Is race a factor in the criticism of Cam Newton?


It’s a question that has been lurking throughout much of the season, hiding between the lines of the attention-seeking letters to the editor and even goofier petitions to ban him from certain NFL cities, petitions which some in the media even more goofily have dignified by writing and talking about them: Is Cam Newton’s race a factor in the criticism he receives?

Answering that question requires first acknowledging that Newton is criticized on a statistically-significant basis. Many think he isn’t, and that much of the debate comes from the reaction to criticism that simply doesn’t exist — but for the attention-seeking letters to the editor and even goofier petitions to ban him from certain NFL cities, petitions which some in the media even more goofily dignify by writing and talking about them.

For the most part, fans currently either like Cam Newton or are ambivalent about him, which hardly makes him polarizing. Still, there’s a misguided perception that Newton receives as much criticism as he does praise, and he was asked during a press conference on Wednesday to explain why he has become more of a “lightning rod” this year (even if the lightning really isn’t there).

Here’s the full answer, via “I think this is a trick question because if I answer it truthfully, it’s going to be, ‘Oh, he’s this, that.’ But I’m going to say it anyway. I don’t think people have seen what I am or what I’m trying to do, and I said that prior to me being in this situation. But when I said it then [the response was], ‘Oh, he’s immature. Oh, he’s young. He’s this, that and the third.’

“It’s like I felt a certain type of way then, I feel the same type of way now. Nothing’s pretty much changed. They talk about maturity with me; they talk about skillset with this team. Nobody has changed. It’s been the same Ted Ginn that was drafted by the Miami Dolphins. It’s the same Jericho Cotchery, the same Philly Brown, the same Cam Newton. Nothing’s changed. The only thing has changed is that we’re winning.

“I said it since Day One: 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. It’s funny, I get inspired — it makes me go out there and practice even harder because I remember when I was working out for the draft. I would see the Senior Bowl playing and I see these guys out there busting their tails trying to get drafted, try to have a job to provide for their family or themselves. And it’s like, here I am, I’m doing exactly what I want to do, how I want to do it and when I look in the mirror, it’s me. Nobody changed me. Nobody made me act a certain type of way and I’m true to my roots. It feels great, but yet, people are going to say whatever they want to say. And if I’m in this world living for that person — ‘Oh, this person is going to say this, this person is going to say that’ — then I can’t look at myself and say I’m Cam Newton, or I’m Cameron Newton to most people. Because I’m not because I’m living for you.”

Maybe, then, Cam Newton believes he’s a “lightning rod” not because he has noticed it personally (as he said, he’s living for himself and not for the rest of us) but because he is assuming that reporters and others are telling him he’s a “lighting rod” and he has no reason to disagree.

Regardless of whether it’s a handful of outliers or a quasi-mainstream view, it would be nice to think we like or dislike quarterbacks based not on how they look but what they do and how they conduct themselves. There are few quarterbacks more truly polarizing than Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, who have roughly equal numbers of fans and enemies. Ultimately, they’re both loved and resented for the success they’ve achieved, personally and for their teams.

So maybe the truth is that people are mistakenly assuming that Newton has equal parts friends and foes for now, However, once Newton starts sliding rings onto his fingers he’ll be received like the great white quarterbacks have been over the years: Fans of his own team will love him, and fans of the rest of the teams will hate him.

136 responses to “Is race a factor in the criticism of Cam Newton?

  1. When race is brought into the discussion by the subject, it’s always an issue in their own mind. You want race to not be an issue, don’t bring it up and dismiss it when it is brought up. Cam says after the race comments “… there’s nothing that i’ve done…” . How about acting like a professional and not showing up your opponents? How about not stepping over defensive players 4 or 5 yds past where you landed on the defensice side of the ball to signal a first down. How about not doing the “look at me” Superman shirt stretch on the road in your opponents building. How about not taking selfies with teammates during games…
    There is a lot you can do Cam starting with acknowledging your major part in the whole thing. Then act more like a professional by not showing up your opponent.

  2. Absolutely it is. Even if people won’t admit it to themselves. If he was white he would be the new golden boy of the NFL.

    He doesn’t do anything to deserve such criticism. He’s not doing anything wrong. He’s just having fun playing the game.

  3. The only people who criticize him are the fans of the teams he has beaten. That’s pretty much par for the course whether you’re black, white, or blue. All this faux outrage is absurd. No one “hated” him when his team sucked the last few years, it’s only this year when he started beating people.

  4. Are we talking about the same sports fans that got excited about Tiger Woods? Fans don’t all agree on what they hate about Newton. I guarantee it is not about his color (for most), but primarily how he conducts himself. The celebrations are in complete contrast to Barry Sanders. You could compare the annoyance to what some feel for Tom Brady, yet both disliked for different reasons. And, it may not be about race but culture.

    Do Carolina fans love him, despite his color? Of course. He’s doing fine, besides. Why make an issue of it sportswriters? Or, do you secretly hate him? Want to see him fail?

  5. I think that the QB of any team takes heavy criticism once they start being successful. If race plays a factor here, I honestly think it’s that the media’s narrative.

  6. Cam does come across as strange.
    His superman thing is obnoxious, and he said he didn’t know who won the AFCCG.
    His donkey kong comments were strange, and he really seems to still feel insecure while living the dream.

  7. Well, it’s not very fair for anyone to consider race as a factor in criticizing someone ability or success (or lack thereof).

    For example, Russell Wilson is regularly criticized for being too short to play the position, he runs too much so he’s going to get severely hurt, he wears his religion on his arm, he’s not black enough…

    …wait, what?

  8. Race has nothing to do with it for me… Cam is immature, and his excessive celebrations are my exhibit A. Exhibit B is when things aren’t going his way on the football field he starts shouting obscenities towards teammates and coaches… I’ve heard some of the audio, so I’m not making it up. Russell Wilson is also a black quarterback, yet holds himself to a higher standard as a leader both on and off the field. Cam Newton could learn a thing or 4 from him.

