2020 Pats: Is Cam Destined to Fail?

Kenny F'ing Powers

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With someone trying to replace Tom Brady, plus the racial tension that currently exists in the country, what is the likelihood that the Cam Newton experience flames out in dramatic fashion?

While Massachusetts considers itself a paragon of virtue, Murph and Sully in Gilette Stadium have a muddier reputation.

Imagine Cam - the black man whose swagger has unfairly caused him to be a lightning rod from the moment hes entered the league - takes a knee prior to every game. Hell, lets imagine after every touchdown throw he takes one, and after every touchdown run he Supermans. How do we expect Murph and Sully to react? How do we expect them to react after Cam has an off game? How do we expect the Boston media to react?

Does Newton need to be perfect in order for this experiment NOT to fail? Are Murph and Sully ready for Superman Cam? Quite honestly, I'm nervous. This may peel the mask back to reveal a monster of quite a few fans in this region.

And maybe thats a good thing.

Or not.

(I thought about posting this in another forum, but this is not a POLITICAL post. It is a societal post revolving specifically around a football player. If mods think it should be moved, have at it.)
 

Shaky Walton

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Maybe I'm naive but I think that if Cam Newton is very good at playing QB in NE, then the overwhelming percentage of Pats fans wont give two craps that he's black. Or that he's flamboyant etc.

Martellus Bennett was not a QB obviously but he was outspoken, atypical for the Pats and black. He played TE well, and they won a SB without Gronk and with him, and I doubt many Pats fans gave any thought to his color and that most enjoyed his big personality. Martellus dancing with cheerleaders is one of my fond off beat memories from that season.
 

BaseballJones

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Pats fans have rooted for all kinds of people of a bunch of different ethnicities, including some people who were not-so-good characters, because they did good things for their favorite football team. If Cam scores a TD, Pats fans will cheer. If he throws a terrible interception, they'll likely let him hear it. But I wouldn't be shocked at all to discover racism in the Gillette stands (especially given what we've been discussing about Fenway), and I would be even less shocked to see the media make it a prominent issue.

And not that I'm personally offended at all so don't take this the wrong way, but if we're going to have a serious conversation about race and ethnic stereotypes, you might want to think twice about labeling the fans in Gillette as "Murph and Sully" (an obvious Irish reference). The largest nation of ancestry among citizens of Massachusetts is Ireland, but nearly 80% of people in the Bay State are not of Irish descent.

(From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Massachusetts#Ancestry )

And in Boston, people of Irish descent make up just over 14% of the population, again the largest single national ancestry, but again, it means that the vast, vast majority of people in Boston aren't Irish.

(From: https://statisticalatlas.com/place/Massachusetts/Boston/Ancestry )
 

Archer1979

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I've got to think that Belichick will give two craps about Newton, or anyone else for that matter, kneeling for the National Anthem. He's approached this with his team the absolute right way by putting discussions about race front and center and having football take a back seat. Belichick never puts football in the back seat. This is one of those "Only Nixon can go to China" events.

The organization, fans, and associated pundits will take their cue from Coach. If they don't, Coach doesn't care.

In Bill We Trust.
 

Saints Rest

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I think someone might easily have posed a similar question 25-50 years ago, perhaps more generally phrased "Black at Fenway: Destined to Fail?" But then along came Pedro. And not too far behind him was Big Papi. Those two, though technically DR, not AA, are arguably two o the 4-5 most popular athletes in Boston EVER.

So no, I don't think Cam is "destined to fail" because he is black.
 

lostjumper

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If Cam kneels after every touchdown, the crowd will cheer him like crazy. People will love that he scored, and cheer him on like every other black athlete who has played for the pats in the last 2 decades.

If Cam kneels before a game and throws 5 picks, he's going to get booed, not because he kneeled but because he sucked. SURE, after the game some sports fans will call into the radio stations and say he was bad because he wasn't focused. But who cares what people say on those shows

Ultimately, Cam Newton will be judged by his production, not the color of his skin.
 

InstaFace

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Dan Shaughnessy will write crap about him regardless, because he's an asshole.

There will be some racists in the stands who won't want to give him the benefit of the doubt, will nitpick him at every turn, and argue that Stidham should start in his place. They're assholes. Likewise any media members who Stand For Stidham early and often despite a lack of evidence that he's the better option (or would shortly become such if given a few starts).

