Although racism is by no means a new topic in today’s society, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton took an opportunity to openly discuss the issue during one of the many press conferences ahead of Super Bowl 50. More specifically, the NFL star explained what he believes is the motivation behind all of his haters.
According to the NY Daily News, Newton cited racism as one reason why so many people disapprove of his actions during and outside of games. For Newton, the color of his skin scares people more than his skills on the field because he does not fit the traditional molds of a quarterback.
“I’ve said this since Day One,” Newton shared. “I’m an African-American quarterback that scares people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to.”
Newton and his Carolina Panthers are gearing up for a final showdown between Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Sunday, February 7. In addition to his comments on being an African-American quarterback, Newton added that he doesn’t think people fully comprehend who he really is.
“I think it’s a trick question,” he stated. “If I answer it truthfully, it’s going to be ‘Aw, he’s this or that.’ But I will say it anyway: I don’t think people have seen what I am or what I’m trying to do.”
For the most part, Newton has managed to stay out of trouble ever since entering the league. However, many people have expressed their dislike over his excessive celebrations, which have been named “dabbing,” and his in-game demeanor.
However, even the coach of the Panthers, Ron Rivera, has backed up Newton’s in-game celebrations. After all, as Rivera aptly pointed out, football is just a game.
“I think some people believe you should be stoic when you play this game, but a lot of people disagree and think you should have fun,” Rivera related. “This is a kid’s game. I know there is a lot of money involved, but at the end of the day it’s about entertainment. If you aren’t enjoying yourself, don’t play the game — it’s that simple.”
— Slate (@Slate) February 8, 2016
Rivera took his support a step further and explained that Cam Newton does not want to viewed in terms of his race. Instead, the young quarterback wants to break down these barriers that have existed in the game for a long time.
“I don’t think he wants to be known as an African-American quarterback,” Rivera stated. “He wants to be known as a quarterback. I think that is what drives him, to be able to transcend those boundaries, which I think is great.”
According to The Washington Post, Rivera shares more in common with Newton than one might think. While Newton will become only the sixth African-American quarterback to start in a Super Bowl, Rivera is only one of two coaches of Hispanic descent to have appeared in a Super Bowl.
Given their similar circumstances, there is little doubt why Rivera can speak so intimately about one of players.
Meanwhile, the Huffington Post is reporting that Newton’s comments have climbed the headlines as the media prepares for one of the biggest weeks in sports. In turn, fans have taken to social media to express their support for Newton and his stance against racism.
Although some fans still dislike Newton and his in-game antics, fans are likely to see more of them when the Panthers take to the field in Super Bowl 50. If they end up pulling out a win against Manning and company, then Newton might be on his way in ushering in a new era and style of playing the game.
The Carolina Panthers take on the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 Sunday, February 7 on CBS.
Tell us! Do you think Cam Newton being an African-American quarterback scares football fans? Let us know in the comments below.
[Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]