  9. In a “perfect world” I would say, “No, absolutely not!”, but we don’t live in a perfect world, do we? I can honestly say for myself, I am a very fair skinned, white woman, and I would love to say, that it wouldn’t matter if he were green or blue. That would be a complete and total lie. He is a beautiful, black man. Sometimes my husband has to tear me away from the television when he is on. The man has charisma that is infectious and that is what scares so many. I LOVE that he LOVES the game, just like I LOVED that Favre LOVED the game, you know?

  10. This is honestly one of the dumbest arguments around. Somehow we cheer for black linemen, WRs, RBs, etc but a black QB is offensive? Seriously?!

    How about I don’t like anyone that dances, jumps around or overall doesn’t play the game with class and race has zero to do with it.

    Let me know when you’ll see Brady or Manning do that stuff.

  11. Please know I am not making light of the subject matter. But just like Cam, I’m trying to make the best out of a situation that has become about some others’ ugliness and not about the true love of the game of football and a man just trying to do what he loves and make others happy while doing it!

  12. I believe African Americans are so obsessed with race that everything great that has been accomplished by not just black athletes but in every profession in life loses some of it’s luster . Too often the race card is played and in most instances nothing is further from the truth . I want Denver to win the Super Bowl so I guess myself and every other Denver fan must be racist. Whatever. The fact is I am fans of some athletes and not of others . Some are white some are black. So what ? It’s like the Main Street media loves to throw gas on a fire. There are many blacks who are racist and they are not called out. Why is that? So what I would say is there are white people who are racist. There are black people who are racist . Those who are should not get any slack . However the majority is not and we all need to get over it. God made each and everyone of us and I am sure he wants all of us to spend more time loving Him and less time chasing what if’s. God bless Cameron Newton and God bless Payron Manning. Both God’s children . Amen

  13. He’s the most productive QB in the NFL right now. There should be no critisism of him personally, as he’s been a solid citizen since he’s come into the league. Racism? I usually cringe at that excuse, but it may be viable in this case. He’s made the self aggrandizing TD dances into a spectacular for children handing them balls as souvineers when most players stuff them in trophy cases. His talent speaks for itself. Mind you, I thought he was a punk when he was in college. Maybe he was, but he’s grown into a fine man now. A credit to a sport where criminals with talent so often disgrace it.

  14. As you said, people criticizing other team’s QBs is as old as the hills. Some of these so-called fans call Brady a cheater, and Manning a choker. They call Newton something else.

    It doesn’t make them racist, they’re just using another hateful term to describe someone else’s QB.

  15. Stop it. I’m so over the “Is it racism? Is it racism? Is it racism?” bull crap. No. It’s not freaking racism. It’s ok to celebrate after a big play, but the guy goes above and beyond in showing up his opponent and takes it into the realm of classlessness. The worst though is that this guy rips banners and jerseys and other paraphanalia out of the hands of fans that are paying his salary. Very classless. If you want to go over to the fan, and talk some trash in a fun way back and forth, fine. But to snatch an expensive item from someone’s possession and then run away is childish at best.

  16. If Newton has grown up, and left the man baby that he acted like publicly behind, then good for him. But, to blame people’s dislike of him on race is such a PETTY COP OUT. Were the players at the 2011 Pro Bowl actively trying to hurt him because of race? Or, was it because he was a huge jerk to everyone there?–nfl.html

    What about maybe THE WORST interview an NFL QB has ever given, where he disrespectfully called a female reporter “sweetheart”?

    Combine stuff since he’s gotten to the NFL with his scandalous college career, and anyone rational should see that to call it a racial thing is extremely petty and self righteous. I will be the first person to shake my head at a confederate flag, or a cop that discriminates based on race…but the fact that this this Cam Newton race thing is a story is sad. Just like the BS with the Oscars.

  17. Oh oh, I am just here for the comments, this should be interesting. Could that be the reason sure, could the fact that he dabs and has fun, or the fact that some fans have such miserable lives that they hate on anything.. who knows. Just have fun and enjoy life man, you cant please anyone.

  18. Race could be a factor. Personally, I’m not a fan of showboating by anyone in sports. Guys go ape after catching a simple pass or making a tackle. Hot Flash from the newsroom: It’s your job. It’s what you’re paid to do.

    Win the game, then celebrate instead of acting like every common play just won the Super Bowl for your team. Grow up.

  19. It’s not race …it’s his middle school theatrics that turns off so many…He’s a talented kid who needs to match his maturation with his talent. If you want to talk about race let’s talk about Russell Wilson, if he was white what would we be saying?

  20. Of course it’s about race, at least partially. It’s the same reason you see way more vitriolic comments about Obama. It’s thinly veiled (sometimes) but it’s definitely race.

    -white dude

  21. I think it has more to do with Cam’s personality than race. I really like the guy, and I say that as a die-hard Cardinals fan. I watched him win a BCS Championship. I pick him in my fantasy leagues. But I think the thing about him that bothers me at times is limited to some of his antics on the field. I can understand guys making angry gestures and stuff during games. Even BeastMode’s crotch grab is entertaining in a way. But Can tends to come across with this smiling sense of smugness that he is SO much better than everyone else that I think it bothers people at times. Kind of like if a guy hits a home run in baseball and stands there smiling as he watches it fly out of the park. He can look like a guy a little too enamored of his own success at times and I think viewers and some other players see that as showing up the other team. Sometimes I think he would be better off just kicking some butt and then sitting back down like it is no big deal instead of smiling and celebrating like he just won the lottery every time he scores. People would find it more respectful of the other guys playing the game and would appreciate the humility. Think more Warner and less T.O.

