Cam Newton: The Man, The Myth, The Loser.

Cam Newton is literally, and figuratively, a loser.

He lost the Super Bowl and then acted like a child in the post-game press conference. I saw a Facebook post defending him today that basically says that he works hard and has drive, and if you don’t understand why he acted that way, you must be an unmotivated bum.

Well, maybe I am, but that’s a ridiculous defense of a grown man. I’ve been so worked up about it all day that I decided I had to write about it, if only for my own sanity.

If you want to talk about hard work, let’s talk about people raising children on minimum wage or single parents shelling out $972 a month for daycare. Cam Newton plays a game for a living and makes more money in one year than most people will see in a lifetime. If he loses the Super Bowl, that is too damn bad: I’m not crying for him.

I could write for days on why treating athletes and celebrities like gods is detrimental to society (and to my soul) but I won’t. I’ll just make this point and be done. (Maybe.) Cam Newton is one of the most privileged men in America. He’s been flying on private jets since he was a freshman in college and he has a platform to reach millions of people via national television every single week. He’s 26 years old and he’s worth $32 million.

The argument that “he’s heartbroken” or “he worked hard and his dream was crushed” is just BS. People’s dreams are crushed every single day, and they don’t mope around about it. 21,000 people literally die of starvation every day! Meanwhile, Cam Newton is sitting in his cushy $2 million apartment crying into his $118.5 million contract because he lost a game. Boohoo.

I understand that he’s heartbroken, disappointed, even pissed off. I would be too. But there is a way to handle yourself, and refusing to actually answer questions then storming off isn’t it.

What are we teaching our kids? The kids that wear his jerseys and scream his name and pretend to be him when they play flag football in the backyard? “Be a good sport and treat everyone with respect. Unless you try really hard and you lose. Then you can be a poor sport.” Or how about “If you win all of your games, you can dance around and talk trash and treat other people like they’re inferior to you.”

I just think it’s pathetic. I think his behavior was embarrassing, and I think defending and excusing him is just as bad, if not worse. And don’t even try to cry wolf that I’m only saying this about him because I’m a Ravens fan: I said the same thing about Manny Machado throwing a baseball bat at Josh Donaldson. (Because WTF, who does that?!)

I’m not saying that he should be smiling and laughing and pretending like he isn’t crushed. I’m saying that even though he is crushed, he should have some class. Giving footballs to kids when you’ve got a 14-0 record doesn’t make you a leader. Losing gracefully does.

Don’t ask for media attention and accolades when you win but not when you lose. It isn’t a one way street. Saying he shouldn’t have to talk to the media after the Super Bowl is like saying the president shouldn’t have to talk to the media after a national disaster. It’s not pretty, it’s not fun, and it’s not enjoyable, but it’s part of the job.

If you don’t want the bad, Cam, you can’t have the good. It’s as simple as that.

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Ray Rice Hit His Wife. The Entire World Has Seen It. Let’s Talk About It.

Why is it that when TMZ releases a video of Beyoncé’s family in a “private moment,” it’s a travesty, but when they release a video of Ray Rice’s wife in the exact same scenario, it’s okay?

It’s not, and that is wrong. When the video of Solange and Jay-Z fighting in an elevator was leaked, it was a major breach of privacy. It was invasion. It was a big deal. But yet, when the video of Ray Rice and his wife, Janay, fighting in an elevator was leaked, no one has even brought up the incredible invasion of privacy.

Let’s just get one thing straight: Ray Rice was wrong. What he did was despicable, horrendous, and unacceptable. He should be, and is being, punished. Thousands of people- mostly young boys- look up to him. And his punishment and apology should set the example that domestic violence is simply not acceptable.

I’m a Ravens fan, I want them to win. But more than that, I’m a fan of respectable human beings that honor one another. I care more about raising a generation of men that know how to treat women than about a Superbowl ring or a winning record for a sports team.

(Also: isn’t it amazing what alcohol can bring about? Make wise decisions, people, and you won’t make mistakes that you’ll regret forever.) It breaks my heart that his wife has to deal with this humiliation publicly. I can only imagine how she feels that the incident happened, much less that it happened for the world to see. And now, even more of their private life is being aired on a national platform- and here’s why that bothers me.

Solange, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z are all three public figures. They have all chosen to live life in the spotlight. If they didn’t live life in the spotlight, they wouldn’t have jobs. If they wanted to sue for libel or defamation in a court of law, they would have a much harder time suing than a “normal citizen.” Why? Because they’re defined as public figures, so they’re subjected to more media slander than a private citizen. No, this obviously doesn’t make it okay to release a video of them that isn’t, in fact, in public. It’s still wrong, morally. No one needs to see what goes on behind closed doors.

But why do we, as a society, only care about privacy breach when it affects someone that we call a “Queen?” (Which she’s not. She’s human, and really no more impressive than anyone else.)

Janay is not a public figure. Is Ray Rice? Yepp. Is his wife? No. She isn’t doing anything to put herself in the spotlight. If it weren’t for this incident, no one would know her name. So then why was this video released, if no one cares about her? Right now, everyone cares about Ray Rice. Because they want to shame him. The public is angry with Ray Rice, understandably, but they want revenge. They want him to feel the hurt that he caused his wife. Again, understandably. But once he’s apologizes, been punished, and apologized again, how long can we hold onto anger?

Should we forget that this happened and sweep it under the rug? Obviously, no. But should we take a different approach: an approach that teaches boys, men, women, girls, how to treat others? Not only fighting against violence, both domestic and overall, but also teaching a way of life that isn’t vengeful or full of hate?

As a Christian, I believe that Christ forgives me regardless of my sins. Sins are not ranked on a scale: they’re all equal. But I am forgiven regardless of what I do. And the Bible is clear about how to handle others when they, also, sin.

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15

The release of this video is shaming Ray. How couldn’t it? He is more humiliated than he was before. A round of applause for you, TMZ. But Janay suffers from this more than Ray does. She is shamed and humiliated and embarrassed more than he is. While he’s re-living the guilt, she’s re-living the pain, the embarrassment, the public humiliation, and the criticism. Their daughter will more than likely see that video one day. Can you imagine how crushing that is for a mother?

As a person, but especially as a Mass Communications/Journalism major, I’m incredibly saddened by the release of this video. It doesn’t reveal anything that the public needed to know. It doesn’t give deeper understanding into an issue. It was released to hurt people. And it did. It hurt Ray, it hurt Janay, it hurt their daughter, and I’d venture to say it hurt everyone that cares about either of them.

Please don’t watch this video. Please don’t encourage vengeful behavior. Please don’t stoop so low. Think about your daughter, sister, friend, wife. Would you want her dirty laundry to be seen by million of people? If the answer is no, don’t watch someone else’s dirty laundry.