Thursday, September 27, 2012

The truth behind the Cam Newton cartoon

In the words of Sergeant Hulka in Stripes: Lighten up, Francis.

The NFL pundits are all atwitter, analyzing to death the Observer's editorial cartoon on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. What was cartoonist Kevin Siers saying? Is Charlotte jumping off the Camwagon? What does this say about race in the Bible Belt?

Puh-leeze. Maybe Stephen A. Smith thinks such breathlessness makes for good TV. Apparently ESPN's Smith and Skip Bayless and so many other NFL talking heads find it easier to speculate than to go to the source and ask.

So here's the big secret, fellas: It was just a joke, no more, no less. Siers likes to poke fun at the absurd. And in his eyes, showboating after a 1-yard run when you're getting your brains beaten in is the definition of absurd. Thus the "Hello Kitty" t-shirt for Cam's Superman pose.

Sometimes, Siers thinks it's important to send a deep, thought-provoking message on public issues of the day. Other times, like this one, he just has a little fun.

What's more disturbing than a light-hearted cartoon is grown men so in awe of a football player that they ridicule any criticism of him, even when he touts his greatness on the way to a 36-7 loss. For my money, I'll take someone who calls it like he sees it.

Siers isn't a huge NFL fan, but he likes Cam Newton. And you can bet he's rooting for him to return to Superman  form.

-- Editorial Page Editor Taylor Batten

Here is Stephen A. Smith's commentary:


Unknown said...

Well said. Stephen A. Smith is a royal class idiot who gets his kicks out of getting offended, then going on television to shout out his meaningless rants. I'm pretty sure he looks at flour and is trying to find out who to sue for racism.

Anonymous said...

LOL - Charlotte, you're all racists. LOL Steve A is a world class idiot.

How's it feel being called a racist by a racist?

EuroCat said...

I am a huge Panthers fan - even when they're losing, no "fair weather fan" here.

I am also a huge Cam Newton fan. I'm sick of the daily Newton-bash we are subjected to in the Observer.

And I found Kevin Siers' "Hello Kitty" cartoon hilarious. I loved it! It made me laugh out loud when I saw it yesterday, and I've even related it to some fellow Panthers fans who hadn't seen it.

Some people need to grow up and lighten up.

YesWeCam said...

I don't believe this is a racist cartoon but whomever drew it obviously had color available evident from the pink Hello Kitty, so why draw Cam with white skin when he is obviously an African-American. Seems like you're looking for trouble. Good thing this isn't affiliated with the Observer and Steven A. Smith rightfully points that out.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to say which is funnier, the cartoon or the reaction to it. I think the cartoon's spot on, by the way. I love it.

todd said...

The only thing you should apologize for is watering down the cartoon in the name of political correctness. Making it look like a white guy and putting panthers on the helmet instead of Newton was lame journalism...

Unknown said...

I guess when I called WBT radio and told them that under the shirt was a big "U" (as in UnderDog) Stephen A. Smith would have found that racist as well.

A wise man once said, "He who takes offense, when none is intended, is a fool. And he who takes offense, when offense is intended, is a bigger fool!"

Anonymous said...

Stephen A Smith has got me fired up now. What an IDIOT! Stephen don't be ignorant. Are you insinuating that there is not racism anywhere else. I can't stand those YANKEE idiots that think racism is not prevalent up North. Are you kidding me! New York and Pennsylvania, Massachusetts are far more racist than any part of North Carolina. Stephan A. SHUT YOUR MOUTH FOR ONCE! They have you by the nuse up there ol boy!

Larry Comrades said...

If we know nothing about Siers, we all do know that he is not about to insult anyone but conservatives.

EuroCat said...

YesWeCam and todd, are you color blind?

Mr. Siers has depicted the arms and face of the cartoon Cam Newton as definitely brown- or black-toned. That is not a "white guy". Sheesh, you guys are as bad as Stephen A. Smith!

Archiguy said...

First, Steven A. is off his rocker if he thinks there was a racist undertone to that cartoon. Ridiculous. But bombast and buffoonery are his stock in trade.

Second, Larry Comrades must not pay much attention to Kevin Siers' cartoons because he slams liberals nearly as much as conservatives. Liberals just don't give him as much material.