The overwhelming majority, I think, of Pats fans, commentators and media members, will be evaluating him on the merits and won't give him any noticeably harder time or less slack on account of his race.

The refs still won't call roughing the passer for him though, not because he's black but because he's Cam Newton.
 

RIrooter09

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He’ll definitely be treated more harshly than a white QB with similar performance. The crowd at Gillette runs a few shades redder than the region as a whole.
 

DourDoerr

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It's heartening to see a black athlete sign with a Boston team so soon after the negative stories broke. I'm glad that the tiny minority of horrible people hasn't overwhelmed the majority of fans who aren't racists. Bennett's a great comp. It was a big unknown how his personality would fit within the organization and with the fans and he was a great success on and off the field. I think Cam gets a similar reception.

On BB and kneeling for the anthem: I think it's a different world now and if BB tries to keep his players from kneeling then it becomes a distraction. Through that lens, I'd guess BB reads the tea leaves and does what's best for his football team - as always. Players will be kneeling if they feel they must.
 

Marciano490

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Feels like this might be better phrased as what are we as NE fans at games or bars or in conversations going to do if there is any racist bullshit hurled at Cam.
 

nighthob

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I think someone might easily have posed a similar question 25-50 years ago, perhaps more generally phrased "Black at Fenway: Destined to Fail?" But then along came Pedro. And not too far behind him was Big Papi. Those two, though technically DR, not AA, are arguably two o the 4-5 most popular athletes in Boston EVER.
And Mo Vaughn before them. Had he stayed in Boston he would be up there as an eternally beloved figure, but in the 90s he was absolutely a god in Boston.
 

RIFan

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I think Patriots fans are the biggest laundry humpers of all the Boston teams. If he performs and the team wins he can wear anything and act however he wants and no one will care.
 

DourDoerr

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Feels like this might be better phrased as what are we as NE fans at games or bars or in conversations going to do if there is any racist bullshit hurled at Cam.
Much like the racists have been emboldened by the TA, I'd hope that there's now a dynamic where BLM has emboldened the non-racists as well and many will be at maximum energy if some fuckstick lets loose with the n-word.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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And not that I'm personally offended at all so don't take this the wrong way, but if we're going to have a serious conversation about race and ethnic stereotypes, you might want to think twice about labeling the fans in Gillette as "Murph and Sully" (an obvious Irish reference). The largest nation of ancestry among citizens of Massachusetts is Ireland, but nearly 80% of people in the Bay State are not of Irish descent.

(From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Massachusetts#Ancestry )

And in Boston, people of Irish descent make up just over 14% of the population, again the largest single national ancestry, but again, it means that the vast, vast majority of people in Boston aren't Irish.

(From: https://statisticalatlas.com/place/Massachusetts/Boston/Ancestry )
Im Irish. I accept the sterotype for our people.
 

nighthob

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I think Patriots fans are the biggest laundry humpers of all the Boston teams. If he performs and the team wins he can wear anything and act however he wants and no one will care.
If he's healed up and leading the Patriots to a 13-3 season he could shout "Hail Satan!" and do the Macarena after every TD and people will still cheer.
 

bankshot1

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I don't know about Murph and Sully, but there'a a good chance that if there are game in Foxboro and whether its Murph, Sully, Tony, or Moishe, if someone drops the N-word, they might get some social justice to go along with social distancing and get ratted out and escorted out.

And they would deserve it along with any penalty from the Pats like losing tickets or appearing in court to defend themselves for hate bullshit and creating a public nuisance or whatever.

This shit just shouldn't fly. PERIOD

If Newton sucks he sucks, but it seems or let's hope, the times they are a changin. .
 

DJnVa

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The refs still won't call roughing the passer for him though, not because he's black but because he's Cam Newton.
Cam Newton has the 5th most roughing the passer calls in the NFL since 2009 (and he didn't play until 2011).
Cam Newton is 9th in roughing calls/game in the NFL since 2009. He's 6th if we limit it to 2000 pass attempts.
Cam Newton led the league in roughing calls in 2011, 2012, was 2nd in 2014. He famously had 0 in 2015, when he won the MVP.
Cam Newton is 11th in roughing calls/attempt in the NFL since 2009. He's 6th if we limit it to more than 2000 pass attempts.
Cam Newton was 12th in roughing calls in his last "full" season in 2018. Had he had 1 more called he would have been 7th.
Cam Newton, over his career, gets 87% more roughing calls/attempt than Tom Brady.
Of all QBs that have played more than 100 games since 2009, Cam Newton is 3rd (behind Fitzpatrick and Cutler) in roughing calls/attempts.

