Salon: Cam Newton ‘Unapologetically Black,’ Could Be ‘New Face of NFL’

Sunday may be for the Super Bowl, but Saturday was without question the day for shameless race-baiting and divisive agenda advancing.

Enter Salon, who penned an absurdity titled, “Cam Newton is becoming the face of the NFL — and that scares the hell out of the racists who’ve been trying to tear him down:”

“On Sunday, Peyton Manning will take the field for what will likely be his final NFL game. Manning may be hobbled, waning and dogged by allegations of PED use, but a Broncos victory would be the ultimate grace note for one of football’s great careers.

Except nobody’s talking about Peyton Manning’s chance at a memorable exit. Instead, the run-up to Super Bowl 50 has focused almost entirely on Panthers QB Cam Newton, who this season established himself as the most dominant, galvanic and charismatic figure in the league.”

What? No one is talking about Peyton Manning’s “chance at a memorable exit?” How about everyone is talking about Manning’s chance at a memorable exit and riding off into the sunset like John Elway.

But I digress. The article continued:

“Newton, who has overcome early questions about his judgment, maturity and accuracy, lead Carolina to a 15-1 record while overshadowing nearly every other story in football. The putative MVP is also a born pitchman, striking the perfect balance between excitable and cool. Cam Newton also happens to be proudly, unapologetically black.

Cam Newton wouldn’t be the first African-American signal caller to win a Super Bowl. That distinction belongs to Doug Williams, who won with the Redskins in Super Bowl XXII. But given how prominently Newton’s race has figured into the conversation, it feels like he’s the one on the verge of breaking one of sports’ last remaining color lines. A win for the Panthers would make Cam Newton into the new face of the NFL. And because Newton is so comfortable with being himself at all times, this scares the hell out of some people.”

“Cam celebrates vociferously after a big play, dabs on the field, and plays with a joy and expressiveness that’s almost alien to football’s grim, militarized landscape. He rocks Louboutin footwear and pals around with rappers like Young Jeezy and Future; his speech is peppered with phrases that are new to the ears of many Americans. And then there’s his omnipresent smile, which, depending on who you ask, is either life-affirming or unbearably smug. If Cam Newton wins a Super Bowl, he becomes the new face of the NFL and in the process changes the complexion of football. And this scares the hell out of some people because Cam brings with him a level of cultural baggage—and the possibility of sweeping change—that’s not supposed to creep into this conservative, hidebound game.

That’s why, all season long, we’ve seen an increasingly desperate campaign to discredit Cam Newton. As Greg Howard detailed in his excellent history, black QBs have long faced undue criticism and resistance. They’ve been dismissed as “running quarterbacks,” or convinced outright to convert to another position. Phenoms like Randall Cunningham and Michael Vick shattered the convention but could be easily marginalized for it. At every given turn, there were questions about their legitimacy, based on the stinging assumption made that African-America athletes just don’t posses the range of skills needed to fill football’s single most important position. The fear of a black quarterback, as Tommy Craggs put it, has always been assuaged by finding creative ways to minimize their performance.”

It should be noted, the “desperate campaign” to discredit Cam Newton has thus far primarily consisted of an angry mother in Tennessee who wrote a letter after Newton annihilated her football team, and a group of fans in Seattle who have circulated petitions to get Newton banned from their stadium. Because he….wait for it…beat their team. So the motivations of the Cam detractors are pretty darn transparent and have absolutely zero to do with race. Which is why the Salon article has to swerve into generalized criticisms of black quarterbacks, many of which are no longer valid, as opposed to citing any actual incidents of racism towards Cam.

Also trivial is the idea that it’s Cam’s celebrations that seem to be indicative of his blackness. By this definition, Johnny Manziel would have to be considered more black that Russell Wilson. And Manziel, who is obviously white, was far more hated than Cam has ever been at Carolina.

Furthermore, where did this idea that Cam becomes the face of the NFL if he wins the Super Bowl come from? You know, there’s this Tom Brady guy out there. He’s still pretty good. Might want to check him out Salon.

The article wrapped-up thusly:

“Except at this point, Cam Newton’s play is beyond reproach. What makes him so subversive is just how un-subversive his play is at this point, how readily he could slide into that role of quarterback of record. Newton has grown into the ultimate modern QB and succeeded to such a degree that his on-field credibility simply isn’t up for debate. That’s why his critics have been forced to resort to a culture-based critique of the Panthers superstar. The very qualities that make Cam Newton an unprecedented figure in the NFL have, at least in theory, become points of contention. He’s arrogant, pompous, loud, showy, lacking in humility, a walking sideshow. His shoes are too expensive and his pants are too bright. One Tennessee mom wrote a letter to the editor calling him an unfit role model and, implicitly, a hyper-virile menace to society.”

Yep, he’s a menace alright. A menace that was awarded a Heisman, voted MVP, was selected #1 overall in the draft, and was given a monster contract extension by the Panthers.

Can I be a menace too?

Race Issues Salon Sports