What a difference a year makes! Last year, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton famously said, that racism doesn’t exist in his America, and that we should all be, “beyond that.” Fast-forward a year, and Cam Newton is singing the praises of the biggest racial activist to hit the sports world, since Muhammad Ali.
Newton was recently quoted in the Charlotte Observer, discussing last weekend’s NFL protests ,and specifically Colin Kaepernick. Consistent with his wildly inconsistent flip-flopping on the issue of race, Newton, who did not participate in the protests last weekend, lauded Kaepernick and the movement he started.
Newton said, “My hat goes off to the Colin Kaepernicks of the world. He’s made the ultimate sacrifice (as a player) and I respect that wholeheartedly. I can’t let a moment go by without shedding light to that: A person that does have the talent to play, a person that should be in this league, but I feel as if he’s not getting his just due because of his views.
“But that’s a legend, right there. For him to think outside of himself, to raise awareness of something that, this is 365 days removed from his first initial stand, and now here we are doing the same things. And now everybody is kind of understanding what his reasoning was, and I respect that.”
According to the Observer, Newton didn’t participate in the protests last week because he said that he felt he hadn’t fully processed the issue, both the protests themselves, and the comments from President Trump last Friday in Alabama. Where he called athletes who protested the anthem “SOB’s” and said he wished their team owners would fire them.
However, it’s far more likely Newton didn’t participate due to money and endorsements, as opposed to not “processing” what was going on around him. Cam Newton is an extremely intelligent quarterback, fully capable of processing any situation. However, looking at the endorsements lost by players this week. In addition to the angry fan reaction that has come against the league, and plummeting ticket sales. Newton, who has several major endorsement deals, likely decided that it made better business sense for him to sit this one out.
A very good call on his part.
Newton closed in traditional Newton fashion, by trying to argue both sides of the case. Specifically, by emphasizing that while he doesn’t see racism, due to his status, that doesn’t invalidate how others who have less than him feel, or something.
That doesn’t mean where I’m from, they don’t see it. How I view things, it’s not the Cam you see (before you) today. I often remind people of where I’m from – I’m from Atlanta, Ga., by way of College Park. And it’s a lot of stereotyping, it’s a lot of cultural division, so to speak, in those areas.
So the person that I am now, if I were to see a person of a different race, of course I’m going to get their best behavior. But when you go back to those sides of College Park, of East Point, Ben Hill, Bowen Homes. … A person growing up, walking down the street may not have the same cushion, so to speak, from a policeman. That’s what I mean.
I feel like it’s my job, my duty, my fine print as a person that people do look up to and people love to critique, that I represent those people knowing that we haven’t been getting our just due.
And I would want the people from the top to understand that as well as the bottom understand the top. It’s going to take us to come together and unify.
I think we can unify behind this, Cam Newton is one heck of a politician.