  22. .
    by what i see and hear i thought i was the only one on the planet that disapproves of his antics… i’m happy to learn that i am not alone!

    he is a truly gifted athlete and his game is pretty to watch…however he is only 1 of 53 team members. he comes off as being very selfish and disingenuous…i dont mind giving balls to kids but i think he does it more for his TV face time than for the children but more importantly it is a disgusting display of disrespect to see him run on the field during a defensive time out… obliviously the coaches cannot control him and if i were on the field and he pulled a move like that it would probably be the last time he pulls that stunt…it may also be my last stunt with that team as well but i could not standby and watch my team be disrespected … Black white blue green…notwithstanding.
    I watched less than 8 minutes of the championship game because he makes me sick to my stomach.
    i hope he gets the much needed help he truly needs

  23. He’s a great talent, but I’m not a fan because if all kids started showboating like him, watching games would make me puke.

  24. If all of this “lightning rod for criticism” stuff is what motivates him,then so be it. All I know is that I am in awe when I watch him do his thing on the field. He throws accurate lasers from his front or back foot,standing still,or on the run.It seems like he exerts little effort while doing it. He can do things with his legs that are amazing,although he needs to cut out the front flips into the end zone. He makes the most of what he has for receivers,which really isn’t the best corp the NFL has seen. I don’t have a problem with him “dabbing”,doing his Superman thing, and I love to see him give balls to little kids. The guy is a one of a kind. No,my team did not make it to the big game,but Cam Newton will still make it worth watching. He makes everyone around him better. It should be a fun game to see.

  25. When the cameras show Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, or Russell Wilson on the sidelines during the game, they are studying photos or tablets of the defense. When the cameras show Cam newton, he is leading cheers or staring at the game with a towel on his head. He seems to lack the professionalism to study.

    In the playoff game with the Seahawks, Wilson was leading Seattle to a 4th quarter comeback. If they had made the last touchdown drive good, Newton would have had to lead the Panthers back. But was he studying and planning? No. He was standing there by himself, watching the game. Yes, they won but they were fortunate because Newton was not preparing to do his job if needed.

    Reactions toward him have nothing to do with him being African-American. Wilson is African-American and leads the League in jersey sales. People respond well to Wilson’s professionalism. I dislike Newton’s lack of professionalism. He is an extraordinarily talented individual who doesn’t work during the game.

  26. It doesn’t matter who I am I get who Cam Newton is. He was a thief in college, then he was a baby about losing. Then he grew up even if he doesn’t want to admit he changed. Now he’s winning. Celebrations are dumb for routine plays. I’m rooting for Cam because Tebow likes him and Elway is due more Karma for not going with a proven winner.

  27. Manziel,even minus the substance abuse and bad choices,could never hold a candle to Cam Newton. Newton injects fun into the game. I don’t see anything wrong with it. People who don’t enjoy his antics should at least try to appreciate how gifted the guy is. I can’t think of one QB who compares to his skill level. it’s not even close.

  28. If a white quarterback is criticized, why is racism never brought up then?? Has it really gotten to the point that we can’t criticize someone who is black because we will be deemed a racist? Just like the oscars. Oh yeah we should just give out a certain percentage of awards to each race, let’s take the merit based part out of it completely. Fools.

    Liberals and their PC everything is ruining this country. And no I’m not an old man – mid 20s. It’s getting ridiculous.

    Off my soapbox now.

  29. I think if people really knew what went on in the college recruitment process, they would be a little dissapointed in cam. That reputation has stuck with him. The payouts, cheating cover ups, arrests and shady things that happened at Florida. I saw some of this first hand and Cam got away with some heavy stuff. That made people leary of him. His behavior was a legitimate issue. Race may have a subtle effect, but let’s not pretend that he didn’t have legitimate issues because he’s suddenly the best player in the game. We all the potential was there, but his honorably was rightful questioned. 8

  30. It’s OK Cam. People Still Like U Even If U R An AssHat. Race Can B A Factor On Both Sides Of The Aisle. With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility Act Like It. Your Too Good Of A Player 2 Act Any Other Way PS Super Bowl MVP’s Don’t Either

  31. Of coarse it’s a factor, it’s always a factor. Always will be. That’s life. People will always view those they can not relate to culturally different than those they easily identify with.

  32. From snap to the end of the whistle I often find myself in Awe of the way Cam plays the game, and can take over a game, whileI try to appreciate what he does, and I don’t mind celebrating, but I think its easy to see he over does it, and its contagious. The players picking off Palmer and walking side by side flexing muscles or whatever. The good news is I will take a drink every time he Dabs, or the show one of the other Mannings in the SB so I will win either way

  33. It’s hard to accept as a fan, but obviously the majority of fans disapprove of Cam…if he played for another team i guess I’d probably hate him too. I believe he’s a good guy, he keeps his nose clean off the field, does all the right things in the community, and is amazing come game time. I don’t really buy into the race thing. If Johnny Manziel was winning this year and doing his thing we’d all probably hate him too. Go Panthers!

  34. Racism, racism, racism. Everyone is racist. Oh ya and criminals are victims and police are criminals. God help us, this country is circling the drain…

  35. People seem to think he’s arrogant and the opposite of humble. I think most people started disliking him because of how much of a crybaby he is when he’s losing. Race may be an issue for some people, but it’s not the main reason people dislike him. I actually think he’s all right.

  36. I criticize Cam Newton more than most. Am I a racist? Well, lets see… 1. I am black. 2. My favorite QB is Teddy Bridgewater.(who is literally twice as black as Cam).

    Those who answered the question of the headline, “yes”, have this deep ingrained need to be liked and have this imaginary moral high ground.

    Its embarrassing.

    To answer your question, “A vast majority of the time, No. Its because he is arrogant, and that is not exactly a virtue.”

    Not to put words in anyones mouths but…

  37. Antics? Is he running to the middle of the star like TO? Is he pulling cellphones out of goalposts? Those are antics…the man celebrates after scoring a touchdown my goodness…and gives a kid a football.

    Get off his back. Maybe people should enjoy their own lives more so they can appreciate someone else who’s doing it.

