What I Hope Cam Newton Teaches His Son About Girls And Sports
Two events happened the other night that framed a dichotomy between the world we hope for, and the actual world we live in. I had just finished watching an exhilarating game five of the WNBA Championship. Our team, the Minnesota Lynx had won the game and became World Champions for the fourth time! These outstanding elite athletes battled hard and achieved this victory. Something no other professional sports team has done in Minnesota. Oh, and did I mention they are women? Yes! A positive story about girls and sports.
Not So Great Moments In Sports
Following the game was the news. In Sports, immediately following the coverage of our Championship Women, was this story. Cam Newton, a Quarterback for the Carolina Panthers of the NFL was being questioned at a press conference. A reporter, Jourdan Rodrigue, asked a legitimate and intelligent question about the routes his receivers were running. Cam started off his response, saying it was “funny to hear a female talk about routes.” Say what? Did he just do that? Did he just insinuate that women don’t have an interest in, or knowledge of a sport, because it so far has been just a league made up of men? Yep, he did. I literally yelled “Come on!” at the TV Screen.
This man just said something completely sexist and stupid in a time where Football Players for the two weeks prior were trying to convince a Nation that they were smart and thoughtful in their decisions to protest, or not to protest, our National Anthem. I have a son and two daughters that would hear this story and they would be confused and a bit dumbfounded. You see, in our family, our children play sports. We do not delineate sports into boys or girls sports, and my wife and I encourage them to try whatever sports they would like to try. We also watch and cheer for all kinds of sports teams and also learn about those sports to enjoy them more.
Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover
I was about to write off Cam Newton as just another sexist jerk. He would be a cautionary tale to my children. But when I was researching the press conference incident, I came across a magazine interview he gave where he spoke about being a dad. I had to take a pause. He has a 10 month old son. His son will some day see that press conference video. He will also see the backlash, the loss of a sponsor, and the eventual public apology his father made. He will have questions for his Dad. I hope Cam will have good answers. I don’t know if he wants any advice, but here it is.
There is an old adage – Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Growing up, I hated when I was stereotyped. I hated being put into a box. Most of all when I was labelled. Especially if it was just for one facet of the entirety of who I was. The sports I played in my youth were soccer, swimming, biking, judo, and tennis. It wasn’t until the fourth grade when I started bulking up that I tried baseball, basketball, and football. As quickly as sixth grade though, because I was a “husky” kid, I was associated as a football guy.
You Can’t Define Someone By One Aspect Of Their Being
I hated that, I wasn’t a dumb jock. I might have been a Defensive Captain on the Football Team, but I was also the Captain of the Debate Team. Maybe it is just how I am wired, but I knew at an early age, if I didn’t like it, then other people probably wouldn’t either. As I grew older, and gained more life experience, I saw the other way people were being labelled just because of one attribute about them. They were thought of in a particular way because they were fat, skinny, rich, poor, boy, girl, colored, gay, Jewish, Catholic, and on and on. I knew this was wrong. In school we took logic. This was the fallacy of extrapolation.
It was forcing a stereotype upon someone, and it was more than likely untrue. Cam Newton had done just that when he insinuated that the reporter shouldn’t have known so much about football, because she was a “girl.” Dude, it’s time you change that point of view. In our house, sports and activities are exactly that. We don’t label them as boy sports and girl sports. If they want to try it they can.
That is the same with activities and hobbies. Even if it is a sport or activity that neither of us parents have done. Supergirl is an Alpine Ski Racer. Neither my wife nor I were Winter Sports players, and we aren’t skiers. Our daughter tried it, was a natural at it, and we support her completely. The WonderTwins liked doing the same sports or activities together. It didn’t matter that they were boy/girl, they wanted to play together. This is the first year they first tried separate sports, and we completely support them.
So Cam, I truly hope you live up to what you said in your Vogue Interview, that you wanted to take fatherhood to that next level. You can tell your son that not only can girls play and understand sports, they might even be better than him at them, and that is OK. Maybe it will motivate him to be a better athlete. For sure it will motivate him to be a better man if he grows up that way and treats girls and women as his equals. If you need proof, I’d invite you to check out our World Champion Minnesota Lynx!