NFL

Cam Newton and the Libertarian Moment

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A lot of people want to tell Cam Newton what to do. The Super Bowl-bound quarterback, who went 15-1 in the regular season with 636 rushing yards and 3,837 passing yards, has always been animated during the game, showing excitement and celebrating when his team does something well and melancholy when they do something poorly. This, apparently, is a problem. Professional sports athletes aren't supposed to show emotion.

"I've come to this point in my life with I've been faced with so much good, bad or indifferent that I try to check myself if I'm trying to judge somebody," Newton said last week. "I think we are all guilty of it at times, but if we look in the mirror or look in our own closet, we see that we're not perfect. There was only one person who walked this green earth who was perfect, and we know who that is. That's not Cam. That's not you. That's not anybody."

That wasn't the portion of the statement that got the most play in the media. Later, Newton offered one explanation for the criticism he faces for his style of play, "I'm an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven't seen anything that they can compare me to."

He continued: "I remember when I was working out for the draft, I would see the Senior Bowl and see these guys out there busting their tails to try to get drafted, to try to have a job to provide for their family or themselves. And there I was, doing exactly what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it, and when I look in the mirror, it's me.

"Nobody changed me, nobody made me act this certain way. I'm true to my roots, and it feels great. Yet people are going to say what they want to say, and if I'm in this world living for that person who is going to say this or that, then I can't look at myself and say I'm Cam Newton because I'd be living for (my critics)."

The next few days of sports radio were filled with white callers wondering why Cam Newton had to bring race into it, and think pieces about how obviously racism was the problem here. They say Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers doesn't get called out for it. Rodgers was also criticized for joining the Wisconsin Badgers on the court after a victory at a game he attended, and other players believe it's in poor taste for fans to take selfies with him. You succeed, people want to tell you what to do. You fail, people want to tell you what to do.

At Forbes, Eric Macramalla argues some fans find Newton arrogant, and that it's his personality that drives criticism. Macramalla welcomes that personality. He also argues Newton couldn't possibly experience racism, which is a dim view, but one that gains currency in an environment where so much of the politics racializes. Either Newton can't possibly experience racism as a black man or the NFL is like modern day slavery.

A lot of the media jumped on the racialized aspect, even if they may have been trying to defend him, doing what Newton pointed out about his critics, that they want to tell him who to be and define who he is. Ron Rivera, the Panthers' coach, said he'd also like to believe criticism of Newton was about "his personality more than anything, the idea that you should be stoic when you play this game. But I think a lot of people disagree, a lot of people think you should come out and have fun." It's a kid's game, Rivera said, even though there's "a lot" of money involved. "At the end of the day it's about entertaining and having fun. If you're not enjoying yourself, don't play the game; it's that simple."

This pre-game media frenzy surrounding Newton is just one example of the libertarian moment all around us. The moment is cultural as well as political, and insofar as politics gloms onto the culture in the same way government gloms onto the society, the culture's always ahead of the politics. As Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch explained in The Declaration of Independents, the libertarian moment is primarily pre-political.

From bitcoin to 3D printers to legalizing consensual non-violent behavior, it's about consent and cohabitation. If you're into it, do it. If you're not, don't. Don't tell someone else what to do because you're uncomfortable. Cam Newton dresses, dances, does charity, and plays quarterback the way he wants to play it. As he should. The old school pundits complaining about his attitude or style will just have to get over it. The world is increasingly moving toward a more libertarian place where individuality, freedom and choice are celebrated. Newton's expressions and actions during the Super Bowl will be another vivid reminder of that.

NEXT: Ted Cruz Upholds America's Proud Tradition of Self-Defeating Culture Warriors

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  1. I know the Panthers are favored by 5.5 points but how hilarious would it be for the race hustlers if Peyton Manning, possibly the whitest major athlete in all American sports, beats him tomorrow?

    1. That would depend on how much money I had on the Broncos.

      1. It’s obvious Vegas wants Denver to cover the spread.

        1. Well then they’d better get busy bribing Cam to take a dive. Fixing big games isn’t for the lazy. Just ask Arnold Rothstein.

        2. No it isn’t obvious.

          Vegas doesn’t care who covers or who doesn’t.

