The Black Panther
We’re in the dog days of winter and it feels as if there’s no end in site. The days are cold, sunlight is short, and snow is the bane of a lot of peoples existence.
To top it all off, The Super Bowl is near and that means that football will leave us until the canine days of summer….
The game this year has an interesting narrative that I wanted to dive into. This blog has sort of evolved into something of its own so I don’t think a disclaimer is needed this week.
For those of you who don’t know, the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers will clash in Super Bowl 50; which will be played in Santa Clara, CA. Anyone who knows anything about football knows that it’s a quarterback league and this game is no different. The hype surrounding this game is built around the legend, Peyton Manning, playing it what maybe his last game. On the other side is the young, up and coming, Cam Newton.
The story is much deeper than that. This game is a tale of two personalities on opposite ends of the spectrum.
First, there’s Manning. The lovable average Joe who sells insurance, cars, and pizza. A man whose known for his football IQ and preparation. He’s the All-American, the guy this country can relate to.
Then there’s Cam. The young, abrasive, dabbing, cocky, loud, showman who’s going to let you know how fun he’s having.
But there’s a problem that seems to simmer under the surface when it comes to Cam and his defiant confidence.
There’s an unwritten rule in sports. You can’t be a showman, great, and black. That’s just a formula that will lead to most of America hating you. Black athletes must “act like they’ve been there” or be scrutinized for the smallest of errors. The boastful black athlete is told to be quiet. He’s compared to other black athletes that are more reserved and told to be more like them. People loved Ken Griffey Jr. not only because he was great, but humble as well. I’m not saying Griffey was a sell out or an Uncle Tom, he behaved well within his personality. I’m saying the the black athlete can’t have a unique personality, he must hide who he is behind false humility.
Cam has done nothing off the field that warrants scrutiny. If anything, he deserves praise for the manner in which he goes out of his way to give back.
Yet he still gets thrown under the bus. He’s chastised for his celebrations and his morals are questioned.
I just can’t make a bold statement like that without making some sort of comparison. Let’s measure him to someone who you’re quite familiar with.
The golden boy, Tom Brady.
Before you start crying and screaming about rings, Patriots fan, I’m not here to bash Brady’s skills. He’s the GOAT and there really isn’t much room to argue that.
Last year on Monday Night Football, against the Panthers (define irony), a microphone overheard Brady cursing out the officials as the game concluded. The outcry was minimal. People just charged it to the, “Brady is such a competitor,” account that seems to absolve him from any disrespectful act he does.
This isn’t the only act that Brady is guilty of. There are other examples of Brady being disrespectful to NFL officials.
I don’t even want to imagine the whirlwind of scrutiny that would have come if it where a black athlete. I’m sure he’d be called a thug and everything else in the book.
Oh wait, that’s already happened.
Race in America is a real, albeit uncomfortable, topic. It changes the perspective for multitudes of people and must be recognized. You might think that’s foolishness and insert a race filler quote such as, “I don’t see race.” or whatever makes you feel better and that’s your right.
All I ask is that over the next two weeks leading up to the big game pay attention. Truly listen to how Cam and Peyton are compared.
As always, thanks for reading.