, very good and have won championships, you can’t touch them. If you do, a flag is going to get thrown. That’s just how it is, that’s the way our game is being ran now. You can’t touch the franchise guy.”
Of course, there’s a flip side to this issue. Mason went on to say he also sees quarterbacks receiving too much protection, which he says he witnessed firsthand in Week 3 when teammate Muhammad Wilkerson was flagged for roughing the passer for bumping Oakland’s Jason Campbell.
“That flag — and I’m going to call a spade a spade — that was probably the worst flag I’ve seen in a very long time,” Mason said. “That was not warranted. But in this league, they’re taught to protect the quarterbacks. And you can’t touch them after they release the ball. Wilkerson barely even hit him. It was more so like a, ‘Hey, what’s up, how you doin?’ The refs threw the flag. Some weeks, you see stuff like that not called, and then some weeks, you see stuff like that (that is) called. I think when you do something like that, you just have to be consistent as a ref and you have to call it both ways.”