Eight months ago, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton alienated a certain demographic of his fan base for saying he was an “African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people.” Now, that same demographic has rushed to embrace him after he insisted to GQ in August that we are “beyond” race “as a nation.”
Sports Illustrated’s Jonathan Jones writes that his sudden post-racial talk may have been orchestrated by GOP pollster Frank Luntz, who had previously worked as a PR adviser with the team:
Via Sports Illustrated:
[Luntz] was called in (by whom is unclear) this off-season to help Newton frame discussions on race among other topics, according to people close to Newton. Luntz, who declined comment on this story through a spokeswoman, is often credited with prompting the phrase “climate change” rather than global warming and helping Newt Gingrich with his 1990s Contract With America.
SI’s Jones points out that Newton deliberately chose to give his first lengthy interview following the Super Bowl to Ebony magazine. In an article about the “Black(est) Panther,” Cam said at the time that he did not regret his pre-Super Bowl comments.
“I’m not so egotistical that I can’t admit when I’ve made a mistake,” Newton told Ebony. “But what you’re not about to sit up here and make me do is apologize for saying what I felt.”
Recently, Newton was asked to weigh in on San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest last Wednesday ahead of Sunday’s game against the team, but declined to speak on it.
“I’m so focused about the 49ers,” he said. “Right now, my focus is on trying to get to 1–1.”
Luntz, meanwhile, has been outspoken about his disdain for Kaepernick for his decision not to stand for the anthem in protest of how minorities are treated in the United States.
PHOTO: Cam Newton Instagram