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Cam Newton not your quintessential white man’s black man: NFL Unfiltered

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Cam Newton is going to anger tens of millions of people in Super Bowl 50.

And while he is not the first black quarterback to start on pro football’s grandest stage—that distinguished honor belongs to the Godfather of African-American signal-callers, Doug Williams—Newton is the most polarizing.  Photo: www.businessinsider.com

With his million-dollar smile and celebratory antics, Newton grates on people at their very core.  His perceived lack of humility is an easy target for a country that always prefers its Negroes humble and quiet.  

No, this is not to suggest America’s vitriol toward him is solely because he is black. I am saying the backlash towards Newton, likely the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, is because he behaves as if he isn’t beholden to anyone, and he is black.  

Essentially, Newton is going to do what he wants to do. He is going to dance, laugh and clown his way to the end zone.  It is as if he thinks it is our privilege to watch him play. Not the other way around.    

But rather than appreciating his mind-boggling skill, many Americans simply cannot get past his on-field actions.  Instead, they prefer athletes like Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, who wouldn’t be caught dancing in the pews during his favorite hymn.  

From afar, Wilson comes across as modest and classy because he never says, or does anything the least bit controversial.  

In fact, the most interesting thing Wilson has ever said centers on his stance against pre-marital sex with his current lady-friend, Ciara. He is the quintessential white man’s black man. An easy smile, unassuming posture and most importantly, a predominantly closed mouth. 

That is not meant to denigrate Wilson.  He is a terrific player and from what we know, an even better person.  But it is clear, Wilson has chosen to craft a non-controversial persona.  He prefers to let his play and his team’s results do the talking. He is safe and non-threatening, the kind of guy who might not ruin your neighborhood if he moved next door 

Conversely, Newton is about playing football at the highest level and having a good time doing it. Yet, for many Americans, there is something inherently wrong, even dangerous, with a rich and famous black man flaunting his successes.

Still, Newton won’t relent. He skips, he flies, he glides and he dabs, all in the name of fun. But instead of criticizing Newton for alleged grandstanding, we ought to celebrate his maturity as a quarterback.  

Newton arrived in 2011 with a reputation—either real or imagined—as immature.  He was an athlete, who played quarterback in a most undisciplined way.  Then he set a record for passing yards in a single season by a rookie (4,051), which put the league on notice.   

Now, he has the Carolina Panthers on the verge of pro football immortality and many cannot wait to see him fail.  

Maybe that is the most impressive thing of all about Newton.  He knows he irritates a lot of people and he knows they are clamoring for a chance to bask in his disappointment.  But he struts on, gyrating to his own soundtrack, refusing to shrink from the spotlight.  He is unafraid.  

Frankly, his behavior is harmless, not to mention entertaining.  

Newton isn’t the first black quarterback in Super Bowl history, but win or lose, he’ll be the most memorable.  


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THINGS THE PUNDITS CAN’T OR WON’T SAY: Conference Championship Edition

-One of the most interesting and potentially enjoyable aspects of media day will be Peyton Manning’s reaction to questions about alleged HGH deliveries to Mrs. Manning.  He is finally going to be asked, right?  

-Eagles fans railed about former head coach Chip Kelly’s inability and unwillingness to adjust when things didn’t go as planned. Here’s hoping every single one of you watched the AFC Championship Game. Did you notice how often the Broncos hit quarterback Tom Brady?  Their defensive ends in particular, overwhelmed the Patriots’ offensive line from the outset. But neither head coach Bill Belichick nor offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels adjusted to the obvious. See, arrogance and belief in what you do is prevalent throughout the NFL.  

-Without a salary cap, re-signing quarterback Sam Bradford makes perfect sense. The problem is, ignoring the impact of a quarterback’s salary as it relates to the ‘cap. The question isn’t whether you can win with Bradford. The question is, can you pay Bradford $18-20mil to play the way he has played and build a roster that compensates for his flaws?  The answer is, no!  Once a quarterback reaches a certain salary, he must play to that salary or you’re doomed to mediocrity.  

-A good friend of mine thinks Carolina’s receivers are better than the Eagles wideouts. I contend Newton’s skill and offensive coordinator Mike Shula’s creativity are the reasons Devin Funchess, Corey Brown, Ted Ginn and Jerricho Cotchery look better than the Eagles group.  

And finally, a prediction:  Panthers 19, Broncos 13  

Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area. He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention. His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.

Contact Earl at emyersiii@hotmail.com

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Photo: businessinsider.com