SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Cam Newton wants any discussion of black quarterbacks in a Super Bowl put away.
Newton on Tuesday emphatically tried to lay to rest any relevance of an African-American quarterback appearing in the NFL’s championship game.
During a series of questions by a media member that bordered on confrontational, Newton finally said to the reporter: “It’s not an issue. It’s an issue for you.”
Carolina’s All-Pro quarterback, seemingly tired of the topic, added: “I think we shattered that a long time ago.”
This was the third time Newton had to deal with the subject since the Panthers made the Super Bowl. He didn’t need to point out that several other black quarterbacks have led their teams to the big game: Doug Williams, Steve McNair, Donovan McNabb, Colin Kaepernick, and Seattle’s Russell Wilson the past two years.
Color? It matters not at all and never should have.
“I don’t even want to touch on the topic of ‘black quarterback’ because I think this game is bigger than black, white or even green,” the fifth-year Panther said. “I think we limit ourselves when we just label ourselves just black this, that …
“I want to bring awareness because of that, but yeah, I don’t think I should be labeled just a black quarterback. It’s bigger things in this sport that need to be accomplished.”
Newton was on a podium for the media session, calmly and often comically answering questions for about 30 minutes. But when the issue of race was raised, his demeanor turned serious, and his answers profound.
He spoke about being a role model and an inspiration to others. About living the dream he has had since he was very young. And about making a difference.
“I pray to God that you know I do right by my influence,” Newton said. “So when you ask me questions about African-American or being a black and mobile (quarterback), it’s bigger than that.
“Because when I go places and I talk to kids and I talk to parents and I talk to athletes all over, they look at my story and they see a person — African-American or not — they see something that they can relate to. They see a guy who went a different route than just going to a major Division I school and flourishing there.
“But I just want to become relatable, you know what I’m saying? It’s bigger than race. It’s more so of opening up a door for guys that don’t want to be labeled, that have bigger views and say: ‘Well, I’m in this situation, I’m living in this environment right now, but I also want to be an artist, I want to be a poet. But I don’t have the means, you know, to necessarily do the right things at that point.
“As for me, I just want to give those people hope.”
AP Pro Football Writer Teresa M. Walker contributed to this story.