          Vegas sets the line so that the amount of money bet on both sides is equal as they can get it to be so they are guaranteed a 10% profit referred to as “the juice”.

          Vegas sports books aren’t gamblers.

          1. But sometimes they guess wrong and thge line is imbalanced. Then they care.

        3. I don’t gamble. But when the line makes no sense, I think Vegas is doing it on purpose. And I don’t think this line makes sense. The Denver Broncos defensive line is very disruptive. I’ve read everything Greg Cosell has written about the match ups at the line of scrimmage and it’s not obvious to me that Carolina’s O-line is going to control the game. Maybe they will. I wouldn’t be surprised if Carolna wins, but I don’t think these teams are as far apart as this line suggests.

          FWIW, I don’t have a problem with Cam. He’s having fun. Yay fun. It’s not like the second coming of the 80s Hurricanes or anything.

    2. My wife is rooting for a paralyzing neck injury to The Human Potato. “He sells shitty pizza.” That’s reason enough for her.

      1. Convert your wife to libertarianism and tell her that she enjoys the freedom to NOT buy pizza from a chain that he promotes.

        1. There’s only so much you can do with a vindictive 10 year old.

          1. During the Denver-NE game, she threw her doll at the TV and stamped her feet.

      2. She’s an an-cap, fwiw. All the cool kids are.

  2. Professional sports athletes aren’t supposed to show emotion.

    Right. That’s why Joe Flacco gets all the sweet endorsement deals.

  3. What I find laughable is a guy celebrating a first down or a tackle when his team is getting crushed.

    1. That’s like every Browns fan. They get a first down and it’s like they won the Super Bowl.

      1. But can you blame us? Cleveland needs SOMETHING to celebrate, for god’s sake

    2. My biggest memory of that was back in the day when the Houston Oilers were a team.

      The Oliers were down by 2. It was 4th and 14 for a first with the clock running down. A rookie caught a 12 yard pass and jumped up and started doing a dance as the referee signaled a turnover on downs. This was back when dancing after a touchdown was a new thing and after a single play was unheard of. It looked like he was celebrating for the other team.

      He was still dancing as the Oiler’s defense was coming onto the field and the other team ran out the clock with 3 kneel downs

      I don’t remember him being on the team or any other next year.

      1. I saw the Oilers with Bum Phillips and Earl Campbell at Cleveland stadium as a kid.

    3. The children I coach do that. Many of them don’t know the score of the game, they just know how they’re doing as an individual against an individual player of the other team.

  4. Don’t tell someone else what to do because you’re uncomfortable.

    I’m a fan of Cam Newton. The way he’s come along as a passer, especially without his #1 guy all year, has been amazing. He’s turned a decent receiving corps into a very effective one. And what a monster he is physically. I’d hate to be a DB and see him running toward me.

    Is racism a component of the hate he gets? Sure. I mean, the haters aren’t racist-racists. They wouldn’t be watching the NFL if they were. But to them, black players are tailbacks and wide receivers and defensive backs and pass rushers. The brainiest positions – center, middle linebacker, quarterback – those are white guy positions. (Granted, most fans don’t give a shit about the center or middle linebacker)

    When a black player is good at quarterback, it’s not usually a problem for the haters as long as the guy has a low key personality. Doug Williams wasn’t flamboyant. Warren Moon wasn’t; neither was Steve McNair. (Donovan McNabb was hated, but he played in Philly, where the fans there love the team but hate every player on it.) But Cam Newton has fun playing, and he’s gonna let you know.

    The question I have is this: if people have a problem with his act, what’s wrong with them saying so? If “The world is increasingly moving toward a more libertarian place where individuality, freedom and choice are celebrated”, it can surely survive the presence of a few morons flapping their stupid gums, right?

    1. “it can surely survive the presence of a few morons flapping their stupid gums, right?”

      It will pretty much have to.

    2. I’d hate to be a DB and see him running toward me.

      Depends on how long he lasts doing that. In that last game if I were the coach I wouldn’t have been too happy with Cam’s touchdown dive. He could have easily scored without the dive, and he was pointlessly endangering his health in order to score in the showiest way possible.

