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Cam Newton is Leading the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl 50 Despite the Haters

Photo: Bob Leverone, FRE

Photo: Bob Leverone, FRE

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton joins a small number of Black quarterbacks who made it to a Super Bowl. However, Newton has been under extreme scrutiny for being himself. There have been countless think pieces about his touchdown celebrations, his smile, his child, his girlfriend or other asinine things that diminish discussions of his football talent. All of this will be in full force leading up to Super Bowl 50. As sports journalist Jemele Hill points out:

The fact is that Newton is lively and confident in himself and his team. Many people don’t like that Black athletes aren’t humble and timid. Essentially, sport fans and commentators against him want Newton to be more like Russell Wilson — cool, contained, and “respectable” to the point where he is not very interesting but a great ambassador to the game nonetheless.

While white quarterbacks jump and leap with joy, Newton can’t do so without criticism. Sports journalist Michael Hurley points this hypocrisy out in his tweets:

What’s most great about Newton is his undeniable “Blackness.” He isn’t afraid to be himself, to dab, or smile when white people feel uncomfortable. He is “arrogant” because he is talented and he knows it. Newton has not forgotten where he comes from or the things that he loves. He hasn’t forgotten who will support him in the end.

Newton had a rocky college start. After transferring to a community college and winning big there, he went to Auburn and led that team to a National Championship in the 2010-11 season. And now he has a chance to win it all again.

If the Panthers win against the Denver Broncos, Newton will be hated even more. But there is a glimmer of hope that fans of all shades will respect his greatness on and off the field.

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