We made no secret of our love for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in the runup to Super Bowl 50. Newton and his team refused to compromise their identity, all while performing brilliantly under the league’s only Latino head coach. When they reached the Super Bowl, we hoped they would beat the Broncos and crush the racist haters.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and while we were certainly upset, perhaps nobody was more upset than the NFL MVP himself. During a post-game interview held within earshot of the Broncos’ press section, a clearly-dejected Newton answered reporters’ usual questions with terse responses before walking out early.
His response was perhaps to be expected. Not only is Newton a young quarterback who has calmly dealt with racist scrutiny throughout his team’s spectacular season, but he had plenty of reasons to be upset after last night’s loss. He’s human, and at the end of the day, he doesn’t owe anybody anything. But apparently, his show of emotion was more evidence for haters and critics to paint Netwon as unprofessional, a loose canon, ungrateful—basically, all the criticisms that rarely get lobbed at White quarterbacks:
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) February 8, 2016
Cam Newton is not a good loser.
— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) February 8, 2016
While the PC bros want Cam to be about race, it’s all about swag. And what happens when you lose that swag: https://t.co/R9MqRMGyWt
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) February 8, 2016
The worst of this criticism came from veteran linebacker Bill Romanowski, who has a history of racist and aggressive behavior and comments. Romanowski, in a now-deleted tweet, said, “You will never last in the NFL with that attitude. The world doesn’t revolve around you, boy! #CamNewton.”
He eventually sort of apologized, saying that he meant something else, but this attack signified the double standards facing Newton before, during and after the Super Bowl. Journalist and activist Shaun King said as much in his latest piece on Romanowski and Newton for the New York Daily News:
Let’s not mince words here. Romanowski wasn’t saying Newton was acting like a boy. He made a statement to Newton, put a comma after that statement, and followed the comma with the word, “boy.” He was calling Cam a boy.
Show me one instance where another league MVP has been called “boy” by anyone other than a stone cold racist. Show me one instance where any athlete in the Super Bowl has been called such a slur.
King earlier pointed out on social media that Manning wasn’t held to this standard by journalists when he and the Indianapolis Colts lost the 2010 Super Bowl to the New Orleans Saints. Manning, as reported by Yahoo Sports, did not shake Saints players’ hands and stormed off before being interviewed. King cited a quote from that article: “Walking off the field without congratulating Drew Brees may go against our misguided notion of what sportsmanship should be, but it wasn’t at all disrespectful or bitter. It shows how much Peyton Manning wanted to win the game. And who can argue about that?”
Meanwhile, Newton did congratulate Manning:
— Vox (@voxdotcom) February 8, 2016