Cam Newton

Media Could’ve At Least Pretended They Weren’t So Eager to Vilify Cam Newton

This narrative is tired.

by Zahara Hill, October 5, 2017

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Cam Newton

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My social views are best characterized as one part womanist and one part pro-Black. But when Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton made a sexist joke to a female sports reporter, I found the prompt media crucifixion to be irritatingly excessive–especially upon discovering that the remark would hurt his pockets.

During a news conference on Wednesday, a female reporter, Jourdan Rodrigue, asked the 28-year-old his opinion of another player’s field routes.

Newton chuckled and responded with, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes like … it’s funny.”

Shortly after the comment — which his laughter proved to be absent of malice — Rodrigue rushed to make herself the subject of a news story.

And so went the media’s vigilance to antagonize a successful Black man. One Fox reporter even demonstrated a particularly brave level of predictability when she decided to compare the sexism behind Newton’s comment to the ubiquity of racism.

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The press’ ardent coverage and the “controversy” surrounding the remarks are especially peculiar given the elevation of athletes’ political voices recently. It’s almost as if right-leaning and faux-liberal reporters saw an opportunity to say, “Ha! This is why you don’t deserve to be taken seriously.”

Interestingly enough, Newton opted not to distance himself from the ongoing debates surrounding athletes’ use of the playing field to express their political views. After becoming the first person in NFL history to rush for 50 career touchdowns on Sunday, Newton raised the Black power fist for all the wypipo to see.

After Wednesday’s news conference, yogurt company Dannon was conspicuously quick to cut ties with Newton by ending the sponsorship deal that rewarded the condemned athlete $1 million per year.

But what was most intriguing about Thursday’s series of events was the revelation of Rodrigue’s hypocrisy. Freelance journalist Torraine Walker discovered the woman not only had her own prejudices, but she also broadcast them on Twitter – the same platform she used to express her indignation on Wednesday. Rodrigue’s tweets revealed she’s even been so bold as to use the N-word on the public forum.

Two wrongs don’t make a right. But the underlying narrative behind this story is bothersome: A White woman victimized herself by way of a notable Black athlete and the media was quick to bite.

Have the stories of seemingly innocent White women falling prey to men of color become too few and far between? With a White supremacist president regularly and unabashedly debasing people of color, the popularity of the Newton story points to a clear yearning for news stories which cater to the stereotypes that validate provincial minds.

As Walker stated in his tweet, “Cam’s remark was dumb.” It was arrogant and unnecessary. But it certainly didn’t invite any comparisons to racism nor the incessant coverage. It just wasn’t that serious.

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