Cam Newton, Bill Romanowski, Rob Lowe And The Hypocrisy Of Racism
We took a hard loss last night. Watching the North Carolina Panthers succumb to the Denver Broncos was painful. And as hard as it was for us to watch at home, it was exponentially more difficult for the players who have been endured grueling practices, several seasons worth of hard-fought victories, injuries; and in the specific case of Cam Newton, public, often racially biased and character based backlash from fans, colleagues and critiques alike.
For us, the Super Bowl is just a game; for the players in the NFL, it’s their profession, their livelihood, the manifestation of their dreams. And unlike most of us, when we fail miserably at work or don’t reach a goal we set for ourselves, we get to maintain some level of privacy about it. But Cam Newton and the rest of the Panthers had their inadequacies broadcast for millions across the country to watch. For many, it played out on a jumbrotron.
Not only did it happen and we all watched it, the humiliation had to be replayed during the press conference when a room full of reporters asked the face of the team, Cam Newton, about the loss. Most of us can testify and talk about our shortcomings weeks, months or years after they happen. But Newton had to discuss it within minutes of losing the most important game of his career so far. And after giving a few curt answers to several cliche questions, he couldn’t do it anymore. He shook his head and walked off the stage.
Seeing that there was no way the Panthers could come back from and win the game, I’d long since checked out. But when I saw him get up and walk away from the press conference, I thought dang. I get it. I understand it. But this is just going to be used as ammunition by the White folks who haven’t been able to stomach his Blackness and his bravado all season long.
And I was right.
Bill Romanowski tweeted this after Newton walked out of the press conference.
Boy, huh? During Black History Month? We’ll get to that later.
Romanowski wasn’t the only one. Actor Rob Lowe, who’s known as a big Colts and Peyton Manning fan, even got involved in all the fun.
Let’s start with Romanowski. The 49-year-old former linebacker in the NFL was no joke back in his day. He was a four time Super Bowl champion during his 16-year football career. But for all his accolades, Romanowski is infamous for being one of the dirtiest, most unsportsmanlike players in the league.
The man has a virtual rap sheet when it comes to offenses on the football field, some of which involved his own teammates. He ripped off the helmet of one player, punched Tony Gonzalez in the head, spat on J.J. Stokes, broke Kerry Collins’ jaw and kicked Larry Centers in the head. All of his offenses throughout his career resulted in fines totaling over $79,000. The man has a problem.
And while he tweeted that the word “Boy” was in reference to Newton’s maturity and not anything racial, there was a clip of Romanowski talking about this desire to choke Newton as the hosts of the Bleacher Report laughed and literally made “I Can’t Breathe” jokes.
Now, what about Rob Lowe? As someone who watches and enjoys “Parks and Recreation,” in which Lowe stars, it hurt me to see him not only take this low road but to also discover the bit of information that made his comment so hypocritical.
Turns out Rob Lowe was R Kelly before R Kelly. In 1988, he videotaped himself having a threesome with two women…except one of them wasn’t a woman. She was a sixteen-year-old girl. Talk about a role model. His punishment? In order to avoid facing criminal charges for a blatantly criminal act, Lowe completed 20 hours of community service.
What trips me out the most about White people and their racism is the fact that they use the negative behaviors associated with human nature and try to pretend that they only apply to people of color. When Peyton Manning lost the Super Bowl to the New Orleans Saints, in 2010, he left the field without even congratulating any of the players. And y’all Peyton Manning is from New Orleans. Was it too much to congratulate the hometown team, especially when you know that the city of New Orleans had to overcome? Last night, Cam managed to congratulate Manning. And I’m not saying one quarterback is better than the other. I’m saying that it’s human nature. There was little fanfare made about Manning skipping off; but Cam is an unfit role model, deserving of death by chokehold, at the hands of Bill Romanowski.
The discussion got me so incensed because it’s bigger than football. We see it all the time in way Black behavior is analyzed in public spaces. Black people are thieves and criminals when it was White people who stole this entire country (and many others across the world) killing, raping and “relocating” many, innocent, native people in the process. And if that weren’t enough, they stole people to help grow the country, only to turn around and call these same people shiftless and lazy. Immigrants of color, particularly from Latin America are a burden to society. But most White people in America have a history of immigrating to the country, in droves, looking for a better life. They’re regarded as brave, courageous and an asset to the country, even though many of them didn’t speak English when they made it to Ellis Island either.
The media wants to talk, ad nauseam, about the rioting that went on in Baltimore and Ferguson when Freddie Gray and Michael Brown were killed. But in Denver, after the Broncos won the Super Bowl, their fans still proceeded to tear the city up. They were arrested but it was all very peaceful, no injuries and what not. Because their skin is White. And police officers can somehow understand and empathize with people being destructive when their sports team won vs the outrage people felt when Black lives were lost and no one was held accountable.
This post started off as a discussion about Cam Newton, but all of it is related. It’s disturbing when White people “jokingly” talk about killing a star athlete just because he’s brilliant and Black with bravado. It’s hypocrisy when a man caught having sex with an underaged girl wants to talk about being a role model for children. And it’s racist when a man with a dark history of violent altercations wants to speak doom over Cam Newton and his career for calmly leaving a press conference.