    And to answer the question, yes race definitely plays a part. Anyone who thinks there are NO RACISTS in this world who simply hate on cam because he’s black and enjoying himself is delusional. (or any other African American athlete for that matter)

    I’m a HUGE Cam supporter. Shine on em bro.

    –African American Niners Fan

  38. I think race has something to do with it. But I think the biggest factor in the criticism of Newton is people who hate on people get a lot of attention.

    And with twitter, the hate is easy to notice. I think most of those people would hate if he was yellow or blue as well. They just need their hate. I guess it’s up to the media to filter twitter opinions from general opinions.

  39. I’m sure to some people it’s at least a little about race, maybe not even intentionally, but I’m sure he at least gets a little less benefit of the doubt from some people because of his race.

    But he’s also a typical jock jerk. He’s that guy that got away with being an ahole because he could throw a touchdown. Sure he likes to have fun, mostly at others expense. I’m sure you all knew at least one guy like that growing up.

  40. Feel much better about Kaepernick’s (bicept kissing, sideway cap, headphone during press conference) by looking at the way Newton is behaving lately. Von Miller will teach him who the scarier is.

  41. People can deny the correlation between race and the type of criticism black QB’s face all they want, but the facts are clear.

    The majority of high selection black QBs get the Jamarcus Russell comparison, and we all know why. Why can’t white QB prospects who have doubters be compared to Jamarcus? Far to often is the criticism from “experts” aimed at black QB’s laced with subtle (not so subtle) racial undertones.

    It’s found in the praise of black and white QB’s as well. A study conducted by Ithaca College observing the commentary of NFL and College football announcers found that overwhelmingly following positive pass plays the praise heaped on White QB’s were based in intellect, while the praise heaped on Black QB’s were based on physicality.

  42. Let’s be real for at least a minute. Not trying to step on any toes here but, alot of white people, NOT ALL by far have a tendency to get overly offended when race is brought up. Simple truth is, that race will likely always play a part, no matter how miniscule in some perceptions of people. It is what it is. That being said no one black or white alive today can be blamed for starting this issue. Think about how we all describe each other at times. If we did not know and see this kid’s name plastered on everything, how would you describe his so-called antics to a friend who didn’t see the game? Maybe something to the effect of “the big black guy that showboats and dances on the field.” People can’t be blamed for this however it’s been a part of our societal conditioning since this country’s inception. Don’t believe me, look at any police report for a crime. Why does AA or Caucaision ALWAYS have to be thrown in?? It’s because race has always been the second distinguishing characteristic after gender. I’m pretty sure that if Newton ever committed a crime and I made a police report, I could get him caught without using his race in the description. I’d just say it was a 6’5 250lb, muscular man with a fade, no facial hair, very notably funny downward pointing ears. But who’s gonna go through that much trouble? That’s why there’s been so many wrongful arrests, because in the descriptions most people have a tendency to dwell on the racial characteristic above all others. Like him or not people are always entitled to their opinions no matter who they are. Could Cam be considered an a–hole for ripping down signs, absolutely. But with all the knitpicky gripes people have about Cam, to say NONE of it is due to race would be quite obtuse.

  43. Race has nothing to do with it.

    Obnoxiously egotistical.

    Cool it with the over the top celebrations.

    Frankly Cam isn’t that good.

  44. Being an immature, camera-hogging, stupid clothes-wearing, overly childish sideline cornball transcends race. And Cam’s living proof. Couldn’t stand Jim McMahon, can’t stand Newton.

    Hope he enjoys his parity-laden 15 minutes….

  45. Stop with race card pulling every time there is an issue… creates divides, not the opposite… I like really Cam as a football player and quarterback and wish he was on my team, but I find myself watching and wanting him to tone it down a bit. After Carson Palmer’s 10th interception or whatever, Cam is on the sideline freakin out……you’re up by 30 pts with less than 5 mins, that horse is completely dead….a couple quiet fist pumps are sufficient.

  46. No, jerks come in all colors – just look a few classless orange ones he faces next week!

    For sadly, Peyton is the only reason to root for the Broncos, and if he doesn’t fully addresses the HGH allegations before the SB, I’m not even sure about that either…

  47. If he was white all would be good that’s a fact. It’s funny the comments coming from people saying it’s not racisism but it’s america the most racist place on the planet. Just turn on a TV or read a newspaper. If you are racist then Cam must just rub you the wrong way. Glad I live in Canada

  48. Roll the tapes of how Cam acted in his press conferences back when they were losing. He blamed everyone. It was not a pretty sight.

  49. It isn’t race that makes Cam’s personality grating. Its the incessant effiminate attention-seeking and need to be validate he does….not dissimilar to others of his ilk (Drake, Beiber, Kanye, Shia)

    If you had a guy as big as Cam being unapologetic for his athletic dominance who wasn’t a drama queen, he wouldn’t get the hate he gets

  50. What?? He said a lot about nothing there. Please stop trying to explain yourself Cam and stick to football. Newton is black, Rivera is Hispanic, and nobody really cares, but THEY are making it an issue. Get over yourselves and stick to playing football.

  51. Its hilarious that anyone would even bring race up. Wow, a successful african-american QB, its not like we have ever seen that before. Remember all those people hating on Russell Wilson because he was black? Neither do I.

  52. This whole country needs to stop bringing up race or blaming race just because a person is African American. When race us brought up it becomes the focus. Honestly the reason I don’t like Cam is because of his egotistical, self-centered and narcissistic behavior.

  53. I honestly don’t care one way or the other. I will say that football would be hard to watch if every player acted the way he does. Keep that stuff off my team and their division!

  54. The answer to the question depends on where you look. On PFT, a lot of people may criticize Cam because he showboats, grandstands, doesn’t show humility , or because he wins, there are many legitimate reasons not to like or root for him. But if you go to the blogs, TMZ, social media, etc…. There is clear and direct racism. People calling him the N word, monkey, etc….I think people are naive if they lineup in either side . If people think Cam gets criticized only because of his race are wrong, but those who think some of his criticism has nothing to do with the color of his skin are also wrong. It depends on where you look.

