I still remember one of the most talked about aspects of the Super Bowl last winter when the Carolina Panthers failed to deliver on their seven point favorite status and were pretty much blown off the field by an aging quarterback on the verge of retirement. (And it wasn’t the fact that Denver’s win gave me a 6-5 victory over Ed Morrissey in the post-season segment of our annual NFL prognostication series.) The game was a shocker to be sure, but the post-game press conference brought a lot of flack for the Panthers’ all-star quarterback, Cam Newton. During the presser he looked sullen and gave short, clipped answers which didn’t impress many fans as being particularly sportsmanlike. In fact, he came away with something of a reputation as a sore loser.
That memory is put into rather sharp contrast when you check out a recent interview that he did with GQ. As Hot Air alumnus Mary Katharine Ham reports at the Federalist, the reporter did his level best to make Cam’s story all about race, politics and the Social Justice Warriors, but Cam wasn’t going to be put in that pigeonhole.
Let’s start with the writer, Zach Baron, who asks Cam about race in America and the North Carolina bathroom law, doesn’t like the answers he gets, and conjures different ones for Cam.
An honest question: Can you name a contemporary athlete who has been subjected to more veiled and sometimes outright racism than Cam Newton? Is this even a controversial opinion, to think that Cam lives in a world of coded and not-so-coded critiques that basically boil down to resentment about the existence of such a sublime black quarterback?
Mary Katharine picks out and highlights the various efforts Baron makes to draw Newton into some sort of blanket accusation of racism against the league, the fans and the world at large. Surely those must be the challenges which define his role as the premier black quarterback in the league, right?
Not so. Cam simply sees himself as one of the premiere quarterbacks in the league, not just a black quarterback. If you all want to focus on race, that’s on you, not him. (Emphasis added)
GQ: Do you feel like football fans are racist toward you?
‘It’s not racism. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.’
GQ: So if it’s not that, what is it, do you think?
‘I’ll let you be the judge. I don’t look at it like that. I look at it like some people have certain beliefs, and I have my own belief, and we can agree to disagree on certain things. But this is what makes sports so amazing, that we can start a discussion around a table, in the newspaper, in the magazines, that will get people’s attention. And that’s what sports does.’
GQ: In January, right before the Super Bowl, you said: ‘I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to.’
‘I don’t want this to be about race, because it’s not. It’s not. Like, we’re beyond that. As a nation.’
Great job by Mary Katharine in catching this tidbit and identifying how sports media is, at least sometimes, trying to turn NFL coverage into the same circus we see in politics. Unfortunately for Cam Newton, those frank answers aren’t going to win him any friends in the SJW movement. Still, the guy has a positive attitude and what seems like an innate ability to keep the story all about the game and the team and not politics which only serve as a distraction to the sport.
Sure, he may have been a bit surly after losing the Super Bowl in February. Who wouldn’t be? Perhaps he could have masked it a bit better, but if that’s a sign of anything it’s a big ego, not a social justice complex. And if I were Cam Newton I probably wouldn’t’ be able to fit my head through a doorway. The man still has an arm like a rocket launcher and the prowess of a Pro Bowl running back to boot. Of course, I still hope the Jets can kick his butt, but that’s a story to take up when Ed and I renew our NFL series in a couple of weeks.