Cam Newton is the latest dynamic Black quarterback to emerge on the National Football League scene. This year Newton will undoubtedly be the NFL’s MVP. His Carolina Panthers team only has one loss this season and is the favorite to win the 50th Super Bowl that will be held next weekend.
Lately whites in America have been criticizing Cam Newton for celebrating his scores and his wins. After touchdowns, he smiles, dances, cheers, shows approval of his teammates, and hands out balls to hopeful children in the stands. All around, he is a class act. So what’s the problem exactly?
In the U.S., a country where the majority of white people struggle to let go of their race hangups, the white media has a problem that Cam Newton is African American. Having a Black face as the nation’s spotlight–even in football–is an issue for the kind of image the nation wants to create.
Opposed to Black masculinity, happiness, and success, the white U.S. media desires to create a villain out of Cam Newton before he takes the stage on the Super Bowl, in the same way they launched a sudden attack on Marshawn Lynch when the Seattle Seahawks were unstoppable for two seasons.
For some odd reason, it makes many whites in America uncomfortable to see a Black person who is happy.
Keep in mind that this is a historical reality. When white Europeans brought Africans to Native American shores and began enslaving Africans, whites watched them closely and prevented them from displaying emotions openly.
On slave plantations, Africans were not allowed to laugh in the presence of whites. To get around this intense surveillance, Africans newly in America would place their head in barrels (with the pretext of getting something)–to laugh, express humor, and revel in delight, away from white judgment, scrutiny, suppression, and brutality.
So this attempt to stifle Black joy and emotion, attacking Cam Newton for being happy and for celebrating, is not a new occurrence in relations between the two races. It is merely a trend in whites’ incessant attempts to control Black behavior.
To see the double standard, white quarterback Aaron Rodgers was given endorsements and television commercials based on his touchdown taunting (not celebration like Cam Newton). After scoring a rushing touchdown, Rodgers engages in pelvic thrusts to simulate donning a championship Belt.
Cam Newton, however, whose team has only lost one game this entire season, is told he should tamp down his joy. If any white quarterback only had one loss in an entire season, he would be depicted as a phenom, a hero, or a blazing talent in U.S. media. But there is an active attempt to avoid talking about Cam Netwon’s talent, hard work, accuracy, finesse, and intelligence. All because he is African American.
Former NBA star Charles Barkley criticized ESPN’s coverage of Cam Newton and how the network is shaping Netwon in comparison to his upcoming Super Bowl opponent white quarterback Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos. Barkley remarked:
“ESPN has already started their crap about black versus white, good versus evil. And I know a lot of those fools over there got radio talk shows really but you can just see they’re framing this narrative: black versus white, good against evil. It annoys the hell out of me.”
ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith also warned that white race baiters on would do everything they can to spin Cam Newton’s success in a negative light.
In addition to desiring Black unhappiness, whites in America have historically feared Black excellence. They see it as a return to Africa’s greatness and consequently the end to their empire’s global reign.
Even more important than football wins and also bringing him greater joy, Cam Newton just welcomed a child into this world. On that topic, white haters and trolls want to say that he and his partner are unmarried and the child is born out of wedlock–as if that remark should somehow carry any relevance or damper his excitement.
It comes as no surprise there was no such criticism when Tom Brady, the white quarterback of the New England Bellicheater Patriots, had a baby out of wedlock and then immediately abandoned his baby momma to marry a supermodel.
Yet alone the fact that “marriage” is increasingly less important than being around and supportive for the child. We know from thorough research that Black fathers spend more time with their children than do white fathers or fathers of any race in the U.S.
But whenever a Black man is successful, powerful, influential, around, or just plain happy, there will always be white people hoping to tear him down, so that they can feel better about themselves.
Fortunately most of us enjoy Cam Newton’s unprecedented success, and when he dances and celebrates, he smiles–and we smile too.