  55. Nothing to do with race. Cam is just not a good sport. Few years ago everyone was mad about him covering his head and face with a towel on the side line. When losing. Now he is always celebrating anytime something goes right.

  56. I am now tone deaf to anyone who uses the race card anymore.


  57. savethebs says:

    Of course it’s about race, at least partially. It’s the same reason you see way more vitriolic comments about Obama.

    I heard even more vitriolic comments about Bush. many coming from Obama. Is he racist?

    The race card is the last card in the deck.

  58. The real reason so many can’t stand him celebrating is most experts in the media and other national pundits said he was going to be a bust and would never win anything. The fact is, however, he isn’t a busy he is an elite quarterback and probably the most dangerous. So when he does celebrate its as of he is ribbing your nose in how wrong you all were. We as a society can’t stand to be wrong. Shoot even the guy from the bleacher report said he was going to be bust and out of the league by 2016 and Tebow would be winning a Champioship and said if he was wrong he would run around the Bucs stadium in his underwear when the Panthers came to town and now refuses to own up to it. So when Cam dances and celebrates it reminds you all of how wrong you were and you can’t stand it. There are a lot of Qbs in history that celebrated like Cam does and none of them got the hate that he gets so ya race does play a factor. But mostly you all can’t stand to be reminded how wrong you were, you allwanted so badly for him to be a bust that it kills you to recognize that he is one of the greats today. Yalls hate makes me laugh.

  59. tremoluxman says:
    Jan 28, 2016 12:02 AM
    Race could be a factor. Personally, I’m not a fan of showboating by anyone in sports. Guys go ape after catching a simple pass or making a tackle. Hot Flash from the newsroom: It’s your job. It’s what you’re paid to do.

    Win the game, then celebrate instead of acting like every common play just won the Super Bowl for your team. Grow up.
    You are right, it is his job, and his job is ENTERTAINMENT. The more ENTERTAINING you are, the more $ you make. All you that use that “selfish” “just play football” rhetoric are haters who are choosing to focus on elements that fit your narrative. I even hear Panthers fans say that stuff about Cam “He is great, but…”. These are the same guys that never wanted Cam here, but are being forced to respect his greatness and do not want to eat the entire crow. If you knew anything about this dude, you would know that he does anything and everything he can to make those around him happy: teammates, community, kids, fans etc. Pretty much the opposite of SELFISH to me. He came into the league as a kid and showed some characteristics of it, and he is still a young man maturing his way through life…. We all had to. Fir us who live in Charlotte and actually KNOW what this dude is about, you all sound like uninformed morons with underlying agendas, hence the “race” conversations as people try to figure out the source of unprovoked hate.

    And speaking of race, raise your kids to realize there is no difference between people and color of skin is related to geographic location of birth. Cultures make people different, not skin color. Let’s quit identifying ourselves differently and then talking about how we need to eliminate boundaries.

  60. Every QB gets criticism. Russell Wilson is a game manager (that one is wrong), Brady is a cheater (that one is wrong), Manning is a loser (that one is right), Roethlisberger is a rapist (true), Vick killed dogs (true). It may not be the same thing, but it’s always something. It shows you’ve arrived as someone people care about. There isn’t some regular criticism of a guy like Alex Smith or Mark Sanchez because no one cares about them.

  61. Doug Williams said it best after winning the Superbowl when asked by a reporter how it felt to be the first black QB to win a Superbowl by inferring he was an honored QB who won the Superbowl who just happens to be black. Class.

  62. America is so White ideologically racist it is unvelievable. It would be seen as White intensity and enthusiasm if he was White and doing these things but White people who see Blacks as less than and not the image of White America and part of the White heavenly realm that represents this country and founded it and so are uncomfortable with Black celebration and happiness!!!

  63. Last year I rooted for Wilson in the Super Bowl. This year I’ll root for Peyton. Difference being, as others have stated, the antics and smug aspect of Cam ala Brady from the prior year Super Bowl.

  64. Asking that question is like saying, “Are there white people?” Of course there are and of course there are some racists and of course to THEM, race is a factor. A more relevant question would be, “How much of a factor is race in criticism of Cam Newton?”

    Answer: not much, especially not any criticism any rational sports fans care about.

    You can see from the comments that most don’t care about race and that the criticism of Newton is primarily because he comes across as a smug, showoff who hasn’t won anything yet (that could change in less than two weeks).

  65. I think he’s great, but it’s never occurred to me I’m witnessing something I’ve never seen before.

    QBs who can run & throw like can haven’t been in many Super Bowls, but that’s because those guys get hurt a lot. (And by the way, Cam, you haven’t won the Super Bowl yet either.)

    There’s always been a somewhat negative buzz about the guy’s personality. Maybe he should look there.

  66. For starters, living about an hour from Charlotte, I haven’t heard much criticism of Newton recently. What’s there to criticize?

    Those I’ve heard who have offered criticism have targeted his flamboyance and showboating. That’s the same type of criticism heard about other flamboyant players from Deion Sanders to Mark Gastineau all the way back to Joe Namath. These players (and those like them) were often criticized publicly for hamming it up. Race has nothing to do with it.

  67. Can’t remove race from the equation. We are culturally conditioned to be influenced by race in every area of life, whether consciously or not.

    Cam represents change and there’s a group that change with their losing a grip on things. Many justify their hate by blaming Cam for their insecurities. They are the ones who cling to the 1970’s NFL and that’s not of Cam’s making.

    Cam is not polarizing. He is who he is and it’s the people who imagine he threatens their way of life, who are the problem. Those same people claim it’s not about his race, so they invent a pretext. Cam has been a model citizen since entering the NFL and he has started doing what he did on every level-win.

