Awful Announcing – Newton went out of his way to avoid creating headlines in the GQ article by refusing to comment on issues such as Donald Trump and the controversial North Carolina transgender bathroom law. When asked if he believes the criticism of him is racially motivated as his teammates have claimed, Newton wasn’t going to fall into the same trap twice. After all, Newton found himself in the news just this past January for saying, “I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to.”
Knowing the firestorm he would face if he called his critics racist, Newton attempted to mollify them by disingenuously saying we are “beyond” racism as a nation.
While some people are ripping writer Zach Baron for “baiting” Newton with these questions (full disclosure: That was my initial reaction as well), I think they were all relevant and fair game in a cover story. Furthermore, Baron does a good job of explaining how skeptical he was of Newton’s apparent reversal on the subject of race:
“Maybe today he woke up and felt like being just a quarterback, not a black quarterback. Maybe he feels fatigue at having to have this conversation with any random reporter who thinks he’s entitled to his thoughts on this subject. Maybe losing the Super Bowl, and hearing all the criticism of Cam Newton that poured out afterward, left him in a place where he just wanted to retreat, at least in front of a reporter, and for once in his life just not be responsible for explaining away the cruel and insinuating things that other people say about him. Maybe he just didn’t feel like participating in the whole economy of outrage that surrounds him today.”
And some of the responses Cam has gotten:
Awful Announcing has a really interesting breakdown on the story talking about how the “beyond racism” snippet went from a part of Cam’s GQ cover story to Twitter outrage based off a headline to think pieces from people about how Cam Newton’s comments are so awful. But what stands out to me reading both the GQ article and the breakdown of the controversy is just how fucked poor Cam Newton is. I have no problem with his dancing or some of his self-aggrandizing since it’s compelling theatre and that’s all I care about. But you can see him in that interview trying so hard not to be controversial and say some of the things that people have shat on him for, often undeservedly so, in the past. And then he says one sentence that seems sort of innocuous if a bit idealistic and WHAM he now is a man without a country. White moms and old men were writing letters to papers about how they can’t explain him to their children, black people thinking he’s some sort of race traitor for trying to bridge a gap in a VERY white media outlet, poor guy’s gonna have to learn to merengue or speak Mandarin fast just to fit in somewhere. I feel bad for Cam, at least about as bad as I can for a multimillionaire athlete in a high fashion magazine.
All that aside, would it have killed Cam to put that dumb Superman shit away for the cover of fucking GQ? It’s just so corny after so many athletes have done it, but especially on the cover of a serious magazine with decades of credibility like GQ. I’m not even a Pats fan but do you think Tom Brady would do that shit on the front of a magazine? Fuck no. He’d hold a baby goat on the inside of the magazine, sure, but no bullshit on the cover. That’s how you know a real icon and entertainer: If Dwight Howard thinks its cool, it doesn’t belong on the cover of GQ.