The NFL is exquisitely selective about what it goes to its fainting couches over. The latest player to wind up in the principal’s office for offending leftist sensibilities is Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
So, what did our Cam do to be called on the carpet? Did he disrespect the country that has so richly rewarded him by refusing to honor it by standing respectfully while the national anthem is played? Did he assert, as so many NFL players are doing now, that America is one large racist ghetto where blacks are held down by racist whites? Did he claim that American police officers are cryto-kluxers who seek out and kill innocent black Americans for their amusement? No, no, no. Nothing so trifling as these. Testosterone-free NFL officials, coaches, and owners have made it clear that these actions, slanders, and whopping lies are in fact courageous acts and are to be protected.
Cam’s offense, in the eyes of NFL officials, was far more heinous than suggesting that America is a racist hell-hole unworthy of respect. (I’m about to reveal what Cam did. Reader discretion is advised. You might want to put the children to bed.) There’s no way to sugar-coat this, or take the horror out of it. So I’ll just flat out tell you: Cam had a little fun with the relatively new requirement of having women football reporters.
It happened in this wise: Wednesday, Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodriguez, a person of the female persuasion, asked Newton about the way receiver Devin Funchess was running his pass routes. Newton, contrary to all current rules of civilized discourse, replied, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes. It’s funny.”
All right, maybe not funny. But at least a little odd in the eyes of those remaining dinosaurs among us (I confess to being one, as Cam obviously is) who consider football a man’s sport.
Of course the full weight of political correctness fell on Newton’s untutored head. In a statement from league headquarters the NFL gasped that Newton’s statement was “just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists who cover our league.”
Panthers officials were quick to recognize the offense and to counsel their overpriced quarterback on his departure from the party line. “I think there are conversations going on at the club level with the appropriate people with the Panthers,” NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said. “I don’t want to anticipate the league stepping in.”
I guess this means there is at least a chance that Newton will not be sent to re-education camp, or have to be whipped into shape by the league psychiatrist.
Of course, to escape these indignities, Newton had to issue an apology, which he did, and in the groveling tone that is in favor now when jocks offend any item of the ever-more-complex PC etiquette. I repeat it here for any reader who has the stomach for it.
“After careful thought [translation: “After league and team officials came down on my head”] I understand that my word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful to women. To be honest [“honest?” — I’ll wait here while you laugh], that was not my intention. And if you are a person who took offense to what I said, I sincerely apologize to you.”
This apology will strike some (see above re dinosaurs) as the very soul of degrading. But Panthers coach Ron Rivera pronounced himself satisfied with Newton’s apparent rehabilitation. “I think Cam made a mistake,” Rivera said. “I understand he had a conversation where he pretty much said he shouldn’t have said what he said.”
That sounds a bit like a Yogi-ism. But when you unpack it, it means Rivera is happy Newton is back between the PC ditches and can we please now get back to playing football.
Newton even lost a sponsorship agreement over his deviation from the One True PC Path. Yogurt maker Dannon cashiered him, with company spokesman Michael Neuwirth saying he was “shocked and disheartened” by Newton’s comments and behavior. I hope this doesn’t ruin Neuwirth’s weekend.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not recommending disrespecting women sports reporters. It does seem to be a requirement now that all broadcasting teams and newspaper sports staffs include at least one woman, even in sports that have been the exclusive province of men until very recently. There’s no reason for a true gent to be unchivalrous to the women who choose to make their living worrying about pass routes. It’s part of the cultural left’s overall lust for androgyny, their relentless promotion of the idea that men and women are interchangeable, and it’s probably here to stay. Those who claim that a society that includes women football reporters is better, more civilized, more just than one that doesn’t have a hell of a hill to climb. But they’re in charge just now. And before anyone on the other side of the social equation points it out, I know that the dinosaurs all died out. (But they were dinosaurs to the end.)
Of course the dinosaurs aren’t the only creatures to have died out. If the NFL continues to insist on going to the mat over every offense to PC etiquette while continuing to celebrate players who disrespect America, we may soon reach a time when NFL stands for No Fans Left.