Cam Newton, the quarterback for the Super Bowl bound Carolina Panthers, is just coming off of a stellar year, ending the regular season 15 – 1, reigning victorious throughout the playoffs and trouncing the Arizona Cardinals 49 – 15 to win the NFC Championship game. Now, Newton and his team are headed to the Super Bowl to play Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
One would think that Newton would be praising the wonder that is America, where someone who has worked so hard to be on the top of their profession could succeed at such monumental levels. But, he’s doing the exact opposite.
Cam’s personality is boisterous to put it lightly. He has described himself in the past of being just like a kid when out there on the field. He loves to have fun. He loves to celebrate. The quarterback, affectionately known as Superman because of his crazy and superhero like actions on the field, is the complete QB package.
He can run. He can throw. He can evade defenders. He’s a big guy so he can hit – hard – much harder than many other quarterbacks. But, for many, his over the top celebrations, his imitation of Superman and dabbing overshadows his talents.
Yet, Newton views criticism of him as America simply being afraid of a black quarterback.
During his weekly press conference at Bank of America stadium, Newton said, “I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing they can compare me to.”
They haven’t seen nothing they can compare him to? Does Cam Newton think he is the only black quarterback in the league? Does he think he is a groundbreaker, a pioneer like Warren Moon of Seattle Seahawks and Houston Oilers fame who opened the door for black quarterbacks in the NFL?
Back in the days of Warren Moon, the concept of a black quarterback was unheard of. So, despite his collegiate success at the University of Washington, he went undrafted and spent a few years playing in the Canadian Football League and proving himself. His entry into the NFL became a gamechanger for black quarterbacks.
Maybe Cam Newton has never encountered the Minnesota Vikings’ Teddy Bridgewater. Perhaps he didn’t witness the media hype and fan excitement over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Jameis Winston.
Was he by chance wallowing in self-pity the last two years that he missed the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson leading his team in two Super Bowls, winning his first ever Super Bowl appearance and coming one play away from a repeat victory just one year later?
In fact, when Wilson was drafted, he went in the third round because people were concerned about his size. Seattle recognized Wilson’s incredible skill set and ability. He could run. He could scramble. He could throw. He could evade defenders. He was a true leader. He went into training camp as the third-string quarterback and was made the starter by the beginning of his first season. He didn’t complain about people being afraid of a black quarterback. He didn’t whine about not going until the third round blaming it on height or race discrimination. He simply set out to do what he knew he could….play the position of quarterback in a spectacular manner.
For Cam Newton to play the race card, playing into the ‘white people are afraid of a black man’ bigoted narrative is ridiculous. It’s a slap in the face to those who came before him, who paved the way for quarterbacks such as Newton, Bridgewater, Winston, and Wilson.
Were it not for Warren Moon, who knows, there may not have been a Cam Newton.
Other black quarterbacks like Doug Williams, who was the first black quarterback to lead a team in the Super Bowl but also won, deserve the respect of Newton, rather than Cam acting like he is the trailblazer.
Since 1990, there have been at least five black quarterbacks in the NFL every single season, many of them starters.
Instead of putting forth his best effort to bring out his inner Al Sharpton, the quintessential race baiter, Newton should instead be paying homage to all those who paved the way for quarterbacks in the league who happen to be black.
Hey Cam, making any criticism towards you, your performance, or your sportsmanship be about the fact that you are black and claiming that it ‘scares people’ is not only insulting to those who paved the way for the black quarterback in the NFL, and those other black quarterbacks who take the field each week, it is also insulting to the fans who pay good money every season to watch you play.
Come on, Cam Newton. You’re better than that. Or at least, I hope you are.