    Like it or not, racial haters, say the same thing about President Obama. It’s not his race, it’s his policies, all while showing it is about race.

  68. I have enjoyed watching Cam Newton play football since he won the College National Championship. I am happy to see him grow and mature and have success in the NFL.

    My “issue” with Cam Newton is less with Newton and more with the Panthers organization in general and that is the celebratory team selfies taken during games. I find this to be poor sportsmanship.

    Was it Bear Bryant who said “…Act like you’ve been there before”?

    I have enjoyed watching Carolina make their run to the Super Bowl this season and I wish Cam Newton great success, but I would like to see Ron Rivera put an end to these selfies.

    (and for those who say, if the opponent keeps the Panthers from winning, the team selfies will stop — one thing I worry about with this constant showboating is retaliation from the opposing team. At the end of the Divisional Round game, when the Panthers took a knee(s) there were Seahawks players leaping over the offensive line trying to get to the QB. Are these team selfies worth getting your quarterback or another player hurt on a meaningless play at the end of the game?)

  69. I think it is fair to say that race plays a factor, but not in how you might think. I don’t think that people are looking at Cam now and saying, “I hate all of his celebrating and having fun because of the color of his skin.” I do think that going back to when Cam was coming out of college, the evaluation that established the narrative that stuck was based on race.

    If the story on Cam coming out of college had been that he’s a fun loving guy that plays the game with pure joy, then we’d be looking at his “antics” like we looked at Icky Woods dancing on the sidelines or Jamaal Anderson doing the Dirty Bird. Instead the story was how he has a false smile and lacked leadership qualities. Everyone looks at that evaluation and says, “He’s immature, just like that scout said.” Everyone says, “Act like you’ve been there before,” and then quotes a discount double check commercial. It was alright for “Tebowing” to become a thing, because that kid was so humble and such a winner, but “dabbing” is disrespectful and me first.

  70. I’m not sure if it’s race, but it’s a fair question to ask. Even here with the comments on this post, people are complaining about Cam’s dancing, showboating, whatever you want to call it. And their calling him immature, narcissistic, etc.

    But go watch some NFL Films clips from the ’70s and ’80s. You will see antics that aren’t really any different from what Cam is doing. And let’s talk Tom Brady, without touching the cheating allegations. He regularly gets right in the face of officials and calls them every filthy name in the English language, and what do people say? “Ooh, look how firey he is! Look at the passion!” But Cam does a dance and mugs for the camera and he’s immature, narcissistic and evil.

    What about the fans? What about the people that bring signs with the network letters made into words, or bring that extremely tired, old piece of a picket fence with a D? What are they doing? They are mugging for the camera so they can call their buddies and say, “I WAS ON TV!” And why to allegedly adult men spend $500 on a freaking sign? Why do allegedly adult men pick little kids up and throw them out of the way so they can get an autograph? Are those things immature and narcissistic? Absolutely they are!

    Cam is getting demonized for doing things that have been done for the nearly 100 years that professional football has been in existence. But for some reason, to many of you here on this site and the world at large, Cam is worse than everyone else who does the same things. And his skin is a different color. So I understand why the question is raised.

    I agree with what Ryan Clark said on ESPN Radio this morning – that it’s more race than culture. Whatever is the cause of it, it really needs to stop. There is nothing wrong with the way Cam conducts himself on the field, and we really need to find something else to talk about.

  71. Right. No one has ever seen a skilled, successful black quarterback in the league before. Give me a break. Anyone I know who dislikes him does so because he’s a preening jackass who routinely shows up other teams. He’s just passing off an annoying persona onto the race card. What else is new? And he’s undoubtedly encouraged by Rivera, who had his team posing for pictures on the sideline during the NFC championship game before it was over. Totally classless bunch. Go Denver.

  72. The 15 percent whites playing in the NFL , you never hear a word about, yet Cam newton brings up race. He needs to take a good look at the fans in the stadium paying to watch the black man. It never stops to amaze me who brings up race and when. Grow up Cam and be this so called leader you want to be, leader of a team not just Cam newton.

  73. “Is Cam Newton’s race a factor in the criticism he receives?”

    Seriously? Just to pick a few from previous generations: Namath was outlandish or a showman, Stabler was crass or a character, Jim McMahon was brash or enthusiastic all dependent on someone’s point of view. I have heard some people say Newton is an over the top disrespectful showboat and others admire his honest exuberance, usually dependent on how they view the game or the position more than how they view the guy. Personally my thought is don’t like it then stop him. As for petitions and letters, that’s not racism, they’re 12’s lol. Look at the way they continue to dog Brady here for ending their season a year ago and they don’t come much whiter than Tom.

    Guess if the race question is being asked here it might be a factor in some discussions under a rock or in a cave somewhere but this most recent crap is driven by something almost as old as racism, whiny losers

  74. @arrogantnation says:

    His personality, not skin color, fueled the criticism.

    It’s because of his skin color that his personality is even an issue. Johnny Manziel has been a cancer to his teams going back to college. His teammates were fed up with his lack of commitment to the team in summer, his coaches were tired of his lack of dedication and were more than ready to move on. Before his junior season, he was kicked out of the Manning Academy for being drunk and not only did it not make a blip on the news, it wasn’t brought up during the pre-draft ruckus when EVERYTHING is picked apart. Had Manziel been Black it would have.

    To many White people, Cam Newton is supposed to “Shut up and play.” Don’t show too much emotion for making plays, don’t dance, don’t celebrate – because if you celebrate then you don’t have class. I had a coworker (who is White) just yesterday say just that. My coworker isn’t racist – he just believes that the boisterous Newton should tone it down.

    My coworker, as much of the world, isn’t used to seeing it. A big, tall, strong, Black QB playing the game and not only having fun, but making no apologies for it. Unlike Johnny, for whom tons of excuses were and still are being made, Cam puts in the work. He studies the film. He stays late at the facility. He practices hard and plays harder. And, most importantly, you never hear anything bad about him after hours. To Cam Newton I say, “Dab on, young brother. Do you. Have fun as long as you are working hard. I’m rooting for you.