Now Michael Ramirez - there's a cartoonist whose entire body of work consists of slamming Democrats and President Obama. He apparently does nothing else - he's the cartoonist version of Rush Limbaugh. He distorts and misleads and defames, but his biggest fault is he's just not funny. Yet the Observer prints his rubbish, and Charles Krauthammer's written version of the same, on a regular basis. So much for their so-called liberal bias.

Michelle Opinionradio said...

ortaIt's funny. Geez people. If you can't take a joke, go back under your rock.

It's funny, funny, funny. I'm so sick of Cam's showboating. I think the cartoon calls it like it is.

Unknown said...

Here's a thought... Why do you care? Who cares when someone celebrates a little? As long as they don't draw a penalty, I don't give a flip. It's a game. Let them have fun. Geez. When he scored and he did his move, I really didn't notice. That's his thing. I was like "ok, let's make stop and get the ball back." But now after the lost, it's easy to look back and armchair quarterback. Hindsight is 20/20, you know? If you ask me, people who complain about showboating are just hatin' because they don't have the ability. It's a game. They make money and have fun. What I saw during the game was a team that was ill-prepared and over-matched. The coaches and GM need to rectify that. And parents commenting that it sets a bad example for kids. Stop being lazy and teach your own kids. Kids shouldn't be idolizing pro athletes anyway.


BleedCrimson&White '98 said...

I'm sorry, it is ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC to celebrate when your butt is getting handed to you in a game- sorry. I have thought this about Newton since he did this crap last year and I appreciate Siers' courage to make this cartoon. No, I am not a Panthers' fan, BUT behavior like this and Newton's subsequent pouting is just so infuriating not to mention STUPID for a supposed grown up.

As for Stephen A. Smith, he is such a hot air balloon that is best ignored. If he isn't gushing over Lebron James every three seconds he is spouting off crap like what he said on this issue. People need to lighten up big time!

Garth Vader said...

Didn't know Screamin' A. still had a job after obviously racist ESPN fired him.

chef said...


Keith MagIlacutta said...

Wow white people sure are hypersensitive. The discomfort you fell is what is called cognitive dissonance . In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment. With the history of racism/white supremacy that whites created in this country ,should not black people always be suspect of anything you do? As Stephen A. said you do not get to tell a Jewish person what is anti- Semetic and the same should apply . The priviledge mind set of whites makes them feel entitled to ALWAYS tell others what others what they should not feel. The arrogance of the true minority on this planet is amazing . Its not racist because Mighty Whitey says so. I think you genetically inferior whites should keep quiet

chef said...

Yes Keith, you definitely you really fell? Don't sign up for the spelling bee...the genetically inferior whites are sure to win or at least rig it. And before you continue to spout your rhetorical diarrhea, I suggest you switch to another chapter in your sophomore psych book regarding proved it in your response

chef said...

And cognitive dissonance was coined by Festinger, a genetically inferior whitey

Willy Loman said...

Keith, quit whining. Maybe in another life you can come back and be white. Sounds like you might be happier then.

Dave Dowell said...


Things will never change until this misconception changes. Thing will never change until comments like yours are no longer the normal reaction from both sides of the race issue. I will gladly be up front with my views. As far as Cam, I absolutely hated the pick. THE PICK, not the man. I wanted Patrick Peterson, someone who would replace Gamble or make him step up his game. A strong, proud, independent black man. Many people who are fans of the Panthers know we desperately need a better defense.

That being said, Cam Newton with his behavior these past 19 games, has not been a reflection of what the spirit of Charlotte and the Carolinas is. The first season we all gave him a pass, he was learning to be in that roll; now he's being disconnected from the fans, and the city; it is not what we want from the face of our franchise. That cartoon was not and will never be an attack on the African-American community of Charlotte or the nation.

The Panthers are the only team I have pulled for being a Charlotte native, and in our history players and staff from both races have let us down in what most want; a winning season.