    3. Well said, particularly the part about most fans not caring about centers and MLBs. But as for the libertarian movement encompassing the critics as well…yea, but I’m still allowed to tell them to piss off, right?

    4. Cam does the same shit that a lot of other guys, black and white, do and have done for decades, ever since Billy “White Shoes” Johnson was doing his duck dances after touchdowns. Now the goofs do this stuff after making a first down.

      It’s all childish, low-brow nonsense, but if you don’t want the guys to dance, don’t let them make plays against you.

  5. I have a sneaking suspicion this will be a blowout not seen since the last time Peyton Manning made the Super Bowl.

    But nothing would bring me greater joy than for Manning to win and the entire interview post game goes like this:
    I’m retiring. And I used HGH the entire 2011 off season because I had a life-threatening neck injury and I wanted to use modern medical science to help me heal. And the NFL is retarded as shit for banning it and the FDA is clueless.
    ::mic drop::

    That would make it worthwhile.

    1. I am a Carolina fan, and I have to admit for a moment I almost wished Denver would win so that scenario could play out.

    2. This is the perfect Super Bowl for me. If Peyton wins and rides off into the sunset, I would love that. Or if he loses and we have endless arguments about how great he was because of or in spite of his playoff record, that would be great too. Win win!

  6. I’ll be rooting for the Panthers. Nothing to do with politics or race though. I just want someone else to win.

  7. You know who else had problems with a black athlete?

    1. Irish?

    2. Ray Rice’s wife?

      1. Jesse Owens was at a Republican rally? UNPERSON

      2. Or for those people living in the 21st century: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tATPhzmizE

    3. FDR and Jesse Owens?

    4. Max Schmeling?

    5. Cap Anson?

    6. Ben Chapman?

    7. Every white person that’s run the 100 yard dash in a century?

      1. Nicole Brown Simpson !

        What did I win ?

        1. You win a pair of slightly stained Bruno Magliashies.

          1. Bruno Magli shoes.

            Fuck you, Apple autocorrect.

    8. While those are all very good answers, I was looking for “Nicole Brown Simpson”.

      1. I have a very slow connection.

    9. P.J. Carlesimo?

    10. Not Angelique Kerber

    11. Desiree Washington?

  8. This is stretching the “libertarian moment” a little thin. Private criticism of behavior you don’t like has nothing to do with advocating the use of force to make people behave the way you want them too. In fact, lively argument and criticism is essential to the libertarian moment.

    I happen to think sex change operations are bullshit and that Bruce Jenner did not become a woman. And I would argue that point in a discussion. But I would also vigorously fight any effort to ban the operation or otherwise give it special government attention. If people want to modify their body to satisfy their delusions, have at it!

    This is where I think a lot of Reason editors miss the point. They seem to think you actually have to be in agreement with behavior that you don’t want the government to regulate.

    1. If people want to modify their body to satisfy their delusions, have at it!

      +1 gauged earlobe

      1. I went to the Warped Tour for something like 7 years in a row. And the assortment of freaks there was awesome. But I could never get over my revulsion at the people with the huge gauges in the lobes.

        1. I have a bunch of ear piercings but I got bored of that twenty years ago. These freaks are going to look really silly when they’re old and paunchy.

          1. Yes, I’ve always been curious about what is going to happen to the lobes of the guys that have a half-dollar sized gauge in there.

    2. “This is where I think a lot of Reason editors miss the point. They seem to think you actually have to be in agreement with behavior that you don’t want the government to regulate.”

      NOT OKAY

    3. Bingo! Nick’s thoroughly odd article in the summer about Jenner is exhibit 1 for this type of nonsense. Everything ENB writes is right up there. Go ahead and fly your freak flag. I am still free to call you a freak.

  9. “The next few days of sports radio were filled with white callers wondering why Cam Newton had to bring race into it”

    Awwwww shit. they all be like “sassy negro!” and he be all like “whut my hat is bae

    1. sports radio were filled with white callers

      How can you tell the race of someone who is (a) on the phone AND (b) on the radio, por favor?

      1. Some people can tell second hand. Went to the first game that Turner Gill coached for KU – which they lost. Listening to talk radio on the way home, some guy called in and demanded Gill be fired.

