The other day, Cam Newton told a female reporter that it was “funny to hear a female reporter ask about pass routes.” The world erupted in a collective OMG…except, they didn’t! Gather around the water cooler, friends. Place your wager on Cam’s apology. Some think it’ll happen and some think it won’t. I don’t think Cam should apologize, instead I think that we can use this moment to celebrate diversity. Diversity isn’t only black and white. It’s male and female. It even stretches to age, music choice and other parameters decided upon by varying groups.
You may not have noticed, but Cam is having a good year and the Panthers are looking good, again. Some argue that this whole ‘much-ado about say what?’ serves as a distraction to throw Cam off course.
With respect to female sports reporters, they’re great and we have evolved as a society to the point that female reporters at male sports games and press conferences are normal, now. In my opinion (this is where it gets tricky), I think Cam said aloud what many people would rather him say subconsciously.
First of all, what’s “funny” about it? Nothing, absolutely nothing! But neither is your white friend dancing to “Watch Me” or your black friend showing up and lighting up the party’s line dance at the honky-tonk. Would you have second thoughts about me making enchiladas for your Mexican family? Want to try my tamales? You may or may not, based on assumptions.
You would probably assume that my level of culinary prowess isn’t on the level of your abuelita or whomever makes the best food in your family. Same with the dancing, you’d be impressed by it because someone not from the culture has mastered the hottest dance.
So, when a remark like “that’s funny…” rings out to a female reporter in a room and industry dominated by white males, it’s actually not funny…it’s impressive! Still, in Cam’s case he was incredulous! Hard to believe that a female reporter is actually deft in sports reporting about football!
But, do we even want to have that argument? We really don’t want to have to address the lack of diversity in sports reporting, now do we? In 2014, Pam Oliver lost her #1 job to (how should I say this?)…well, to Erin Andrews. One look at Andrews and it’s easy to tell why the network may have made the move. Even that is inferred, just like the sexism heaped upon Cam Newton.
As a black man, I immediately thought that Cam’s “funny” comment translated to “remarkable”. Again, I’m a black man in America. Sometimes, I talk like Cam Newton. Other times, I don’t! I don’t dab, or know anything of the song, or the motion while smoking weed. Still, little kids and sports fans across the nation seem fascinated by Newton’s TD celebration gone viral.
Because I occasionally “speak the same language” as Cam, I think he was complimenting her. He may have been dismissing her…but we don’t know. We’ve been told that she approached him and there was still no apology. After all these years in the league, don’t we know that he’s one of the most unapologetic athletes on the field? Instead of demanding an apology, I say we take some time to understand each other a little better. Understand that vernacular in one culture doesn’t always translate to the other well or at all.
Understand that one person may be used to won’t always be what the other becomes used to. We can’t in our offense become offenders. I’ll say it even if Cam won’t…it’s remarkable to see and hear female reporters own the craft like their male counterparts.
So let’s just throw the assumptions out the window, here! Let’s all do a better job at understanding that nothing is as black and white as this world is trying to make it. Men can do what only women used to do. Women are leading and even dominating industries men used to in days gone by.
It’s a new day…and it’s reality is nervously “cute”, “funny” and even more interesting with each new day! No apologies necessary!