Cam Newton: A Fall From Grace

Just two years ago Cameron Jerrell Newton was on top of the world. Winning football games, scoring touchdowns at will, having his A-Town brethren, rappers Future and Jeezy on the sideline during pregame, winning NFL MVP honors and leading his team to the Superbowl all while dancing and dabbing on the competition. Yes, Cam was essentially untouchable. Black people everywhere defended and protected Cam against any and all criticism as if we were his offensive line. We needed Cam to stand tall in the pocket and continue doing it "for the culture." We all defended and protected Cam when people like Rosemary Plorin, a mother of a then 9 year old daughter and fan of the Tennessee Titans accused Cam of behaving like a spoiled brat because he would dance and celebrate his touchdowns. Saying that because he’s a role model he should do better. Ms. Plorin even went so far as to say that Cam’s celebrations caused Panthers fans to taunt the home Titan fans. "Some Panthers fans in our section began taunting the hometown fans" she wrote in a letter to Cam, as if that hasn’t happened at just about every sporting event since the beginning of professional sports. Some even defended his somewhat immature handling of his post game interview when he prematurely walked out of the press conference after losing the 2016 Superbowl. Rewind even further, back to his college days when he was arrested for stealing another students laptop. The community even defended him by saying things like, "well if he were allowed to make money then he wouldn’t have stolen anything." Yes, Cam was our star and we had no problem coming to his defense.

Until recently, however. In 2016 amid a lot of racial tension here in America complete with white police officers killing unarmed black people, riots and protests, Cam had the audacity, the unmitigated gall, to actually say that, "racism is dead." That is effectively the moment when we, black people had no other choice but to let the pocket collapse around our once beloved Quarterback. At a time when we needed (and still need) our people that have a platform, some influence and possibly, most importantly, a prominent voice, to use that voice to speak for us. Cam chose to go the opposite way. Cam chose to let his football team hire Frank Luntz a political consultant from Fox News of all places, to coach him on speaking about race. To put it in simpler terms, Luntz was brought it to teach Cam how not to offend white people. And the proof is in the vanilla pudding.

Cam Newton was the athlete who always spoke about being himself and doing things his way. In a 2016 interview Cam said "I am who I am, I know what I’m capable of and I know where I’m going and I don’t have to conform to anybody else’s wants for me to do. I’m not that guy and I’m happy to say that." Now if Cameron is sho he says he is, why would he need anyone to coach him on how to speak about race? Why does he feel the need to go out of his way to make white people comfortable? Some would argue that by doing so, conforming is exactly what he’s doing. When Cam burst onto the scene, a lot of not so black people weren’t ready for what they were seeing. Which was a big black dude, running, throwing, dancing, smiling, and dominating the NFL at Quarterback position. Black people everywhere loved it and had his back which is why so many were hurt and disappointed by his racism is dead comments. For the guy who once 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." It seems like he’s made a drastic change in his views." Or maybe his views are the same and he’s just protecting himself and his money instead of using his voice to speak for his people. Which is worse? You decide for yourself. Either way, Cam you’ve hurt the community.

Like what you read? Give Mike Rhone a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.