The Super Bowl doesn’t kick off for another ten days, but we already have our first dumb play. On Wednesday, Cam Newton, the consensus MVP pick of every expert on the planet, told the Charlotte Observer that all the vitriol directed at him by opposing fans and players is essentially the result of him being black.
I’m gonna throw the challenge flag on that one, and there’s no way I lose the challenge, assuming these aren’t replacement refs.
Here’s the direct quote Cam gave to the Charlotte Observer when discussing the criticism he’s faced this year for the way he plays the game: “I’ve said this since day one. I’m an African-American quarterback. That may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare it to.”
Cam would a perfectly valid point if the year were 1950, but in 2016, when 70 percent of the players in the league are black, it seems a little silly to play the race card. This is like saying nobody likes you at the Country Music Awards because you’re white. (Although it could happen to Rachel Dolezal.)
Hello: Black Stars Are Nothing New to Football
As far as the “we’ve never seen a quarterback like him” claim, he’s all the way wrong on that, too. Randall Cunningham was a scrambling QB with a big arm. Michael Vick was one of the most dangerous QBs (and dog sitters) we’ve ever seen. And let’s not forget Warren Moon, Steve McNair, Russell Wilson, and Doug Williams. All black quarterbacks, all stud players, all embraced by the league and its fans.
Newton is the sixth black quarterback to start a Super Bowl, and his appearance in this year’s game marks the fourth straight year we’ve had a black QB starting for a Super Bowl team. So to say he’s scaring fans because they’ve never seen anything like him is a blanket accusation about other races, not his own.
The one thing Cam is doing that’s unique to him is dancing after just about every big play he makes. His dance of choice is called The Dab, which is meant to represent someone coughing after taking a hit of marijuana. When Cam “Dabs,” it infuriates some opponents—and I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it’s not because of his pro-weed stance. (I’ve got the league’s list of failed drug tests to back me up.)
You see, to a lot of players, Cam Newton plays like a showboating a–hole. And in the heat of battle there are no white showboating a–holes, or black show-boating a–holes, there is only the United States of Show-Boating A—holes, with Cam being the president and his teammate, Cornerback Josh Norman, being VP.
This Is About Cam’s Dancing, Ya’ll
Cam’s over-the-top style of play has even caught the eye of NBA types, with Charles Barkley telling ESPN between sandwiches, “As much I love Cam, if I played against him I would put a hit on him, no question. Because they [The Panthers] rub it in pretty good.”
Charles isn’t racist for wanting to “put a hit” on Cam, and neither are any of the white players who want to join him. No opposing player or fan has ever liked a showboat in sports since the beginning of time. And when the showboat in question wins his way to the biggest stage, the hate is only going to intensify, regardless of color or creed.
I’m not denying that some people are rubbed the wrong way by the fact that he’s black, but let’s leave the Oscar’s voters out of this. The truth is, most people have no problem with the way Cam Newton plays. They find it refreshing because the NFL has gone to great lengths to legislate the fun out of the game.
You might be one of them. I am. Seriously. If he wants to taunt a bunch of 300-pound killing machines, that’s his problem, not mine. All I ask is that he doesn’t cry racism if he ends up wearing a white cast, because somebody is gonna pop him. If his on-field confrontations this season are any indication, it’s going to be a black player.
Newton is a phenomenal football talent, but he should leave the social justice crusades to someone else—because if he made any point with his comments, it’s that before we have the big conversation on how to end racism, we need to first have a discussion about what it is.