J. Richardson - promised us a Super Bowl ring in the first 10 years. Hasn't happened.

M. Hurney - has screwed up draft after draft after draft. No players = No Super Bowl.

J. Delhomme - Arizona playoff game. Enough said.

K. Collins - Cared more about booze than the game. Once he got it straight, he got a ring, somewhere else.

R. Kalil - with his absolute stupid move in that ad promising a super bowl this season.

Hey, guess what, they are all WHITE. That really doesn't matter. Right now, I have to say Beason and Newton, being the face of both sides of the ball have let us down. Both have promised rings in the last year also.

The actions of the whole Panthers organization, has been piss poor the first 3 weeks of the season; and to say "it's only week 3," thats 1/6 of the season. The NFL does give much time to right the ship. That is why no number is on that jersey, or no name. Because every player on the Panthers team has put on a front of being tough as a Panther, but has the heart of a kitten. Every player acts like a man off the field, but when they tackle; well my 6 year old niece can tackle better in her Hello Kitty shirt than our CB's. Heck, the whole game Rivera looks like he wants to hold a Hello Kitty doll until the game is over. We can't win with 52 toddlers on the field, and that was fans see.

The years of racism being some dark secret in homes are over. We have a black mayor, a black president, congressmen and women, and senators. A black man can be CEO of a Fortune 100 company or the president of the greatest nation on earth. So to everyone, don't feed into this fake story of how "Lordy, Lordy, Racism still exist in the bible belt." Or "BREAKING NEWS: White Charlotte upset with Black QB!" Stephen A. and the like are just trying to rile up the masses and get rating. They don't get paid if we don't listen. If some believe that thats not the case, then I guess we haven't come far in the past 230+ years.

Understand that those of us that bleed black and carolina blue, just are frustrated with the fake personas off the field, the broken promises, and the losing season. White, Black, Yellow and Brown, we as Panther fans are better than this. The city knows it, lets show it to the rest of the nation.

If you care to have a dialog about this tweet me at @Egon084.

Unknown said...

Dear Stephen A:

If all you ever do is look for racism in everything, that is all you'll ever see...

D. Edward Early said...

Hello Kitty - how do you like being used to promote PURE RACISM?

Racism aimed at black athletes is tricky business. Sure they get money and praise a plenty, but even as all that good stuff happens, there is a simultaneous force that is nearly sick with the need to slap, slam, set up. OR: bring forth disgrace or disrespect and denigration.

That's the way it happens with black athletes and that's why so many fans - read the ignorance in his set of letters - can't see how racist and wrong so much of what is said and written about black athletes is simply, horribly racist.

I am a professional journalist, so the very idea of calling a newspaper racist is difficult for me. If you don't learn anything else from me today - learn this: The so-called "race card," is never played quickly and easily. When you're a person of color, you HATE when the answer turns out to be race and racism. We want it to be anything else. Our politics? Our lack of skill or intelligence? Our personality? our character or lack thereof? When we finally have to admit - or in the case of the CAM CARTOON - when it is so obvious that racism is at work, that hurts worst of all.

If the CAM CARTOON was critical of his play, or of his pouting, or of his flagging leadership, that would be fair game.

No, the cartoon was a vicious attack on a 23-year-old wunderkind who did EVERYTHING he could to elevate and entertain and battle and joyfully represent Charlotte and the franchise in his rookie year. He raised up a quiet and anonymous part of the country, fronted by an NFL franchise that was moribund and embarrassing.

With EVERYTHING against him - the critics and draftniks - he gave blood and soul to achieving the finest rookie quarterback season in the history of the game. He made the Panthers must-watch TV and must attend entertainment all over the country. He laid his heart and body on the line and - along the way - he created his silly kid celebration: pulling open the Superman shirt.


Sure fans have lots of Year Two expectations, but THREE GAMES into the second season, the Observer doesn't aim mere criticism at his problems and difficulties, no.

The cartoon is meant to insult and hurt. To denigrate him as a "pussy" cat instead of a Panther. It was meant to take his kid-like celebration and drop it into poison to spoil it forever. The cartoon was meant to spit in his smiling face - how dare you nigger be so beautiful and talented and playful. It was disgraceful and cowardly. The worse cowardice? That editorial note saying: "Hey's's's a joke. Chill out."

That was almost as bad at the cartoon.

In sports writing there is an unwritten but honorable rule. You write something negative about an athlete or team? You show up. You go to that stadium, that locker room and face the music.

