Christian McCaffrey believes his race plays a role in the way he's perceived as an athlete. The Stanford star recently told Sports Illustrated that his athleticism isn't fully appreciated because he is white.
"When you read about white athletes these days and white skill possession receivers specifically, one word you'll always find is tough," McCaffrey told the publication. "You'll rarely see explosive, athletic, stuff like that. ... You get a little bit upset: 'I ran the same 40 as this guy, and you're calling him ... .' People do the eye test and underestimate me, so I do play with a chip on my shoulder."
McCaffrey broke the NCAA record for all-purpose yardage in a single season last year, as he amassed 3,864 yards. The record was held by Oklahoma State and Detroit Lions great Barry Sanders, with 3,250 yards. McCaffrey's exploits as a rusher, receiver and return specialist earned him a trip to New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist last season. He was one of only two running backs at the FBS level to rush for more than 2,000 yards (2,019), along with Alabama's Derrick Henry (2,219).
Still, McCaffrey doesn't feel he gets his due as an athlete.
"There are immediate stereotypes about a white running back who grew up in the suburbs of Colorado," the elder McCaffrey said. "When we've gone to camps or all-star games, he walks on the field and people look at him like he's nothing."
The comments from both McCaffreys came near the end of an extensive feature on Christian's upbringing, family and success as one of college football's elite players. With two more years of college eligibility remaining, he still has plenty of time to alter any perceptions about him that he believes are unfair.
His next opportunity comes at home against Kansas State when the Cardinal opens its season on Sept. 2.