Given the controversy surrounding the national anthem as of late, it is inevitable that media would ask athletes about their thoughts. As Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to rise for the U.S. song continues, many have weighed in. This time, Cam Newton tried to remain neutral.
The Carolina Panthers player straddled both sides of the fence when ESPN asked about his thoughts.
“Who am I to say that it’s wrong? Who am I to say that it’s right? Either or, it’s still personal,” Newton reasoned.
But he explained his confusion over the country’s focus on color.
“What I can’t fathom is how does one-eighth of an inch — something so small — be the difference in such a big commodity in our whole lifetime,” he continued. “That’s the thickness of our skin — one-eighth of an inch. And under that, we’re all the same color. That’s the big picture.”
The athlete doubled down on his colorblind approach to the race discussion.
“We know a lot of scrutiny happens when athletes start talking about race, but the truth of the matter is we just gotta do right by each other, no matter what color you are.”
Newton’s comments should not come as a surprise. Last month, he told GQ he did not believe the criticism he faced for his past actions started because he is Black.
He explained that America has moved past race.
“I don’t want this to be about race, because it’s not,” Newton said. “It’s not. Like, we’re beyond that. As a nation.”
“I don’t look at it like that,” he continued. “I look at it like some people have certain beliefs, and I have my own belief, and we can agree to disagree on certain things.”
“Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion.”
The Panthers quarterback applied the same logic in reaction to Kaepernick’s stance on the national anthem to ESPN. Newton explained it all boiled down to respect.
“Who am I to say, ‘Colin, you’re wrong?’ And who am I to say, ‘bro, you’re right?’ We all have the right to think whatever we want to think, and I respect that by everybody.”