Happy Friday Addicts! Well, I’m not going to waste too much time here. We’re at a lull as far as NFL news goes, but there is little doubt as to what the Lead Story is for this week…
Lead Story: Is Racism the Reason for Cam’s Haters?
This past week saw a major story line emerge ahead of the Super Bowl. When superstar quarterback, and likely NFL MVP, Cam Newton was asked why he still faces so much criticism, his response was: “I’m an African-American quarterback. That might scare some people. Because my skillset isn’t like anybody else.” The response has obviously caused a lot of talk among sports fans and media.
First off, there are two major truths here. The first is that Cam does face a lot of scrutiny despite putting up amazing results this year. It seems ridiculous that a guy can throw for 3800 yards and 35 TDs (with only 10 INTs) while running for another 600 yards and 10 TDs, all while leading his team to a 17-1 mark and the Super Bowl, and still face criticism like he does. The second major truth is that we haven’t seen anything like him before. There has never been a quarterback as physically dominant as Cam Newton. But again, that’s hardly a reason for criticism. So what is it?
Well, it would be ignorant to say that race doesn’t play some factor for some of his critics. That doesn’t mean it’s everyone, but living in South Carolina, I know for a fact that there are many who do base it on race. I can overhear their drunken ramblings in the sports bars. So, to at least some degree, Cam is right. However, I would argue that there are more reasons than that. There are a number of things about Cam that people don’t like that have nothing at all to do with his race.
“I’m an African-American quarterback. That might scare some people. Because my skillset isn’t like anybody else.” ~ Cam Newton on his critics
One of those is that Cam doesn’t play the game like other quarterbacks. He doesn’t deliver the big play and then walk off the field. He doesn’t just hand the ball to the ref (though there are a lot of lucky kids out there that are happy for that). Cam likes to celebrate. Some people see that as him being cocky or arrogant. However, I disagree with that viewpoint. It would be one thing if he were gloating just to rub it in the face of his opponents. But when you watch Cam from a distance, that doesn’t seem to be the case. We’re talking about a guy who plays almost every down with a smile on his face. A guy who interacts with the fans every chance he gets. A guy who is well-liked by his teammates. None of those things say “me first” or “bad sport”. What they show me is exactly the kind of thing that I hear fans clamoring for all the time…a guy who treats football like a game. Cam Newton is out there having fun.
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Of course, that leads to what I think is the real source of his criticism. When Cam Newton is having fun, the other team, and more to the point their fans, are not having so much fun. I would imagine that the source of the “Cam hate” has more to do with the color of his jersey than it does the color of his skin. There’s just going to be some natural hate from opposing teams and their fans. It happens with Chiefs fans and Peyton Manning…and
Worst Day Ever
er Phillip Rivers.
Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall had a different take. Marshall stated that it’s a generational thing. He believes that Newton is just representative of a new age of how players act. There’s some validity to that (see: Travis Kelce). And that’s something that can often be picked up on when talking to fans. From my own experience talking about Newton with fans, I have certainly noticed a generational gap between the critics and the fans.
But whatever it is, there’s really only one answer to it…go out and keep winning. If Cam adds a Super Bowl trophy by doing the same thing he’s been doing, that will go a long way in silencing some critics. If he adds another one or two, it’ll crush even more. But it will never go away. Just ask Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, who both still get plenty of criticism.
Next: Browns Draft Plans