Warren Moon is mentoring Auburn’s Heisman winning quarterback Cam Newton. The fact that public perception – and the perception of NFL executives is that Cam is a pampered, spoiled and undisciplined individual, the NFL Hall of Famer credits to racism. As the Bud Light ad campaign says, “here we go.”
Moon told CBSsports.com that, “there is racism in every walk of society. We’ve made a lot of progress in this country. But racism is still there. I just thought in the sports arena we were beyond it. I think the way Cam is being treated shows we’re not.”
Let me say that one of the reasons we’re not beyond racism in sports is that the excuse is used inappropriately too often. Moon is right in that racism is in every walk of life, sports included. But when the former Oiler blames race as the reason, “other quarterbacks in the draft [aren’t] being criticized by the media or fans about their smile or called a phony, and that Newton is being held to different standards from white quarterbacks,” Moon is missing the reason.
Dislike about Newton is not because of his skin color, it’s because of his actions – and isn’t that what Reverend Martin Luther King wanted when he said he hoped one day man would be judged not by the color of his skin but the content of his character? Questionable actions have a way of following Cam Newton.
When he was at Florida and tossed a stolen laptop out his dorm window and pleaded to a lesser crime, people questioned his character not his skin color. When he was dismissed from the University for allegedly cheating on tests, his character was again questioned. When his father – supposedly unbeknownst to Cam, solicited $180,000 from Mississippi State, and then choose Auburn because, as Newton told The Montgomery Advertiser, “the money was too good,” Cam’s character, not skin color was questioned.
When ProFootballWeekly published a draft profile that claimed Newton, “lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness,” and was described as, “very disingenuous — has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup, always knows where the cameras are and plays to them,” the profile was describing Newton’s character issues not his race.
Moon was asked by Cam’s father Cecil to train the quarterback for the NFL. Instead Warren referred the training to George Whitfield and stayed on as Newton’s advisor and mentor. As such the cloud of racism might sound like a reasonable deflection of attention, but it’s not.
By claiming race like the boy crying wolf, Warren Moon devalues the argument for when it’s truly needed. By enabling Cam Newton’s actions and chalking up the inevitable reaction to race, Moon does Cam a disservice by not teaching a kid an extremely valuable lesson that he’s obviously not yet learned – actions have consequences.