Much like Issa Rae, I’m rooting for everybody Black.
So much so that as much as I’d love for Cam Newton to enjoy a bounce-back season after battling injuries the past two years, I’m still trying to reconcile the fact that he’s now a card-carrying member of the only team I hate more than the Lakers: the New England Patriots.
The same New England Patriots that have dominated the NFL for the past 20 years under the stewardship of a guy who can’t decide if he’s Trump’s BFF or not, a coach who’s a perpetual cheater and a quarterback who
is was the poster child for white privilege.
I mean, sure. His peers seem to be elated that the 31-year-old is back in business, but considering this white renaissance that we’re dead smack in the middle of—in which white folks are bending over backward to save face and atone for over 400 years of bullshit—how in the hell does a former MVP only garner an incentive-laden deal worth the league minimum?
And Cam’s deal looks even worse in the light when compared to other deals handed out this offseason.
It all started when the Carolina Panthers picked the worst possible time to cut him loose this summer by waiting until the twilight of free agency (“They’ve been doing him wrong timing-wise for the past two or three years, if you ask me,” his former teammate Mike Tolbert told The Athletic.). Throw in an unprecedented global pandemic and you have a star player who’s a) coming off of a major injury, but couldn’t visit team doctors to evaluate his health and b) couldn’t even meet with teams to properly vet interest because we were all quarantined.
As a result, quarterback gigs throughout the league dried up and the Patriots became the only viable option—provided Cam was willing to accept pennies on the dollar due to their horrid cap situation. This despite the fact that he’s a three-time Pro-Bowler, won three straight NFC South titles from 2013-15, lead the Panthers to a Super Bowl and was named league MVP in 2015 and is only a year removed from a strong season.
“I think the timing of everything going on in the world and specifically as it pertains to our country and the NFL, with him coming off the injuries, was just really not an ideal situation,” former teammate Greg Olsen told NBC Sports.
Translation: Cam got fucked over.
And now he’s a Patriot?!!? The one team that’s been busted for cheating time and time and time again? The one team ran by a Trump-loving, alleged solicitor of trafficked sex workers? The one team with no weapons of note other than a washed-up Julian Edleman? The one team that will drop his ass in a heartbeat before Week 1 if his Lisfranc injury isn’t fully healed? The one team where expressive, polarizing Black men—Randy Moss, LeGarrette Blount, Antonio Brown, Albert Haynesworth, Corey Dillion, etc.—have a looooooong history of being dissuaded from being their Black-ass selves?
“That was the first time where I felt afraid to be myself,” former Pro Bowler Chad Johnson admitted in an episode of A Football Life.
Again, I’m rooting for everybody Black, but you’re on your own on this one, Cam. I definitely don’t fault him for doing what he felt he had to to get back on the field, but the Pats ain’t it.