        Two weeks later I was relating the story to some friends of mine. One asked, “why would they want to fire him so quickly?” To which the other replied, “racism.”

        So, from a distance, second hand, and something that happened in the past. This is why progs should be in charge – they have superpowers.

  10. if tucker carlson and paul ryan could make a man-baby, it would look like bill mcmorris.

  11. There was only one person who walked this green earth who was perfect, and we know who that is.

    You know who else wanted to be perfect?

    1. I don’t know who he is, but he is my mortal enemy
      – Mr Good

    2. W. E. B. Du Bois?

    3. Tom Brady ?

      1. that guy has bad teeth and a lazy eye and sounds like someone stepped on his nutsack when he was a baby.

        nothing wrong with that. but i’m just saying he’s got a long road to perfect.

        1. Creep shaming? Not cool.

    4. Lucius Seius Strabo and his son, Sejanus?

      1. +1 dsylexia

  12. A football player likes to play football and is cocky. That’s certainly unprecedented, and definitely evidence of a libertarian moment washing over the nation like a tidal wave. Say, anyone #feelthebern or #madeamericagreat today?

    Anyways, Cam Newton’s an absolutely astonishing player. As a Broncs fan, I wish he were on our team and I’m expecting that it’s the Panther’s game to lose going in. He’s a good player, and if the Broncs lose I’m just glad we took out the Pats before we did.

    1. Pretty much this. Two things give me a small ray of hope: This is Payton’s last game, and he desperately wanted that ring, and the Broncos always play better when they are the underdogs.

    2. I don’t like cam at all. Nothing to do with race. I hate the insistence on number 1, the celebrations for every play, the phoney (looking, to me anyway) sports hero giving footballs to kids, kinda the whole package.

      That said, he’s an amazing football player and I feel he should do whatever he wants just as I am free to dislike him for some of the things he does.

      I have $50 on the Broncos hoping that Peyton can pull it off one more time and retire on top. That’s my hope. My expectation is that that the Panthers are going to mop the field with Denver. Sigh.

      It is crappy pizza though. 🙂

      1. QBs, punters and kickers have numbers between 1 and 19, so it’s not that surprising for a QB to have the #1.

  13. Athlete has fun while playing game. Oh, noes; what’s next? Good lord, give it a rest. Yes, Cam’s black; I’m reasonably sure he’s always been black. I saw his year at Auburn up close and every game had one of those “did that really happen?” moments. He’s not getting arrested, he’s not assaulting women, not making it rain at the strip clubs, not being a knucklehead. He’s basically a big kid with outsized talent and exuberance to match.

    1. “He’s not getting arrested, he’s not assaulting women, not making it rain at the strip clubs’

      so you’re saying he’s not black.

    2. Not getting arrested?

      Yeah, lets just say his teammates lock up their laptops when he is around.

      1. so which teammates laptop did he steal nearly a decade ago?

    3. Every Auburn fan in existence wants to suck his cock. The displays of abject hero worship at the end of every Barn home game in 2010 was creepy and weird.

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  15. A gazillion Americans watch football, a sports dominated by blacks. But if the quarterback is black, then apparently the fans somehow become racist and berate him.

    The rest of the world derides football as a war game because the objective involves taking over territories. In a way, that’s exactly what it is, and it explains why fans go upset over excessive celebration. A touchdown dance is like a occupying force taunting the retreating army by waving around the flag they captured.

    A decent NFL team might score 3,4 touchdowns a game and kick a few field goals. A soccer team runs around 20,30 minutes to score even one goal. The euphoric rush when they do score is real. Celebrating a second quarter touchdown is meaningless.

    1. A soccer team runs around 20,30 minutes to score even one goal. The euphoric rush when they do score is real.

      Yeah, I dislike “excessive celebrations” myself but this is a good point. But both games are indeed full of arrogant narcissists* to a point I don’t see in other sports.

      *Not saying the fellow in question – whom I had never heard of before yesterday – is one.

      1. Football is a war game… Hmm, this isn’t football vs soccer, but close enough:

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qmXacL0Uny0

        ps Soccer is full of baby-ass floppers

  16. “I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen anything that they can compare me to.”

