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Former NFL Player Bill Romanowski Calls Panthers’ QB Cam Newton ‘Boy,’ Reflecting White Society’s Policing of Black Behavior

during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Bank of America Stadium on January 17, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Cam Newton during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Bank of America Stadium on January 17, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The story of Cam Newton — the Carolina Panthers quarterback — is a textbook case in how white supremacy will do its best to try to keep Black excellence at bay and snuff it out whenever possible. Racist white folks have deputized themselves as the police of Black people, dictating how we must behave, and what is acceptable comportment by said Black folks in order to receive society’s star of approval.

After the Panthers’ 24-10 loss to the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, former NFL player Bill Romanowski decided to take Newton, 26, to the woodshed for his reaction to losing the big game — apparently because he thought he could. Newton, who just wasn’t feeling it, had walked off the stage after answering post-game questions for a few minutes.

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Romanowski decided to scold the NFL star by calling him a boy, the traditional means of punishing an uppity Black man and keeping him in his place, other than lynching him or calling him the N word.

“You will never last in the NFL with that attitude. The world doesn’t revolve around you, boy!” Romanowski tweeted and subsequently deleted. He then apologized with all the heartfelt sincerity of a Klansman who had just burned down a Black church:

Surely, this is the point where someone will come and defend Romanowski for not being a racist. But the evidence is stacked against him, and apparently he was doing to Newton what he has always done to other Black players. As Yesha Callahan noted in The Root, charges of racism followed Romanowski throughout his career. In 1997, he spit in the face of San Francisco 49er receiver J.J. Stokes and said it wasn’t because Stokes was Black. The incidents were many:

For all of the fans that he has, Cam is everything that white folks hate: Young, gifted and Black. He is self-confident, shows insufficient humility for their tastes, enjoys the game and likes to celebrate with dances during a game, and does not scratch were he does not itch. As the Associated Press recently reported, Newton said, “I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing [sic] that they can compare me to.”

Moreover, in an America where white male bullies are empowered, an emboldened Romanowski achieved his record of abuse against Black people with the tacit — or not so tacit — approval of a society that hates young Black men. As usual, expect Black Twitter to regulate the situation and call out racism in this case:


Meanwhile, the self-appointed police of Black people will insist that we act a certain way to please them.  Not only are Black folks told to conform to white expectations on the football field, but we are also monitored and told how to behave in every facet of our lives, even when it comes to how we respond to our own state of oppression.  And in a world that is not safe for Black children — including our Black boys who are called thugs and regarded as grown men ready for the penitentiary or the morgue — grown Black men are still called boy.  We must embrace, encourage and nurture the young, gifted and Black among us.

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