Last week as the Carolina Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton Led his team to yet another win to lead his team to a 9-0 record. That 9-0 record is the best start the Carolina Panthers have had in team history. Newton has elevated his play the past two seasons to deservedly put his name in conversations about being one of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL today. But it seems he still has some detractors. And the main detractor I want to speak about is the mom who wrote a letter that went viral with her complaints about Newton celebrating with a dance after scoring a touchdown and how she thought it a bad example for her child who she brought to the game last Sunday.
Although she had a change of heart after she heard Newton’s reaction to her letter (and probably because of the responses she received via social media) I still want to try and get to the root of her issue with what Cam did. First and foremost as a former athlete I understand what sportsmanship is about and good conduct. But I also know about gamesmanship as well and I a believer that If you don't want someone to celebrate after scoring, then as a defensive player, it’s your job to stop him.
It’s a simple as that. Say what you want but as a defense your job is to stop the other team from scoring and if you fail to do so then you have no right to be angry at your opponent for celebrating, rather you should be angry at yourself for failing to do your job. As for the lady, Rosemary Plorin, who wrote the letter complaining about Newton and basically questioning his character for his celebratory behavior, where was her letter to other players, such as players for her home team the Titans when they celebrated?
Why is it that Cam Newton is criticized for his leadership abilities and character for antics after a score but someone like Aaron Rodgers is lauded and even gets an endorsement for his celebratory behavior? I won’t go as far as to say that she was consciously making a judgement about Newton because of race but I will go as far as to say that it may have been an unconscious judgement based on race. One that was formed and developed because of the constant conditioning that we all face at the hands of the media and a society that says a successful black man can’t celebrate his success, rather he should be humble and just feel grateful to have an opportunity. Society has deemed that young black men always be humble but their successful caucasian counter parts be given the license to revel in their success.
Well I disagree, I want consistency. If I have to be humble then so should my counterparts. If my counterparts are allowed to revel in their success then so should I and vice versa. Listen, when you work hard to achieve a goal and you reach that goal, then you’ve earned the right to do whatever it is that you want to commemorate that achievement as long as it's not harmful or disrespectful to anyone else. Dancing in an end zone is hardly either of those things. So why make a big deal out of it? And why don’t we call employers, peers, and etc. out on this very issue when we see them directly or indirectly placing this double standard upon minorities?
These subtle forms of racism are just as dangerous and the overt forms. After all, a wise man once told me that “It’s the small fox that destroys the vine.” Meaning that the little unassuming issues can be more detrimental than any others because their harmless nature is often able to go unchecked, further rotting away at the foundations of relationships, institutions, so on and so forth.
It’s like the meme that shows the picture of the African American children holding hand guns and the white children holding rifles and alludes to the different perceptions that people have when seeing the same images but with people of different races and how it seems to elicit different emotions or opinions about those people. Will you be someone who can be consistent in your biases or will you be the issue? Will you allow the small fox to destroy the vine or will you protect the vine at all costs from all who attempt to destroy it? The choice is yours. You can either be conscious to these issues and help to extinguish them or you can help perpetuate the problem. Please wake up and choose wisely. So just like I would tell you after I scored and celebrated, I'll say to you now, "What are you going to do about it?"