Media coverage of the NFL’s 2016 Super Bowl 50 has been extensive to say the least, but as the momentous event came and past, the players that seemed to be on everyone’s tongues we’re Peyton Manning (of the Denver, Broncos) and Cam Newton (of the Carolina, Panthers). More specifically there has been major criticism of Newton’s flashy and entertaining celebratory dances, which have come under-fire multiple times for being unsportsmanlike conduct. Cam Newton’s energetic persona as the incomparable African American quarterback has been a hurdle for Sports News to cover, and thus has been handled in a number ways.
Leading up to the big game Fox Sports did an analysis of the two quarterbacks giving correlation to how their viewers see Peyton Manning’s actions in comparison to Cam Newton’s. They described Peyton Manning as “Prolific,” and compared his constant surveying of play print-outs to that of a student “cramming for an S.A.T,” preparing the Fox Sports audience to see Peyton as focused and dedicated. Alternatively, when talking about Cam Newton, his actions are described as “Demonstrative and Hyperemotional” and painted as the “most rambunctious kid on the playground” (Fox Sports, 2016). This break-down of Cam Newton makes him look unstable and childish to the viewer, especially when compared to Peyton Manning’s gleaming review. At the time Fox Sports was acting as an opinion leader and its opinion was that Cam Newton didn’t deserve or belong to be in the Super Bowl.
Active reporting and labeling of the chosen general consensus, that Cam Newton didn’t belong in the Super bowl, echoed through many social centers and media hubs until the day of the game. When Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 rolled around, Sports Media got what it was hoping for. The Bronco’s ended up beating the Panther’s with a score of 24 to 10, thus giving some sincerity to the news’ previous accusations. With the defeat of the Panther’s, it left the door open for a long line of Cam Newton scrutinizers. Perhaps the biggest showing of fangs by the media, was how they had criticized his after-the-game interview, which he reportedly left from in the middle.
Cam Newton’s behavior after his loss at Super bowl 50 was short-worded and despondent, but nothing short of something you would expect from a truly zealous player. This, however, proved to be Newton’s proverbial, “nail in the coffin” as sports news would have its viewers see it. Cam Newton’s interview has been used to question Newton’s professionalism and loyalty to his team. It really shows how previous stereotyping of Cam Newton, has led to a social feeding frenzy in the wake of his defeat. Cam Newton is an ardent African American quarterback who is unapologetic and fervently passionate; in being so has happened to have ruffled some of Sports News’ “Anglo American” expectations for what was expected from a professional quarterback. It’s this passion that makes him such a wild cast of colorful emotion, and it’s that emotion which does not, “conform to existing Anglo American attitudes”(Wilson, Gutierrez, Chao, 2013: pg.134) and does not fit the typical, “success story”. Cam Newton rebels in being strong willed as well as being a strong minded individual; a role model well-welcomed and hopefully unchanged by the daunting media pressure.
Brinson, Will. “WATCH: Cam Newton Abruptly Leaves Super Bowl 50 Postgame Interview.” CBSSports.com. 7 Feb. 2016. Web. 8 Feb. 2016.
Cruz, Caitlin. “‘Daily Show’ Calls Out Racial Hypocrisy On Super Bowl 50 Quarterbacks.” TPM. 5 Feb. 2016. Web. 8 Feb. 2016. <http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/daily-show-super-bowl-racial-hypocrisyhttp://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/daily-show-super-bowl-racial-hypocrisy>.
Wilson, Clint C., Félix Gutiérrez, and Lena M. Chao. Racism, Sexism, and the Media: Multicultural Issues into the New Communications Age. 4th ed. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2013. Print.