*In an interview with ESPN’s Trey Wingo, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said that he does not support or disagree with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick‘s protest of the national anthem. His indifference has drawn criticism from ESPN’s “First Take,” sports journalist Stephen A. Smith. He starts off the segment by taking Newton to school about the injustices Black people have had to face.
“He knows what it is to be prejudiced against. He knows what racism is. He knows what bigotry is. But when you get interviewed by Trey Wingo, you gonna dance around it and have absolutely nothing to say?” Smith said.
Smith noted how many athletes expect journalists to speak out against racism. However, those athletes wouldn’t do it themselves.
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“Here’s what it comes down to for me,” he says. “What I saw was a superstar athlete who is the reigning league MVP who stars in the NFL right now for the Carolina Panthers, thinking about his brand. And is that new to us? We’ve got guys that are millionaires, 10, 20, 50, 100 times over, scared to take a position.”
Many disagree with Newton’s interesting perspective. “Who am I to say that it’s wrong?” he said about Kaepernick’s decision not to stand during the National Anthem. “Who am I to say that it’s right? Either or, it’s still personal.
Newton has stirred discussion with his perspective on race before. In January, shortly before the Super Bowl, he 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.”
When GQ later asked about that quote, he said: “I don’t want this to be about race, because it’s not. It’s not. Like, we’re beyond that. As a nation.”