by Pat Freeman
This year was my 16th. Super Bowl that I have covered and must say I had a lot of fun. Many questions still fill my mind on why does white America have such a problem with a black quarterback? Especially one that is comfortable with who they are as a person in this society during a period when many are not. The issue of race is not going away from the soul of America , and is easily personified on the largest stage in the world that we refer to as the Super Bowl. Dr. John Henrik Clarke often times stated “That God never created any races, and this was the creation of man’s failure to recognize differences associated by land, geography, language, and customs.” These are the only differences in the human race on this planet, and it’s for that reason so many in the media fail to comprehend a high profile athlete like Cam Newton. What bothers me the most is when those of the same culture agree with those opinions based on cultural ignorance? The unique experience of Afrikan people in this country is not one to be ignored, or taken for granted by any one who dares to try to criticize one of us.
Cam Newton plays a position in a sport that for years was said to be too complicated for a person of Afrikan Culture. The stereotype which was employed was that we lacked the intelligence to be a field general. On the defensive side of the game it was Willie Lanier in 1965 out of Morgan State University who shattered the belief that we could not play middle linebacker in pro football. This position on defense is the equivalent to the quarterback position on the offensive side. Many thought that after Doug Williams so brilliantly destroyed the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl in 1987 that these opinions would go away. Well they have not, and the reason is the failure to understand the difference in culture.
When Afrikan people celebrate dance, sing, and shout Hallelujah. Please attend any black church on Sunday see with your own eyes. The root of behavior is in culture and its lack of understanding of other cultures that gives rise to unfair criticism pointed towards people at every level.
During the entire Super Bowl 50 week this young man stood tall to some of the most culturally ignorant questions that could be hurled at any one person. People questioning his blackness without looking at his cultural background become a question laced in racial bias. This has been my problem with this all along you can’t know anybody without examining their culture, and so many times we base our knowledge of a person based on color. Cam Newton’s father is Bishop Cecil Newton Sr. of the Pentecostal church of near Atlanta Georgia . Just looking at his son’s background I have understanding better of Cam Newton who I respect a lot.
Hopefully one day we will stop allowing what is written to influence how we depict a person, but to examine one’s culture maybe we will understand it better bye and bye.
Pat Freeman writes for the Buffalo Criterion. If you enjoy talking about the world of sports tune into the number#1 sports show in the nation every Saturday from 4:00-5:00PM hosted by WUFO Sports Director Patrick Freeman on 1080AM WUFO radio, radio app., or via the internet at www.wufoam.com. Or catch Sports Update for clbTV (ch.20 Buffalo) and YouTube. Also join us for the number#1 recap show every Monday at 7:25AM with Lee Pettigrew, and The Mighty O’Ba Pat Freeman.