Is America ‘Beyond Race’? Cam Newton Thinks So

Associated Press

As football fans prepare to welcome their favorite teams back to the gridiron, last season’s MVP, Cam Newton, is in the news today, but it isn’t for his skills.

In an interview with GQ, Newton dove headfirst into a bit of controversy about race in America. After telling reporters back in January, “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,” the Carolina Panthers QB seem to be changing his tone about the pushback he’s received.

While his teammate, Derek Anderson, called the reactions–or rather overreactions–to Newton “flat-out racist,” Cam doesn’t seem to agree.

“It’s not racism,” Newton told GQ’s Zach Baron. “Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion.”

When asked to expound on why he think people are so critical of his every move–if it’s not racism–the star continued.

“I’ll let you be the judge. I don’t look at it like that. I look at it like some people have certain beliefs, and I have my own belief, and we can agree to disagree on certain things,” Newton said. “But this is what makes sports so amazing, that we can start a discussion around a table, in the newspaper, in the magazines, that will get people’s attention. And that’s what sports does.”

Hmm. Ok.

Newton went on to say America–which is currently undergoing some difficult, racially-charged conversations–is “beyond race.”

“I don’t want this to be about race, because it’s not,” Cam said of those who dislike him. “It’s not. Like, we’re beyond that. As a nation.”

Also worth noting, when asked if he’ll support Trump, who he calls an “unbelievable businessperson,” or whether or not he agreed with North Carolina’s controversial “bathroom laws,” Newton punted the question, calling them both “too personal” to answer.

“I love people too much to care about those type of things,” he said of the law that many claim discriminate against those in the LGBTQ community.

Newton explained: “I went to school to study sociology. You know, and that’s something that really gets my attention. I don’t look at things through color lenses. I don’t look at things through genetic images or whatever. Their sex. I just love the different type of vibes people bring. I try to alleviate any type of bad energy. But I could care less. I love a person because of who they are. And that’s who I am. So whatever you are personally, I don’t care. You know, if you a good person, you a good person.”

It’s difficult to know if Newton really feels America is beyond race, considering everything that’s been happening in the last year–police shootings, Black Lives Matter protests, surveys saying that race relations is getting worse–but we have to take his words at face value until he tells us differently.

Still, hearing one of America’s (and yes, Black America’s) best athletes sort of “All lives matter” his way through an interview is disappointing.