The idea that some cartoon geek and his pissant editorial page editor can vomit on this kid's life, his sport, his love, his very meaning - from their offices - sickens me.

It's racism. It's the hardest thing to realize, to sdmit.

Know got him. You hurt him, you spit into his once smiling face - and got millions of black fans too by disgracing a great, young, athletic role model.

And For what? Because he dared be sad about letting down the fans? Because he celebrated - perhaps wrongly - with the idea of maybe starting a competitive fire under his team.

Yes...those are terrible sins and they deserve this unprecedented show of racism, ignorance, bigotry. bullying and cruelty.

I hope the Panthers and Cam shut the Observer out completely and forever.

Criticism is fine. What you unleashed was disgraceful hate - for no good reason.

John said...

First let's correct an apparent misconception. Steven A. Smith was NOT the only one who was upset by this and probably not even the first one.

Second, the very fact that the Observer editorial staff had to put together an article defending the cartoon makes it quite clear that it crossed a line. This wasn't editorial "humor" it was personal.

Finally, no, I don't believe Siers was being racist... he's always been an equal-opportunity idiot!

some guy said...

okay. let me get me straight. some daytime television shock sports journalist trumps the initial stupidity of the cartoon and the sages in the CO's editorial office decide that they'll fire back with a greater level of idiocy laced in righteous arrogance defending their initial stupid decision to publish said stupid cartoon? nice.

i know this newspaper is hurting for attention, but please do the city and it's dwindling sports fans a favor. next time the artist decides to deviate from "a deep, thought-provoking message on public issues of the day" and decides to have a little fun, send back the napkin it was doodled on and find a better use for the space. you could always sell that square for apparent much needed ad revenue.

or just rerun some old Gary Larson cartoon. at least that would garner the cheap laugh that you say you were looking for.


Brandon Short said...

So apparently no white, asian, hispanic people can EVER criticize a black person or they will be called racist? Screw Stephen Smith, just the fact that he would bring up racism shows how racist he is. Smith is a world-class race-baiter and as an obvious liberal he should keep in mind that the majority of the press is liberal. Freedom of speech, Smith. I'm free to call you the biggest race-baiter south of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. ESPN needs to take away his platform for racial hatred or viewers will turn it off.

D. Edward Early said...

No dopey Brandon...SHORT on brains. It's not criticism that happened here. It never is.

Criticism is fine and often instructive.

This is a prime example of a black athlete being treated in a uniquely cruel manner. This is spitting. This is slicing. This is public, character castration. This is putting on Cam a set of expectations that would NEVER be put on anyone else - except another black athlete or coach or commentator.

Every year there are top draft choices who bomb out. They get criticized harshly - but I bet you can't find any of the "failures" who were denigrated and smeared and embarrassed and insulted and soul-kicked like this.

Only the black athlete.

So how about the few rookies who really perform well that first season. I bet you can't find any of the "successes" who were (three games into the 2nd season) jack-boot stomped in the press like this.

Only the black athlete.

Now think about the many white QBs who were great, good, average, horrible? No matter: No one ever got the savage treatment that Cam got here.

Now consider: He had the greatest rookie season ever, in the face of already withering criticism. How does that righteously turn into such ugliness only three games into his second season?


Point is...ONLY black athletes and coaches get unrealistic expectations placed on them, and when they don't perform, they get carved up with butcher knives.

Not criticism - poisonous strokes meant to devastate and destroy.

The reason so much is being written about this is because everyone knows - in their hearts - this was foul business.

The Observer should be ashamed.

Shannon Fray said...

This was a focus on Cam from an editorial page which took a shot a celerbration after an acheivement... I dont understand the problem with that... Why has no one held the Def Coaches and play calling responsible.. Draw the d not tackling kittys or the coaches puzzled by any play call..thats funny and its football.. This is a shot at character and this young mans culture..its a his backgroun his style..he is not getting arrested nor slack in preparation nor in games this cartoon is off base and off the topic of football so to me and My freinds and family that are black it not football so what is it ???????racist

Shannon Fray said...

and where is the support or the apology to those that are offended I dont care if you dont agree this should and is a 2 sided discussion and to dismiss my or any ones assessment of this is insensitive and that is also racist