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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cam Newton doesn’t think criticism is racially based; Warren Moon backtracks

Both Cam Newton and Warren Moon conducted interviews on Wednesday to address Moon’s highly-publicized comments from earlier in the week.

In an interview with Yahoo! Sports on Monday, Moon said the criticism of the Panthers quarterback has a racial component. Newton denied the criticism of him has to do with race, while Moon backtracked and clarified his thoughts.

“I haven’t heard anything that he’s said, but obviously Warren is a person I go to and learn toward for guidance with leadership on the field and off the field,” Newton said during a conference call with Chicago reporters on Wednesday. “You know he’s an avid person I might go to each and every day. I haven’t heard the remarks that he’s said but when it come to race and this game, I don’t think there is none at all. But I’m just going to continue to do the things that got me up unto this point and just try to focus on trying to win a football game.

“I understand I’m not perfect. I’m striving to be great,” he said. “Whatever people may think or whatever other people might criticize me on, I take it for what it’s worth but continue to try and make myself better each and every opportunity I get.”

Cam also said he wouldn’t worry about his critics and instead will “just keep living life.”

Moon clarified his thoughts during an interview on SportsCenter Wednesday.

“I think race is a little bit strong. I think stereotype is a little bit more of what I was talking about,” Moon told ESPN. “If we’re in a day and age when all quarterbacks are supposed to be equal, why can’t we start comparing quarterback to quarterback, not just black to black and white to white?”

Moon emphasized that he’s not trying to create a racial issue, but rather he is answering questions honestly when people seek his opinion.

“I’m a guy that’s experienced it, so I might be more a little bit more sensitive to this particular subject.”

Moon believes those working in football are past the race issue and will draft a player regardless of color as long as he can help the team win. But he believes there are others outside the game working in the media who still have the same “narrow-minded” thinking about race, and he wishes that would change.

“I just want to see things on a little bit more equal basis.”

It turns out that Moon’s real issue is the comparison of Newton to Vince Young. The comparison between the two quarterbacks was most prominently made by SI’s Don Banks, who compared the stories of the two men; they each were national champions in college, first-round draft picks, had dynamite rookie seasons, and struggled in their second NFL seasons.

“Cam Newton and Vince Young are two different players,” said Moon. “Cam Newton, the problem he’s having right now is he’s having a hard time dealing with losing. Vince Young had completely different problems in Tennessee. He had problems with his head coach. He had problems with thinking he wasn’t a guy that wanted to be a part of the organization. All those different things are not even the same, so I don’t even know where the comparisons come in.”

It seems like the discord is related to a breakdown in communication. Moon must have heard about the Cam Newton-Vince Young comparisons and didn’t understand them. What should have been explained to him is that the stories/career arcs of the two quarterbacks is what was being compared rather than their playing abilities. Had Moon been told that, maybe his remarks would have been different. And credit to Warren for admitting that his sensitivity to the issue from personal experience may have affected his comments. Moon is a smart guy who doesn’t race-bait, and I think he made much more fair — and salient — points in his clarification.



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