    Uhm, sweetie – you are *far* from the only black football player in history. You’re not even close to unique in the realm of ‘African-American quarterbacks’.

    We’ve seen *a lot* that we can compare you to.

    1. like who? Seriously. Cam reminds you of which player from before?

    2. Actually, he is unique in the realm of black QB, or any QB perhaps.
      Can you name a comparable player?

      1. How about – every other black quarterback in the history of professional football?

        Oh, and every other quarterback of whatever ethnicity in the history of professional football.

        I can’t speak to his skill – I’m pretty apathetic about sports in general unless I’m playing it – but I doubt this guy is the gridiron messiah spoke of in prophecy. Hey may be a great quarterback, but there have been a lot of great quarterbacks. Hell, there have been quite a few black quarterbacks.

        Basically, there’s nothing unique about the guy and the claim that people are ‘scared’ because ‘they haven’t seen anything they can compare me to’ is . . . weird at best.

        Newton wants to do whatever Newton wants to do – fine. I don’t care. But Newton claiming that people complaining about what Newton is doing are doing it because they’re upset about an uppity negro is ridiculous.

        1. https://www.google.com/#q=black+quarterbacks

          He’s not going to convince me that *none* of those guys, not a single one, ever came close to his level of performance.

          1. Uhh, yeah.

            You aren’t into sports, that’s cool.

            First rookie in NFL history to pass for more than 400 yards in back to back games
            Most passing yards by a quarterback in first two games
            Most games in NFL history with a pass TD and a rush TD
            Only player in NFL history with at least 30 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns in same season
            Most rushing touchdowns in single season by a quarterback
            Most combined yards in a player’s first five seasons (21,560)
            First quarterback and fifth player in NFL history with at least 500 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns, and 4.8 yards a carry in 5 consecutive NFL seasons
            First quarterback in NFL history with 100+ pass touchdowns and 25+ rush touchdowns in first five seasons
            First player in NFL history with 10,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in his first three seasons
            First player in NFL history with 10,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards in his first four seasons
            First player in NFL history to have at least 3,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in five consecutive seasons
            First quarterback in NFL history to rush for 100+ yards and pass for 300+ yards with 5 touchdowns in a single game
            First player in NFL history to with 100+ rush yards and 5 pass touchdowns in a single game
            First player with 3,500 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns in a single season

            And so on….

            1. None of these records begin “First black…”

            2. Cams deal is that he’s big, fast and can run while having decent passing skills. All of those records combine running with other traditional QB stats.

              If Cam learns to process information like Rodgers or Brady, then he will be truly transcendent.

            3. Be interesting to see how he does against the Denver defense.

              And pot is legal on Colorado. Not in North Carolina.

              I’m going with Denver.

      2. Randall Cunningham had a better arm and was faster than Cam. The guy ran for almost 1,000 yards one season during an era where running QBs were almost unheard of. Cam’s bigger than Randall and is a tremendous player but he’s hardly a trailblazer.

  17. I thought this article was going to be about paying college players under the table.

  18. IRTFA & still don’t know what it’s about, nor why you’re reporting on it.

  19. Peyton Manning could teach both Cam Newton and Donald Trump a thing or two about humility…http://bit.ly/1T6hpUH

  20. I see. So Ed says the Libertarian Moment is society being opinionless about everything that doesn’t affect their personal liberty. Interesting.

    Cam Newton doesnmt bother me in the least, personally. But I appreciate and accept the opinions of others that think ball players should display more humility, or act in a certain way. What if a player comes along who likes to draw penises on his uniform? Will it be un-libertarian to criticize that? Opinion is a big part of freedom. People aren’t advocsting changing laws to quell Cam Newton that I’ve heard.

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  22. The celebrations of pure joy are fine and wonderful, but the posing stuff, no. If it’s done for ratings, well, that’s an insult to the fans.

  23. Nobody is perfect. I should have married nobody.

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  26. Apparently it never dawned on this writer that Newton is a jackass of the first magnitude and has a very spotty and disgusting past history. He probably should be in prison, not dancing in the end zone. The author here is onecluless jerk. Par for the course with “Anything I do must be OK because I’m over 21 and decided to do it” Libertarian BS.

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