  75. The only people who bring up race do so to evade actual shortcomings. Personal accountability in today’s society has died with many of the new “it’s not their fault, they had a bad childhood, or everyone who disagrees with me is a racist” Sure there are racists. Some are white, some are black and others are in every race on the face the planet. This will never change. What should change is the conversation that every time a black man is disliked or their ideas are questioned that race is brought up as a reason. It dilutes the conversation and lowers the discussion to name calling.

  76. If he were white he would probably be criticized even more. Imagine how stupid and arrogant Peyton Manning would look if he show boated like Cam. People would hate him.

  77. Race has nothing to do with it. There are but holes of every color. He happens to be a black one.

  78. Nope, it’s his maturity, or lack of to be more specific.

    The dictionary defines a prima donna as a very temperamental person with an inflated view of their own talent or importance. He is only one of 53 players on the team, who could show a little humility and team spirit, by praising all his team mates.

  79. Obviously for some critics, it is about race. Racism exists in 2016 and those who shield themselves from that fact are part of the problem.

    For most though, the criticism comes from the fact that he’s winning games, that’s it. No one had a problem with the superman celebration and the dab when Carolina was losing.

  80. I said again PFT comment section is filled with racism, bigotry and ignorance and when it gets pointed out everyone is aghast.

    Cam Netwon brings on some of this himself with the way he handles himself on the field but its not different than Aaron Rodgers double barreling it, discount double checking and smirking as he walks in and out of the huddle. He is getting some hate but nothing to level the perceived “arrogant” or “uppity” black man.

    When Netwon got drafted it was instant comparisons to Jamarcus Russell. Everyone called him a bust and Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder were claimed to be better pros on this site.

  81. Seems he is the one who is bringing race into it. It’s immaturity on the field. I don’t know who it was who said it but, it holds for Cam (and others)
    “When you get to the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.”
    Holds for all the first down celebrations too.
    As far as I’m concerned, I don’t care what color you are, red, green, black or white if you can play AND set a good role model on and off the field for the kids who look up you, I’m fine with you

  82. It’s about Cam, it’s always about Cam, and will continue to be about Cam. He chose #1 for his jersey and thinks he’s superman. I hope he is because I got big money on him to win this “Big Game” Go Superman!

  83. You don’t see Teddy Bridgewater whining do you?
    He only took the team from 5-11 before he came to 11-5 this year and he still gets crap at every turn!

  84. Cam Cheating was caught cheating three times while in college and caught with stolen property and that incident was swept under the rug. To avoid being punished for cheating (which would have resulted in him being expelled), Cam Cheating fled to Auburn which has no standards of student conduct.

    I loathe Cam Cheating because he is a reprehensible person when you aren’t watching. When the cameras are on, he’s all kids and football. He is one of the most disgusting people you could have on a team.

    And his childish celebrations only add to the stench of his lack of ethics and integrity.

    Skin color? Black lives matter.

  85. The only racism that exists in the NFL and division 1 college football is the blatant anti-white player bias that starts with white players being ignored during the recruiting process – white players that play DB, RB or WR and routinely ignored because they are the wrong colors to play those positions and are outright ignored because they are white. It than continues during the draft process – being described as lunch pail, blue collar, gym rat, high motor, obviously not athletic, quicker than fast and the list goes on and on. For some reason this blatant discrimination is accepted and not challenged at all.

  86. When a Black athlete who is “allowed to make it” doesn’t fall in line and act the way White people think he should, they get up in arms.

    I always say, you couldn’t have had me play professional sports in this PC world. I would have had the FCC banning me from speaking publicly and had an FBI file the size of the IRS tax code book…

  87. Just read the comments and tell me there isn’t a probable. Most of these people who are claiming it isn’t about black and white I guarantee you are all white. Go vote for trump and ruin your country already

  88. No its the “entertainer, icon” comments…. It’s the stealing of a laptop while at Florida…Its the $200K to play football in college…..

    Is the reason people hate Manziel because of race??? We can play that game too ya know…

  89. The only way white America will be happy is of all the athletes in sports were white. But we all know that not a gonna happen how about you racist pigs start watching hockey or shut up and get use to people doing things different.

  90. If the majority of 31 other fanbases don’t like your guy then it’s usually because he’s a jerk, Russell Wilson is the perfect example of this.

    No team other than the Pats in the last 3 years has probably been more universally disliked, and yet Russell Wilson is still pretty much universally liked. Sure he can be boring and a has an over-managed image, but he might be the most universally liked QB in the game right now (by merch sales he is), and he’s Black.

    I’m sure some of the reason Cam is disliked is due to race, but he’s a jerk too.

  91. Russell Wilson has not been criticized like Cam newton…neither was Donovan McNabb or other successful black quarterbacks…so clearly it’s not about race…people dislike newton because of his personality and the way he acts..Newton is a good player but if he would just stop acting like a fool and more like a professional football player then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  92. There was a time sadly when Blacks were absolutely justified in saying these kinds of things. America has come a long way from the Whites only days.
    As a Country we have worked long and hard to correct these things. There are instances of racial hate
    both ways, and in some cases, unfortunately always will.
    But the Black community has gotten used to preferential treatment at times, (think Affirmative
    Action where Blacks by Law got Education and job spots OVER better qualified non-Minorities). It seems pulling the Race card just get your way, has become a way of life. The “race card”excuse for being too lazy to put the same effort as others is frankly a SLAP in the face of those that worked so hard for the equality shared today.
    I know this will get Moderated out, but it is the way a lot of people think! It is also is why one Political candidate is so popular!

  93. I don’t care if he’s purple. He’s a braggart and that gets old. I don’t want my kids acting like that after every decent play, or any play for that matter.

