GQ- Do you feel like football fans are racist toward you?
CN: It’s not racism. Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion.
GQ: So if it’s not that, what is it, do you think?
CN: I’ll let you be the judge. I don’t look at it like that. I look at it like some people have certain beliefs, and I have my own belief, and we can agree to disagree on certain things. But this is what makes sports so amazing, that we can start a discussion around a table, in the newspaper, in the magazines, that will get people’s attention. And that’s what sports does.
GQ: In January, right before the Super Bowl, you said: '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.'
CN: I don’t want this to be about race, because it’s not. It’s not. Like, we’re beyond that. As a nation.
GQ: You really think so?
CN: Yeah. I mean, you bring it to people’s attention. But after that, that’s it.
Oh good, that's going to sit reaaaaal well with the African American community. The most controversial black athlete currently in sports thinks that the nation is beyond racial tension despite endless amounts of evidence to the contrary. Obviously I know what he was trying to do by turning a blind eye to the prejudice he faces as a minority who also happens to be a public figure, but did he talk to his publicist prior to this interview? If he did then he was given some AWFUL advice, because there are - without question - people out there that either consciously or subconsciously dislike Cam Newton because of his race and dismissing that as a possibility only enables them to continue doing so.
I don't doubt that his intention was to get even his most passionate detractors on his side, but with a topic as polarizing as racism that's literally an impossible feat. You simply can't make everyone happy and that's the only possible reason I can come up with as to why Cam Newton would ignore the obvious hurdles he faces because of his background. What was supposed to come off as an assimilating answer came off as an attempt to combat ignorance with ignorance and that matchup was bound to fail to produce a winner. I'm not someone who thinks you can't criticize Cam Newton for reasons that have nothing to do with the color of his skin, but if you think that isn't the driving force behind at least some of the scrutiny he faces then you are probably one of the people he was trying to satisfy with this completely tone deaf answer.
Four of the most prominent African Americans in basketball are on stage at award shows holding court on the concept of institutional racism in this country and the most prominent African American in football is pulling the chair out from underneath them by talking about it like it's the Unicorn of societal issues. The guy asking the questions for GQ probably got a zipper jeopardizing erection when Cam Newton denounced the existence of discrimination. Probably had to slap himself to make sure he wasn't dreaming. "Did the black quarterback whose unforeseen skill set and eclectic personality lends itself to inherently racist commentary just say that racism is a thing of the past?". Jesus Christ, I knew he was getting fashion advice from Aunt Mary, but I didn't realize he was getting his "worldly" opinions on the state of race in America from Uncle Tom.