I have to admit that I’ve never felt more foolish as a sports fan than these past few days following Super Bowl 50. All season long, the NFL blogosphere kept lamenting over the hordes of underground racists hating on Cam Newton because he was black. Unfortunately, my inability to buy into the veracity of that consensus turned out to be a disgraceful reflection of my own shameful conceit.
You see, I never found anybody who actually hated Cam Newton (outside of NFC South rival fans). No friends, people I met at bars, or even internet commenters had anything bad to say about him this year. I thought that if I couldn’t find those racists myself, then the whole notion of their existence must have been overblown. Even by objective standards, there were metrics backing up my belief.
But now, after seeing all the vitriol directed at Newton following his Super Bowl loss, it’s become crystal clear that good god I was so fucking wrong about everything! I get it now. I totally get it, and it’s absolutely appalling to witness.
It turns out that Greg Howard has never been more prescient than he was in this piece from last November covering the phenomenon of racist Newton bashers…
Disingenuous gripes about Newton’s character could be couched in critiques of his playing style, sideline demeanor, and immaturity. It was easier to look at a young, brash quarterback, and ask if he was fit to lead a franchise when that franchise sucked… With Carolina undefeated, people have to resort to hating him for more transparent reasons rooted in their own biases.
That’s it! When the Panthers were winning all year, I couldn’t find any of his racist bashers because they were all staying quiet. They knew they had to lay low because the internet would out their racism if they complained about a winner. Now that the Panthers shat the bed, these racists are having a field day ‘couching their gripes’ in Cam’s supposed immaturity. This time, however, I’m not getting fooled…
Newton pouted and sulked in front of reporters before storming out of his press conference, but that’s something you have to deal with in this new era where athletes wear their emotions on their sleeves. You can say you have a problem with it, but you’re not fooling anyone this time. You were racist when Cam sulked every single game in 2012 and you’re racist now that he’s sulking after the Super Bowl.
Not a fan of Newton doubling down with his ‘sore loser’ comments? I bet you think he’s being a bad role model to children, just like that racist mother who wrote that racist newspaper letter.
Have an issue with all those passes Cam sailed over his receiver’s heads? Yeah, I bet you had those same critiques the past four years. But this year you were exposed as a racist. You’re not pulling the wool over my eyes anymore.
Do you think Newton was a pussy for not diving on his own fumble with the Super Bowl on the line? Well I guess according to you, a black quarterback isn’t allowed to worry about his health for the next season. Racist.
In all seriousness though, I wonder if these self righteous race baiters will turn next year’s focus on a quarterback who legitimately has suffered from racism. It would be cool, but they’d have to admit that sometimes people lie.