"Here I am, I'm doing exactly what I want to do, how I want to do it and when I look in the mirror, it's me. Nobody changed me. Nobody made me act a certain type of way and I'm true to my roots. It feels great."
- Cameron Jerrell Newton
The false narrative that this is a pompous and arrogant athlete that seems to be pervading every major social media and news outlet is egregious. As I attentively listened to this man's speech, I observed a confident individual who was not obnoxious, but aware of who he is as an athlete and as an individual. When I think of how the in-game celebrations of Aaron Rodgers, Travis Kelce, JJ Watt, Clay Matthews, Rob Gronkowski and the countless others goes without condemnation, I can only reason that this is a racially and culturally charged effort to marginalize another African-American individual's accomplishments. He repeatedly defies the indoctrination of the stereotypical African-American which is to be strong yet timid. Big in stature yet docile. They mustn't make too much noise as to appease the greater powers that be. While there have been successful African-American quarterbacks in the National Football League like Russell Wilson and Randall Cunningham, no individual has attained their level of achievement in the same unapologetically colorful & charismatic manner as Cam Newton. He is unlike anyone who has preceded him which makes it difficult to understand the thought process behind his celebrations & eccentric nature. As a result, It's become easy for the nation to target him. It's 2016 and while I dislike speaking on the racial disparities and inequities engrained in the very fibers of the United States of America, it remains a current issue that is seen across all institutions, not just professional sports. It can be seen in the systems of healthcare, criminal justice, education, politics and so forth. Cam Newton isn't a villain or some rebel who wishes to vilify the game of football. He's a 26 year old who will remain true to himself despite his detractors in the same way that we all should. We shouldn't be simply living to make others comfortable when we are the ones who have to wake up and look ourselves in the mirror. It's 2016 and the once accepted idea of how an African-American is supposed to act and think is being rejected and replaced with a simpler and truer narrative: Black Lives Matter.
This man is a living testimony to the benefits of staying true to yourself and knowing who you are. With a dance and the handing of a single football, he's managed to motivate and inspire children all around the world while proving that a kid from the south side of Atlanta, GA or any other impoverished area can make it to great heights if they believe in themselves.
Cam Newton, I thank you.
An inspired Individual