With Black History Month underway, we take a look at one of the most polarizing Black athletes of our time in Cam Newton. The Carolina Panthers quarterback has honed in on his skills since entering the league in 2011 and he finally proved himself this season. He’s led his team to Super Bowl 50 and is the clear favorite to win.
Take a look at five of Cam’s biggest accomplishments as one of the premiere Black quarterbacks in the NFL below:
Winning The Heisman Trophy
The Heisman trophy is one of the most coveted awards in all of college athletics. It’s awarded to the most talented player of the year, and those both considered and chosen as winners are faced with very high expectations. Newton’s acceptance speech was full of emotion and words of encouragement. With his father being embroiled in NCAA investigation, it made the event bittersweet, but Cam held it together.
Defying The “Heisman Curse”
Auburn’s boy kept on racking up. Most Heisman trophy winners fade into oblivion but Cam didn’t let that bother him as he went on to win the BCS National Championship after already winning the SEC Championship. Fighting through the Heisman winner stigma, he finished college strong and went on to be the first overall pick in a 2011 NFL draft. He’s the first player to ever accomplish that.
Maintaining An Amazing Record
After coming off of a less-than-stellar 7-8 record last season, the Panthers made some key moves during the off-season to prep for a historic run the following fall. Cam led his squad to a 15-1 record after falling only to the Atlanta Falcons. The Panthers came out of nowhere to dominate the 2015-16 season and surprise even the most diehard fans. If they manage to defeat the Denver Broncos, the Panthers will have an 18-win season. Only three teams have ever done that before.
Becoming A Role Model For Young NFL Fans
Despite a report from a disgruntled mother earlier this season who feared Cam’s “pelvic thrusts” would corrupt her daughter, he’s an all-around great guy. Back in November, Cam chased down a ball that was knocked away by Green Bay’s Julius Peppers to give to a kid in the stands. This has become a staple after Cam scores a touchdown as a token of appreciation for his young fans. Cam doesn’t just give back on the field, the charitable work continues when the helmet and pads come off. He has helped so many through his Cam Newton Foundation, a charity which aims to improve the lives of children, with an emphasis on education.
Standing Strong Against Adversity
It hasn’t even been 30 years since the first Black quarterback appeared in the Super Bowl, so to some it’s still a fairly new concept. Cam has received plenty of criticism this season for his exuberant celebrations. Some believe that he wouldn’t be catching any heat about his on-field personality if he wasn’t Black.
“I’ve said this since day one,” Newton affirmed a few days ago. “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.” He’s not afraid to be who he is, and he will continue to power through the haters while still being respectful and having fun. It’s safe to say that the Dab will be hit at least once during the Super Bowl. Newton will become the sixth Black quarterback to compete in the championship game and if he wins, he will be the third one to do so.
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