Cam Newton Has No Opinion on Colin Kaepernick or Race or Anything Else

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 10:  Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers congratulates Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers after the Panthers beat the 49ers at Candlestick Park on November 10, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Cam Newton Has No Opinion on Colin Kaepernick or Race or Anything Else

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Cam Newton Has No Opinion on Colin Kaepernick or Race or Anything Else

Cam Newton sat down with ESPN this week and talked about the Colin Kaepernick situation. Well, at least he talked about talking about the Colin Kaepernick situation. As usual, Cam Newton shared no real thoughts on any sort of issue, echoing the content of his GQ interview this summer.

Newton and Kaepernick are both black quarterbacks who come from the 2011 draft class. Newton has been a lightning rod of controversy for the dumbest things. He even has his own National Anthem controversy! But while Kaepernick wants to see change, give money, and answer questions – even if he doesn’t have the best answers – Newton continues to be vague and pretend that race issues are just insanity that should disappear. People get offended by Cam Newton and Cam Newton continues to talk like there’s no way this could be related to race. Via GQ:

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

Cam Newton: “His response may be somebody else’s response, but that’s not how I feel.”

Do you feel like football fans are racist toward you?

Cam Newton: “It’s not racism. Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion.”

So if it’s not that, what is it, do you think?

Cam Newton: “I’ll let you be the judge. I don’t look at it like that. I look at it like some people have certain beliefs, and I have my own belief, and we can agree to disagree on certain things. But this is what makes sports so amazing, that we can start a discussion around a table, in the newspaper, in the magazines, that will get people’s attention. And that’s what sports does.”

Here’s that chance, Cam! This is a discussion happening around tables, in newspapers, in magazines. It has people’s attention. Sports did it. And with the conversation happening, Newton went back to speaking in cliches and not committing to anything close to an opinion. That interview was published less than 3 weeks ago.

More from GQ:

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.”

Cam Newton: “I don’t want this to be about race, because it’s not. It’s not. Like, we’re beyond that. As a nation.”

You really think so?

Cam Newton: “Yeah. I mean, you bring it to people’s attention. But after that, that’s it.”

This is Newton throwing his hands up. Or just shrugging. I guess shrugging is more non-committal. It’s no surprise that Newton couldn’t offer any viewpoint on the Kaepernick situation because he’s obviously decided to never have an actual opinion. That’s his prerogative. Maybe he’s worried about endorsements. Maybe he really doesn’t care. Even when he seems to say something, he’s not. He stands in front of a picture of Ali, but you get the feeling he has no interest in what Ali did outside the ring. He’s a winner. Cam Newton is a winner. That’s the entirety of the message.

It’s easy to criticize, but who knows what I would say if I were asked the same questions as Newton. I’m sure I’d stammer and fall on cliches as I tried not to do anything that would get me fired. Troops? Awesome! Cops? Mostly good, but there are some bad apples out there. Racism? Bad. America? Needs some work, but still pretty good overall! Football? Important!

But I’m a white guy with a silly job. I don’t have the power to change anything. I can’t contribute anything beyond platitudes. Cam Newton can. He can stand up with Colin Kaepernick or he can kneel beside him. Or he can tell him he’s going about this all wrong. But pretending like racial issues are just silly things that don’t really affect anyone is a bad example. They do. Not having an opinion isn’t going to help anyone. Kaepernick may not have the most polished stance or the best plan to fix America’s problems, but he’s admitting that there’s something wrong and will help someone. Much more than pretending there isn’t a problem.

 

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