Dear, you. Yeah you. The social knuckledragger with latent 1950s racial partiality in 2016. I need to tell you something in the same way you seem to think you can vex others.
Ok, maybe I started that out a little harsh. But really, can we move on from this? This notion of “it’s NOT about race, [insert comparison with cloaked bigotry in an attempt to prove one’s actions are superior to another’s].”
Carolina Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton is on the heels of closing out a historic season. His 17-1 team is favored to win Super Bowl 50 and all so many seem to worry about is his behavior on the field. In case you’ve been under a rock, Cam’s famous for dabbing and/or dancing in some way after either a big play or scoring a touchdown.
Well, apparently it isn’t to everyone. Take Rosemary Plorin of Nashville, Tennessee who wrote an open letter to Newton late last year after attending a Titans home game that hosted Newton’s Panthers.
After laying the smackdown on her beloved team (which ended a futile 3-13) Plorin felt it necessary to pen an op-ed shaming Cam for dancing and “taunting” other players after scoring touchdowns in the endzone she was sitting behind, all veiled under the rationale it scarred her fourth-grade daughter. She had to answer her unspeakable questions like “is he trying to make people mad?” or “do you think he knows he looks like a spoiled brat?” as if no one else was celebrating, and the vulgarity of fanhood only existed in provocation to Cam Newton’s actions on the field.
Well, Mrs. Plorin, have you or your daughter ever considered turning on a TV? Because you would see that behavior across all games during every NFL Sunday. You’d see J.J. Watt, who after every sack dances in his own trademark way in celebration of slamming a quarterback on the ground. You’d see Packers QB Aaron Rodgers using his own famed wrestling belt routine not only during a game, but also in subsequent State Farm Insurance commercials earning millions of dollars off of it.
But let’s be really real. Your daughter wasn’t really scarred by Cam’s actions. You don’t really have an issue with players celebrating. You have a problem with a black man being himself and acting in a way he deems appropriate. You use the same infallible logic to express phony outrage as those who criticized Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman for being a “thug” in interviews where he doesn’t express himself as a perfect “role model.” Oh by the way, he grew up in the streets of Compton, got accepted to Stanford via a football scholarship and graduated with a 3.8 GPA. But what are deciminating facts for people not looking for them.
“It’s NOT about race” said Broncos fan and now former Twitter user Katie Siegel, who thought it would be dandy to post a split picture of Peyton Manning in a suit and Cam Newton wearing officially licensed team gear with a caption reading, “Peyton is dressed for success & Cam dressed like a thug for interview with ESPN.” What makes this utterly terrible is that Cam isn’t even dressed like a “thug,” which he has every right to be (in whatever outfit that would look like) as a free American. But let’s not pretend this is something new. Cam Newton is only the latest target among a bevy of black players in all sports where unless you behave, you’ll get chastised all in the same universe under which white players continue to remain free to act as they select.
@siegel_katie oops looks like you tried to delete this Katie Siegel. Let me help keep it in your search results. YW😘 pic.twitter.com/6WM8pp7viV— GLOWBOSS (@VanessaVeasley) February 1, 2016
I watch football every Sunday, and I love it. I watched Cam Newton destroy my Seattle Seahawks three weeks ago and yelled every obscenity at him every time he crossed the goalline as any devoted fan would. But as the game came to a close and the realization set in that my team wouldn’t be heading back to the NFC Championship Game, I further acknowledged Cam’s skill as a player. Here’s another man who’s been through the ringer of life and has faced some of the most immature and unnecessary criticism during his best season ever. When DJ Khaled says “they” don’t want you to win, he’s talking about these fake offended outragers who have nothing better to do than to criticize someone winning, all while revealing an unbeknownst intolerant characteristic about themselves.
“They” don’t care to acknowledge the footballs Cam Newton hands to kids in the stands after every score. Or the countless hours he spends at hospitals during the offseason and numerous other charitable activities he’s involved in. Nope, they would rather place themselves on an unearned holier-than-thou pedestal to blow a dog whistle they and their like-minded social regressives can get off to.
It isn’t your kids that you’re worried about when you act more childish than they do. Stop telling successful black men how to behave when they’re hurting no one. We’ve caught onto your wordplay now, b and it ain’t slick. But keep trying.
And Cam, keep dabbin’ on ‘em.
Paul Meara is a Columbus, Ohio native and resident. He’s a fan of Cam Newton’s dab because it’s 2016. He’s also written for Billboard, Complex and HipHopDX, among others. Follow him on Twitter: @PaulMeara
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