Cam Newton made news yesterday by answering a question.
He was asked why he is so polarizing.
Translation - why do some people like you and some people don't.
Uber translation - "Why do some people love the way you dance around in the endzone and why do some people absolutely despise it?"
If you ask 100 people this question you will find sports purists who react disdainfully to endzone antics and those who love some good entertainment (it is sports, people - have some fun).
Better yet - ask the people he is playing against and they probably don't like it in the moment.
This was his answer:
"I've said it since Day 1, I'm an African-American quarterback,"
“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,” (see full story here)
Are we really going back to this? Is it really about race? Because for me it wasn't.
Well, first off - there have been a lot of standout black quarterbacks we can compare Cam to:
That is the short list.
Six black quarterbacks have been to the Superbowl. This is the fourth in a row starting a black quarterback - it is old news. But it seems like we can never get beyond race because people keep bringing it up.
His coach Ron Rivera said,"“You think in this time, this day and age, it would be more about who he is as an athlete, as a person more than anything else. Hopefully we can get past those things.”
Guess what? We can't. Why? Because Cam reminded us that race is the issue.
Saying it is about race is like saying Tebowing is all about being white. Tebowing made some people upset because it was not a part of their culture - but it had nothing to do with the color of their skin.
And really, when you infer that his endzone dances are somehow a black thing that is what sounds more racist than anything I can think of. I don't assume because you celebrate in the endzone that you are black. Dancing when you score a point does not necessarily correlate to being black. Barry Sanders. Emmit Smith. Wilbert Montgomery. All black - not prone to the endzone dance. Maybe part of his culture - but not a product of his pigment. Saying otherwise is patently racist.
Ty and Koy Detmer - both white quarterbacks celebrated touchdowns in the most ridiculously uncoordinated manner ever seen in another human. I mean it was embarrassing.
But it wasn't their race - and people were disgusted with them too.
Maybe we can learn something from Morgan Freeman:
When asked how we are going to get rid of racism:
Stop talking about it. I'm going to stop calling you a white man. And I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You're not going to say, "I know this white guy named Mike Wallace." Hear what I'm saying?
Loud and clear.
And yes, I Snopes'd Freeman's comments here.