  94. Well I don’t see people criticizing teddy b and how he acts …maybe it’s because he acts like a pro and shows his opponent respect cam should try that ,,doesn’t work for mr Johnny football …is it racism or is Johnny just a jerk ….give respect and get respect color doesn’t matter

  95. It’s tiring, and it’s absolutely irresponsible to play race into this.

    He was criticized by black and white analyst before this past season for his odd press conferences…for his towel over his head moping on the bench when losing.

    Now the criticism this year is about his flip to the complete opposite extreme which is just as much off putting.

    It’s players and former players and others who have access to media outlets that are generating the criticizing material…

    Is it not as valid to criticize him now with his dramatic celebrations that are seen as not something a person in the station of an NFL QB should participate in.
    Just as it was valid to criticize him the prior years when losing and he would mope on the sidelines with a towel hiding his face. Were he would then talk in an almost clinically depressed tone at postgame press conference after a loss, which is not befitting of a person in the station of a professional NFL QB.

    If there is any dislike of Cam by football fans it really has all to do with those things.

    Now combine the fact that he’s beaten every team he’s he’s played this year (before the hate…i didn’t say he won every game…i said he beat every team he played this year…they beat Atlanta and lost to Atlanta…and while beating those teams his celebrations did not help to ingratiate opposing players or fans.

    Just like saying if you don’t like his celebrations, then don’t let him score (or get a first down, which really annoys me no matter what player does, and especially irks me when a player of my own team celebrates a freakin first down) the same goes the other way…just because you do score a TD doesn’t mean I have to like how go about yourself afterwards…love giving the kids the football and that is in no way any part of the celebration criticism…

    I didn’t like the “kid” Cam that moped on the sidelines and did the ” the world is such a cruel place” woe is me post game. I mean really who could except a Panther fan who was directly invested.

    That moping was a direct reflection of making it hard for people to like Cam at the personal level regardless of his obvious NFL abilities. It was off-putting, and not only to football fans, but to former players as well.

    Why do you think it was so easy for Eagles fans to care less about Chip Kelly getting fired (minus the idiotic player moves)…it was because once we saw Chip the person, with his fast talking semantics to deflect questions, never take any blame but instead blame the players every week, then in the next question of whether there was a lack of talent on the roster he put together was good talented enough to win in the NFL, would respond that absolutely they were which contradicts that it was always the players fault for not executing…this BS doesn’t fly in Philly and a dislike of Chip as a person started to take over anything positive to like in Chip the football coach…the final straw was him denying that he had GM powers after loss to Washington…that was Chip the person who said that…at that point what Chip the coach had accomplished the previous two years didn’t matter anymore…he needed to be fired after that…he was going to be fired at the end of the season, but the disrespect Chip showed all year with his BS to the fans, who knew it was BS, finally disrespected Lurie publicly with the “I’m not the GM”.

    Chip the person got Chip the football coach/gm fired.

    Cam the football person has not made Cam the football player easy for the football fans to naturally like and root for, unless your a Panthers fan of course.

    I like the “young man” Cam. Don’t forget the birth of his son…he never lost focus, and I kinda have to think some of his celebrations unbecoming of an NFL QB has a lot to do with that. I mean this young man was obviously overjoyed at becoming a father or else I can’t imagine him playing at the level he has played all year. If his way of releasing that joy is over enthsiastic celebrations is a by product, then so be it…

    Like I said, I like the new “young man” Cam, but wished he celebrated differently but that is something for next year. And it is something for Cam to consider…it’s a lot of players that get ticked off…if he wants a long career, it’s not a bad idea to get in the good graces of your fellow players…it can determine whether 300 pound lineman who is about to sack you decides just how much of their weight they are going to splat on to you…it’s something that will save you a dislocated shoulder injury or two in your career…

    Also as a final note, I have to wonder why this race issue has suddenly manifested now.
    What does such a media story like this do for Cam Newton then to try and distract a young black QB from his job at hand by bringing up racial nonsense before he is about to play in a Super Bowl?

    I really think ALL people need to think about this…the media suddenly brings up a race issue that never was given any merit during Cam’s 15-1 season. Now all the sudden we have a social racial issue…and get this…instead of hallmarking that Cam may (he will be…we all know that) be the first black QB to win the MVP award, we are subject to the media creating a racial issue with the perception of Cam Newton…

    Who the heck are these people that we let write this crap…why don’t we question them…when there is a legit racial concern of course talk, but this is absolutely ridiculous. Not talk of the racial positive, but hey lets create a racial negative that doesn’t exist in this circumstance, and oh by the way, this racial negative that us the media are creating, will only help to be a distraction for this young black QB.

    Yea these media people are all about being on the right side of racial relations by injecting race where only they are the ones asking the question

  96. As a panthers fan I really don’t care why you don’t like Cam.but will go through them anyways. Race: if you don’t like Cam due his skin color you got bigger problems to deal with. Attitude: This isnt a problem If you been paying attention you will see that his infectious energy brought this team together as a leader should. College. Get over it already yes he made mistakes who hasn’t you r not perfect either. He learn from his mistakes.Celebrations: Yes he is getting paid but this is still a game it is suppose to be fun .ylwhat kinda person hate to have fun..character.: He is one of the most charitable players on the team . get over it

  97. Many of these issues intersect. When white fans/owners/coaches tell black players to be “more respectful” and not celebrate with such emotion, it comes across a more than a little paternalistic. I’m a Pats fan and I’ll freely admit that Edelman’s first down celebrations are totally contrived, but he’s welcome to them. Same with Newton. It’s a game and it’s nice to occasionally see people enjoy themselves when they play it.

    Also, there’s clearly a branding/marketing element to all of this across sports. If it can make you an extra dollar, go for it. Especially in a sport with non-guaranteed contracts.

  98. This is b.s. I know speaking for myself, there are plenty of players I can’t stand, both black and white.

    J.J. Watt comes to mind. A lot of people hate him for the same reasons they hate Newton. And no one hates Peyton Manning more than me.

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