Friday, February 12, 2016

Cam Newton, the victim

Have you noticed a theme? Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton says criticism of him is basically because he’s black. Beyonce gave an alleged nod to the Black Panthers and the Black Lives Matter movement at halftime of the Super Bowl. These are two of the most accomplished people in the country acting as though they’re facing oppression in 1962.

When Cam was asked by CBS to explain his race comments he said people were scared because a black man had never reached his level before. Hello. A black man named Russell Wilson made it to the Super Bowl two years in a row, Cam. And guess what? He actually won one of them. Not to mention Steve McNair in 2000.

Newton acts like he’s broken some color barrier by making it to the Super Bowl and that people are afraid of a powerful black man. It’s comical, really. He seems to be the only one obsessed with it. The people who were criticizing him in the run-up to the Super Bowl were doing so because he’s cocky. Sure, there are probably some racists out there who don’t like Cam or any other black folks, but they are such a small percentage. Some people just don’t like Cam Newton just like some people don’t like Tom Brady or Johnny Football. They all have their reasons, but race isn’t one of them.

But you know where all this is coming from, right? Directly from the White House. President Obama was supposed to put a dagger in the race issue. Instead, he evoked race every chance he got. He had a golden opportunity to bury the race issue and he chose instead to exploit it for his own political gain. So no wonder impressionable people like Beyonce and Cam Newton turn to race as an excuse.

I think Newton’s fixation on race lost him the Super Bowl, to be quite honest. He came into that game acting like he was Jackie Robinson or somebody and nobody took him seriously. I think that frustrated him. He was too focused on being a victim and not focused enough on winning. And look, Cam Newton has been the poster boy for what it takes to be a winner in America, no matter what color you are. His life has been about focus and overcoming his mistakes and getting back into the game. He’s an inspiration to so many, but he’s got to learn how to lose gracefully.

He said of his post-game walk-out, “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.” That’s just another excuse. Instead of owning up to the fact that he acted like a jerk, he wants to put forth this notion that only losers are graceful in defeat.

I get it. It’s not fun to lose, especially the Super Bowl, but maturity requires more of an NFL quarterback. Nobody’s dissing you, Cam, because you’re black. We’re disappointed because you haven’t learned how to lose with grace. What a great message that would send to the youth of America. That’s why so many people without a dog in the fight were pulling for Peyton Manning. Not only was this the last hurrah for Peyton, he’s a guy who commands respect. He’s a player who hates to lose but loses, for the most part, with dignity.

I’m wondering, with this attitude, if Cam Newton will be back next year. People talked about how much he had matured over the last three years, but it’s awfully easy to be mature when you’re winning. It’s losing that tests your mettle.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

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