Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon said racial bias has played a role in criticism Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has received this season.
The Panthers are 1-5 and Newton has not been as stellar as he was last season, when he was voted 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year. Criticism has ensued, but Moon, an adviser to Newton, said to cbssports.com:
“A lot of the criticism he’s receiving is unfortunate and racially based. I thought we were all past this. I don’t see other quarterbacks in the draft being criticized by the media or fans about their smile or called a phony. He’s being held to different standards from white quarterback. I thought we were past all this stuff about African-American quarterbacks, but I guess we’re not.”
Moon was angered by the public perception of Newton at the time and felt he was being compared to 2007 draft bust JaMarcus Russell because they African-American.
“Of course there is racism in every walk of society,” he said. “We’ve made a lot of progress in this country. But racism is still there. I just thought in the sports arena we were beyond it. I think the way Cam is being treated shows we’re not.”
Moon reiterated his thoughts again in an interview with Yahoo Sports.
“I think a lot of this is because so many people want to say ‘I told you so’ about him, but couldn’t because he was so good last year,” Moon said. “I think people are overreacting. How can he be a bust? He just had one of the great years a rookie has ever had, and now he can’t play? Come on.
“I don’t understand it,” Moon added. “I heard somebody compare him to Vince Young. It’s the same old crap – it’s always a comparison of one black to another black. I get tired of it. I get tired of defending it.
Moon made comparison between Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and Newton in their demeanor.
“If you want to compare him to someone because of his demeanor, compare him to Jay Cutler,” he said. “There are a lot of guys who whine and moan. Cam’s not biting anybody’s head off or pushing his linemen. He’s just disgruntled, and not handling losing well, because, think about it, he basically didn’t lose in college.”
Moon did not stop there.
“I don’t think Cam’s as bad as Cutler, because Cutler looks like he doesn’t give a damn sometimes, or he’s yelling and cussing at someone. Cam, he just looks down when they’re losing.”
He set an NFL record for touchdowns rushing in a season by a quarterback with 14 and became the first player in league history to throw for 4,000 yards, while rushing for 500. Newton threw for 21 touchdowns and helped the Panthers improve to 6-10 in 2011 compared to 2-14 the season before.
The 2013 season has been drastically different for Newton, who has thrown for 1,387 yards, five touchdowns and six interceptions so far. The Panthers are currently sitting on a 1-5 record after firing general manager Matt Hurney. With the firing of Hurney, part of the blame was pointed toward Newton by critics.
In 2011, Pro Football Weekly created a draft profile created Newton, under the negatives category, he was described as “very disingenuous — has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup. Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them.” The profile went on to add that Newton “lacks accountability, focus and trustrworthiness.”