We can tease some things out of these numbers, but mostly it seems that the high profile no-calls that one season have colored the perception. He got A LOT of them earlier in career, had a season with 0 (Brady and Brees got 0 last season, Rodgers had 0 in 7 games in 2017, Ryan has had a few seasons only getting 1), and was middle of the pack in his last full season.

 
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YTF

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I don't think he's any more destined to fail than he is destined to succeed. It's going to come down to performance and some level of humility. There is room for Newton to be himself and be a positive influence in the locker room. Gronk did it and to a lesser extent Brady was given a certain amount of leeway to be himself.
 

Kliq

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From a gameday perspective, I think the distance from the field/noise level at NFL games would prevent a lot of direct fan to player heckling. Some drunk asshole in the stands might be calling Newton the N word, but unless it is right near the tunnel when the players are entering/exiting the field, he is unlikely to hear it. This is different from baseball, where fans are much closer to the field and the atmosphere is typically quieter, and the NBA where the fans are extremely close to the players.

Boston isn't perfect obviously, but if the question is "Can Boston fans like a prominent black athlete?" I think we have 30+ years of examples, from Pedro to Papi to Mo Vaughn to Vince Wilfork to Randy Moss to Paul Pierce, etc. to show that they can.

As an aside, my Dad doesn't like Cam Newton because he wears a towel on his head all the time on the sidelines. That probably has something to do with the fact that Newton is black and my dad has some race stuff he hasn't quite worked out yet, but I know that if Newton plays well, my Dad will be putting a towel on his head while watching the games and cheering him on.
 

Rough Carrigan

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From a gameday perspective, I think the distance from the field/noise level at NFL games would prevent a lot of direct fan to player heckling. Some drunk asshole in the stands might be calling Newton the N word, but unless it is right near the tunnel when the players are entering/exiting the field, he is unlikely to hear it. This is different from baseball, where fans are much closer to the field and the atmosphere is typically quieter, and the NBA where the fans are extremely close to the players.

Boston isn't perfect obviously, but if the question is "Can Boston fans like a prominent black athlete?" I think we have 30+ years of examples, from Pedro to Papi to Mo Vaughn to Vince Wilfork to Randy Moss to Paul Pierce, etc. to show that they can.

As an aside, my Dad doesn't like Cam Newton because he wears a towel on his head all the time on the sidelines. That probably has something to do with the fact that Newton is black and my dad has some race stuff he hasn't quite worked out yet, but I know that if Newton plays well, my Dad will be putting a towel on his head while watching the games and cheering him on.
You have more than that. Luis Tiant was beloved.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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I had a similar thought to the question posed here, but being black was secondary to being a BLACK QB in my head.

Boston fans can of course support a black athlete, all the examples have been cited. But....there is the racial bias to certain positions or sports (which leads to a whole other convo about the true roots of racism). It's one thing to say "they rooted for PP/Garnett/Allen"; but if you want to dig far enough down, was it because the average person thinks of basketball being a black man's sport? Do we (collectively) think of a WR as being black, so Moss was cool? If the Bruins traded for PK Subban would it not be noticed and commented on? As for Cam, I think it goes without saying that for a long long time - both inside and outside of this region - there was a pervasive idea that QB is too "cerebral" for a black man to play. Most of the country has moved past that, the question is if NE has (and no, it's not just Boston)?
 

Bowhemian

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Didn’t the Patriots have a black QB start a game or 2 a couple years back? I don’t recall anything racial being said about Brissett. I think we are trying to make something out of something that isn’t there.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Didn’t the Patriots have a black QB start a game or 2 a couple years back? I don’t recall anything racial being said about Brissett. I think we are trying to make something out of something that isn’t there.
Jacoby Brissett had a workman attitude. Cam is outrageous and bombastic on and off the field. His confident personality irritates/scares certain groups in America.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Didn’t the Patriots have a black QB start a game or 2 a couple years back? I don’t recall anything racial being said about Brissett. I think we are trying to make something out of something that isn’t there.
Maybe to an extent, but I also think that having a 3rd string guy fill in for a couple games because suspensions and injury is a bit different than handing the keys over.
 

