The Cam Newton controversy

William T

William T. Robinson, Jr.

Give me a break. One can’t help but to assume that it is open season on denigrating young Black males with the recent sexist episode targeted toward Cam Newton, quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. When will it stop? You may not like Cam because he is considered somewhat arrogant and cocky (traits that would have been admirable if he were a young White athlete), but many find him anything but a racist.

During a candid interview with a young White female reporter, Cam smilingly said: “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes.” It seems the reporter was offended, but that is the assumption of most men (especially young athletes) who are not aware of the rising number of women commentators and reporters in the professional sports venues.

One must understand that women in the locker rooms and on the fields of predominately male dominated sports are still relatively new to many people.

You may conclude that Cam may have been naïve and uninformed, but not emphatically and intentionally racist. There was no intent to belittle or scrutinized the reporter. His was a remark of awe and surprise that a women would be so knowledgeable and up on her game when it came to football. But for the sake of sensationalism, the reporter and the media took it to another level, literally emasculating and denigrating a young Black athlete whose humanitarian record shows he is a positive role model committed to giving back to those less fortunate, especially in his community.

It is reported that after careful thought, Cam apologized for his statement acknowledging that his choice of words was extremely degrading and disrespectful of women. But in all honesty, it was not his intention to offend anyone. He did admit in retrospect that it was a sexist remark.

There are too many real racists and bigots out there deserving public ridicule and scorn than to attack Cam. Many people, especially African Americans, are upset at how quick one of his sponsors (Oikos yogurt) was to drop him. We can only speculate if the sponsor would have been so quick to drop him if the reporter had been a Black female.

In all honesty, a Black female would have probably informed Cam that times have changed and that she was up on her job. That would have been the end of that. The media even went further, claiming Newton once called a female reporter ‘sweetheart’ and that that was sexist.

Please give me a break. I know that times are changing, but I honestly don’t believe that all women feel that all compliments or nice remarks toward them are sexist. And I will state as a Black man that it has been my experience that Black women, for the most part, find it uplifting and are appreciative of remarks from Black men complimenting them. If White women in general have a problem with compliments or flattery, that it is okay. But don’t decide that all women, especially Black women, should have a problem with it. Contrary to what many White women may feel, all men are not trying to seduce them. Cam and other young successful Black men must learn and understand that regardless of their fame and wealth, the rules are different for them and the system is all too ready to show them.

I guess you will find many men (as well as women) shying away from making statements to the media in the future for fear they will be misunderstood. What they say could be taken out of context. Isn’t it ironic that the mere possibility of upsetting one person can make you politically incorrect and a pariah. There is a slippery slope ahead in the future involving freedom of speech without political, social, and economical consequences.

When did we become so sensitive and judgmental that we sensationalize and interpret the smallest and most insignificant statements as degrading? Now there are some cases where anyone with eyes and ears knows that the statements made by our current president are often intentionally derogatory, demeaning, and racist. He continues to be unpunished or to make atones. What does that say about our country as a whole?

If someone unknowingly, and unintentionally makes a racist remark, make it a teachable moment. Educate the individual but don’t try to denigrate and destroy the person. Some people are genuinely unaware and sorry for their perceived naiveté.

I hope Cam doesn’t let the media break his spirit and that he just uses this episode as a learning experience. He is far from the first and will not be the last in the quest to promote political correctness. It is quite obvious for some to see, that young wealthy Black athletes are easy targets as poster boys by a selective group promoting the elimination of sexist remarks.

Black people, let’s not fall for the hype. This looks just like the beginning of more to come. Let’s find something real that we can all truly agree with to exploit.