Cam Newton is not your father’s quarterback. He is a fun-loving, flamboyant-dressing, dab-dancing, Southern-sounding, in-your-face figure of black awesomeness who is rubbing white journalists all kinds of raw.
Recently, Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel let all his whiteness show when he tweeted this:
And then, after thoroughly dismantling the Arizona Cardinals, Newton told the press gallery that he knew the process was going to be long like “slow-cooked collard greens.”
“This has been a process,” he said. “It wasn’t going to be instant grits. It was going to be like long, slow-cooked collard greens. I think those collard greens are brewing right now. You can smell them from 100 miles away.”
When he speaks like this and uses our language, he isn’t talking to the gaggle of white reporters who now fawn over the man whose ability many doubted. He is speaking directly to his people—to us. And for Newton, it’s always been about us.
The dab is for us.
The outfits are for us.
Saying “this, that and the third” is for us.
Cam Newton is the living embodiment of the black American experience, from how he talks and walks to how he dresses. Don’t believe me, go to any black church anywhere in this country and listen to the tenor of the preacher’s voice and witness the flash of the outfits and tell me that it’s not for us. His embrace of blackness, so fullhearted, is why we are so defensive of him. We are aware that he is the Carolinas, that he is “us” and was ours long before he became theirs.
But Wetzel isn’t the only white reporter who doesn’t get it. That this “dab” isn’t for them. Newton’s been confounding and confusing white reporters for years.
Which is why black Twitter has come for and found Jim Folsom, the author of the 2011 hack piece “Cam Newton: Why Carolina Panthers’ New QB Is the Worst NFL Draft Pick Ever.” Don’t bother reading it, because it is arguably the worst piece of sportswriting ever, and I can break down the essence of the article as white tears cascading down during some “I hate Cam” toddler babble. I’m sure his outline for the piece looked something like this:
1. Cam is stupid.
2. Cam is not a real (read: white) quarterback.
3. Cam is Vince Young.
4. Cam is Ryan Leaf.
5. Cam is no Tim Tebow.