This has been an extraordinary Black History Month so far. I can’t remember – and as a Black journalist, I’ve been paying attention for over a decade – a time when the month was so rich.
Instead of the certainly much deserved reverence of Those Who Have Come Before who in many cases died long before they could enjoy the appreciation, we have a host of young Black people making their own history this month. There was a triumphant Serena Williams who fell short of a victory but made it to her 21st Grand Slam final at age 34.
There Black Lives Matters activist Deray McKesson running for mayor of Baltimore. There is the almost universal outrage over the water crisis in Flint, an American city that is 60% Black being poisoned by the very people trusted to look out for their interests.
There is Beyoncè, dropping one of the Blackest videos of all time referencing Black Southern culture, Black queer culture, the natural hair movement, the Black Lives matter movement, and Hurricane Katrina and then “guest”performing at the Super Bowl with Coldplay and Bruno Mars while paying homage to The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and Malcolm X. And let’s not forget Sophina DeJesus, a Black/Latina gymnast at UCLA hitting four Black dance moves while pulling down a top score in floor exercise.
And then there is Cam Newton. The recent loser, along with the Carolina Panthers, of Super Bowl 50, a horribly called game with an officiating crew that has a 6-0 history of wins with the Denver Broncos. It was an NFL narrative for the ages, as NFL gunslinger “Sheriff” Peyton Manning, the product of his former NFL quarterback father’s football factory that includes brother Eli, winning a globally televised battle against an uppity Black challenger, riding off into the sunset before anyone can question him further about HGH allegations.
Newton’s O-line let him down hard as a swarming Denver defense, the league’s #1, did to him what they did to Tom Brady in the AFC Championship game and took him completely out of the game.
And after dabbing, celebrating and handing out game footballs to kids like they were Halloween candy, the man with the NFL’s brightest smile failed to shine under its brightest lights. In the post-game conference, Newton appeared not in a triumphant swagalicious outfit like the flamboyant Versace leopard and gold and black pants he’d worn off the plane from the Carolinas, but a plain black Panthers hoodie, hood up.
He spent seven minutes answering the usual inane questions about the loss and in a rare departure from politically correct sports speak said in not so many words he was frustrated, disappointed and disheartened by the loss. Then, after hearing the crowing from a Broncos player inexplicably answering questions within his earshot, he walked out.
The mainstream sports world ran with the Black quarterback narrative for the two weeks leading up to the game, as though Russell Wilson, Doug Williams, Colin Kaepernick, Steve McNair and Donovan McNabb, all who preceded Newton as Black Super Bowl starting quarterbacks, were Black by accident and Newton was the first to achieve the distinction.
They ran with it until Newton’s joy, present all season, seemed to drain with each question, implied criticism, and inane sniping at how ‘polarizing’ he was, until it abandoned him completely in the biggest game of his life, along with the once dominating but suddenly MIA Panthers O-line and the NFL officiating crew’s ability to discern a complete catch.
Newton’s subdued, or sullen, press conference, depending on where you stood, inflamed the mainstream sports media and the virulent racists on Twitter and social media who took it as the sign they’d been looking for that Newton’s reputation as a loser/crybaby/thug/nigger was now set in stone. The satisfaction was made viral by people as meaningless as Redneck #2341 on Twitter and IG and former NFL great Boomer Esiason who whined about Newton’s sportsmanship, conveniently forgetting that Manning once walked off the field at Super Bowl XLIV ignoring winning QB Drew Brees and by former NFL enforcer Bill Romanowski (sued by a former teammate for shattering his eye socket in a fight) calling Newton a ‘boy’ on Twitter before deleting the post after Twitter, both Black and white, handed him his ass.
It was generally conceded that this moment would eventually deliver a chastened Newton apologizing for his behavior and promising to be a better man and NFL player and a good boy, and sorry if he got out of line, he won’t do it again.
Cam Newton And His Unapologetic Blackness Is Right On Time [VIDEO] was originally published on blackamericaweb.com