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Panthers' Cam Newton: I'm hoping to be a trailblazer

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  • By Tyler Dragon NFL.com
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The story on Cam Newton is far from done but the book on the quarterback already has many chapters.

Like it or not, one of the most extensive chapters in Newton's young career is about being an African-American quarterback.

Newton's personality and actions on and off the field have sparked many discussions. Unfortunately, much of the conversation surrounding Newton has been about the quarterback being polarizing and not his play on the field. The soon-to-be MVP was a halftime guest on ESPN during the Pro Bowl and touched on the topic.

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"Often times in this society a lot of people, including myself, want to label different things as 'ok well here's a quarterback. He kind of reminds me of a Ben Roethlisberger, or he reminds me of a Steve McNair. He reminds me of a Steve Young.' You have another quarterback, in the quarterbacks that are getting prepared for the draft now that will always be labeled or tagged along with the person that they kind of remind you of," Newton explained during halftime.

"But I said that I'm not a person that can necessarily be labeled, because when I was coming out I was labeled to guys that are no longer in this league. And I didn't mean it to come off as a race thing. I didn't mean it to come off as anybody that's being brash or flamboyant about a specific question. I was just saying facts. I'm hoping to be a trailblazer to not give an avenue not only to African-American quarterbacks but athletic quarterbacks as well. You can be Caucasian. You can be any type of ethnicity outside of African American and that's what I was trying to preach."

Newton's actions on and off the field relate to hip hop, much like Michael Vick's did in his prime and Allen Iverson to a larger extent. The Panthers quarterback has expressed many times that he's comfortable in his own skin and with the way he plays football. What he doesn't care about, as said again on Sunday, is what critics have to say about him.

Make sure to watch Super Bowl Opening Night live Monday on NFL Network at 8 p.m. ET.

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