DJnVa

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From a gameday perspective, I think the distance from the field/noise level at NFL games would prevent a lot of direct fan to player heckling. Some drunk asshole in the stands might be calling Newton the N word, but unless it is right near the tunnel when the players are entering/exiting the field, he is unlikely to hear it.
And, of course, there likely won't be fans at the games.

You know, if there are games.
 

Kliq

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The black quarterback problem is certainly an institutional issue at every level of the game, although over the past 20 years it is clear a ton of progress has been made. I don't know if it has really reached fans all that much in 2020.

Newton has already proven that he can be very successful in the NFL. If he fails in New England I am pretty confident the opinion of most fans will be that he failed because he was too injured and wasn't the same player as he was during his prime in Carolina. I find it very unlikely that a significant portion of Patriot fans will blame his failure on being black, and therefore too stupid to be a good QB.

There is something to Newton having a swagger and level of charisma that is in some ways, uniquely African American, but again, I don't see his race being a large contributing factor to how fans view him. If he goes 12-4, he will be lauded for a great comeback story, if he fails people will just say he was too banged up.
 

YTF

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The black quarterback problem is certainly an institutional issue at every level of the game, although over the past 20 years it is clear a ton of progress has been made. I don't know if it has really reached fans all that much in 2020.

Newton has already proven that he can be very successful in the NFL. If he fails in New England I am pretty confident the opinion of most fans will be that he failed because he was too injured and wasn't the same player as he was during his prime in Carolina. I find it very unlikely that a significant portion of Patriot fans will blame his failure on being black, and therefore too stupid to be a good QB.

There is something to Newton having a swagger and level of charisma that is in some ways, uniquely African American, but again, I don't see his race being a large contributing factor to how fans view him. If he goes 12-4, he will be lauded for a great comeback story, if he fails people will just say he was too banged up.
I hope that we are WAY past that conversation. 3 of the last 5 NFL MVPs were black quarterbacks, one of them being Cam Newton. The only thing that should matter is that he is healthy, performs well and is a good teammate.
 

pappymojo

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Imagine Cam - the black man whose swagger has unfairly caused him to be a lightning rod from the moment hes entered the league - takes a knee prior to every game.

Is this true? I certainly think that some of the criticism he has received has been fair (referring to the criticism he received for the comments that he made to a female reporter).
 

drbretto

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As a NH resident and Facebook comment reader, there's absolutely nothing I'd love more than to see the Patriots quarterback kneeling before every game. If he's successful, it's a huge win for normalizing BLM. If not, he'll make it easier to pick out the racists.
 

Ed Hillel

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This is a trick question: There will not be a substantial 2020 NFL season.
 

drbretto

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Just because someone doesn’t kneel doesn’t make them a racist.
I never said it did. That's quite the leap there. I said it's be good for the region to have someone front and center who would kneel. If he's successful on the football field, he will be embraced, and that's good for the message. If he doesn't perform well on the field, it will expose more racists who will be more vocal against the kneeling.

None of that says anything near what you're insinuating.
 

j-man

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if u guys wins it dont matther what the color is and if he wins this year he will be your QB for the next 5 years because u guys have 90 mil in space if caps are nominally and about 55/60 million if caps go down after 2020 which wouild still put u top 5 in space
 

tmracht

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And Mo Vaughn before them. Had he stayed in Boston he would be up there as an eternally beloved figure, but in the 90s he was absolutely a god in Boston.
Absolutely agree I was a young kid and I was DEVASTATED when he left. We would all mimic his stance before games.
 

DJnVa

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As a NH resident and Facebook comment reader, there's absolutely nothing I'd love more than to see the Patriots quarterback kneeling before every game. If he's successful, it's a huge win for normalizing BLM. If not, he'll make it easier to pick out the racists.
How will you differentiate the "racists" from overzealous EEI-style fans? Will they all out themselves with language that they can somehow keep to themselves if the Pats are winning?
 

drbretto

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How will you differentiate the "racists" from overzealous EEI-style fans? Will they all out themselves with language that they can somehow keep to themselves if the Pats are winning?
Overzealous fans will be talking about football and the racists will be complaining about the kneeling. If they're winning, they will not be as vocal. If they're not, they will.

