For many football fans, the sport is the epitome of unspoken ideals and values like athletic superiority, sportsmanship and prejudices that are now being challenged by Cam Newton. On the field, Newton has achieved unparalleled success but it is his off-field behavior that has many mainstream media outlets portraying him in an unflattering light. It’s all a part of the unspoken, manufactured issue of race in today’s sports.
It’s because Newton represents one of the main things that white media hates – pronounced Black swagger. It intimidates many to see a Black man who has money, power and fame, especially one who takes the lead in the most famous sporting competition in America, the Super Bowl. Cam Newton does not bow down to his critics and continues to rock hip-hop fashion and is a celebrity based on his positive merits.
For many, seeing a Black man take pride in his victories and not being humble is irritating. This has always been the case for Blacks in sports – from heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali to tennis superstar Serena Williams. Black excellence in sports is something that mainstream media has a problem reporting on because of the narrow minded nature of America.
A quarterback represents leadership, superior skill and intellect. But a Black quarterback challenges that mindset because Black players are “all muscle and no brain.” In the case of Cam Newton, not only does he prove that he is the best but he is also leading the Carolina Panthers, a predominantly Black team. To add to the tension in today’s game is the fact that Newton will be up against an aging Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos. This will be Manning’s fifth appearance at a Super Bowl and the white man vs. the young buck cannot be denied. Newton is unapologetically Black, supremely confident, and a threat to the legacy of the great white quarterback Manning and this for some is unacceptable.