Cam Newton's Comments About Race in America Are Causing Controversy

August 15th 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

In a newly published interview with GQ Magazine, NFL Quarterback Cam Newton said he believes America has moved beyond racial issues. The comments prompted a strong response from black social media users, who feel the superstar player is dismissing real inequality in America.

Newton is one of only a handful of black quarterbacks in the league, and in the past, he's called out the heavy share of criticism he's faced for seeming to be racially motivated. Now, it seems, Newton has moved past that.

In the GQ interview, writer Zach Baron brought up comments teammates had made about the sort of backlash Newton faces as a high profile black athlete.

"Your now former teammate Josh Norman said last year, 'I’m going to be precise when I say it: It’s hate,'" said Baron.

Newton replied that he didn't agree. “His response may be somebody else’s response, but that’s not how I feel,” he said.

Baron became more direct.

"Do you feel like football fans are racist toward you?," he asked.

Newton continued to deny that criticisms toward him were based on racism.

“It’s not racism. Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion," he said.

Baron continued to press Newton, and eventually brought up past statements he made about race.

"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.'"

Newton concludes the discussion by implying that the U.S. is post racial.

“I don’t want this to be about race, because it’s not. It’s not. Like, we’re beyond that. As a nation," he said.

Black people on Twitter were angry about Newton's latest statements on race and called him out.


Although it's unclear from the interview why Newton suddenly changed his position, one Twitter user implied that his increasing popularity could be to blame.

Despite Newton's assertion that the U.S. is post-racial, there's evidence to suggest that racism is still a factor for black quarterbacks in football. A 2015 study by Assumption College researchers found that after a sub-par performance on the field, black quarterbacks are twice as likely to be benched than white quarterbacks, according to the Huffington Post. The researchers also found evidence that suggests black quarterbacks face slightly less discrimination in areas where a higher percentage of the fans are black.

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