I honestly do not understand either of your reactions to my post. It's really not that wild of a take. Both of you made some pretty wild leaps, and in seemingly different directions. Jsinger appearing to assume I was making a statement about Brady, and now you appear to be insinuating that if anyone speaks out against Cam, I will automatically assume they're racist. And that's also kinda bullshit.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Another aspect of this arrangement that bears watching: The 31-year-old will now be suiting up for a team that plays roughly 30 miles from Boston, an area not historically known for its racial tolerance.

Anecdotes of prejudice abound from all professional corners — athletes, celebrities, comedians and reporters alike (including ESPN’s own, Michael Wilbon and Elle Duncan) — that cite the city’s long-standing issues with racism. It’s a reality that even the Boston Red Sox had to publicly acknowledge earlier this month.

At this volatile tipping point in time — when America feels like a powder keg of political unrest and venomous divisiveness — Newton could emerge as the first Black quarterback in the New England Patriots’ 60-year existence to begin the season as the Week 1 starter. (Note: Third-string backup Jacoby Brissett, who also is Black, started in Weeks 2 and 3 of the 2016 season while Brady was serving his four-game suspension for Deflategate.)
The Undefeated. Looks like some national writers are already on the scent.
 

loshjott

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Another aspect is what Trump’s buddy Kraft has to say about Cam and others kneeling. Judging by recent statements, if the NFL season started tomorrow it seems like 3/4 of the players would be kneeling. Cam certainly wouldn’t be the only Pat doing so but as the QB, assuming he’s starting, and former MVP he’ll carry more weight.

If he’s the starter I think the spotlight will be brighter on him certainly than it was on Brissett and really any other non Hispanic Black athlete in Boston (other than the Celtics) since Jim Rice, maybe Mo Vaughn.
 

DJnVa

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and now you appear to be insinuating that if anyone speaks out against Cam, I will automatically assume they're racist. And that's also kinda bullshit.
No. I asked how you will differentiate. That's the exact opposite of assuming how you would differentiate.
 

EL Jeffe

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I don't think Cam Newton is destined to fail, no. Anyone replacing Brady was/is going to be held to an impossible standard. Stidham had the gift of low expectations while Cam Newton is/was a franchise QB in his own right and fans will expect results. If Newton fails, I imagine he'd take more heat than Stidham would, but again - I think that's much more based on expectations than racial animosity. While it is naive to think race wouldn't play some factor into it for a segment of the fanbase, my sense is that the vast majority of the fans are genuinely excited about the move.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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I don't think Cam Newton is destined to fail, no. Anyone replacing Brady was/is going to be held to an impossible standard. Stidham had the gift of low expectations while Cam Newton is/was a franchise QB in his own right and fans will expect results. If Newton fails, I imagine he'd take more heat than Stidham would, but again - I think that's much more based on expectations than racial animosity. While it is naive to think race wouldn't play some factor into it for a segment of the fanbase, my sense is that the vast majority of the fans are genuinely excited about the move.
That's interesting. I havent talked about the cam trade with a ton of people, but on the two text chains I've discussed it, only me and one other person are happy about the trade. The other eight people are extremely unhappy.
 

DJnVa

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That's interesting. I havent talked about the cam trade with a ton of people, but on the two text chains I've discussed it, only me and one other person are happy about the trade. The other eight people are extremely unhappy.
Reasons? Because it costs them almost nothing.
 

Montana Fan

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Fail? Quite the opposite in my opinion. Had they signed Eli for this season, yes, failure would be likely. Belichick has weathered the storm of some of the biggest horse's asses in the league and come out smelling like roses. For a single example, see Randy Moss who has a great ongoing relationship with BB. I expect the same for Cam. He's a great athlete and a Jedi football player who is now teaming up with Yoda.

I am completely jealous of this deal and the potential for it to work out well for the Pats.
 

gammoseditor

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If healthy Cam Newton is a really good. If he fails here it will be due to not getting back to what he was a couple years ago. It won’t be from media or fan reaction. Carl Crawford failed here. His talent wasn’t what it was before he got here. The fans were patient with him. Everyone wanted him to succeed.
 

Comfortably Lomb

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That's interesting. I havent talked about the cam trade with a ton of people, but on the two text chains I've discussed it, only me and one other person are happy about the trade. The other eight people are extremely unhappy.
Small sample but the buzz from my football friends is pure positivity. They couldn't be happier.

I think Newton's personality is exactly right for Boston at this moment too. If he ruffles the feathers of some racist fans, good.