2011 NFL Draft: Cam Newton Victim Of USA Today’s Apparent Racism

By Zennie Abraham, Jr.:
Updated: April 2, 2011

Cam Newton

Cam Newton

San Francisco, CA–The 2011 NFL Draft is taking a turn for the worst. “Dog Whistle” racism’s playing a role in this year’s draft, with some unlikely names using the tactic to advance their own favorite quarterbacks. The question is why, and why is the USA Today the publication at fault?

In the USA Today NFL Draft Special Edition for the 2011 NFL Draft, two articles, both by USA Today Reporter Jim Corbett, have so much misinformation on Auburn Quarterback Cam Newton, the Heisman Trophy Winner of last year, especially when compared with Missouri Quarterback Blaine Gabbert, that the work winds up reading like a marketing puff-piece for Gabbert, rather than a valuable, informative document.

And when USA Today NFL Draft Special Edition is not pumping up Gabbert with inflated claims, the articles compare Newton with black quarterbacks of years past, rather than his contemporaries of today, which happen to be white.

This awful work of fiction, which you can get at Chicago O’Hare Aiport’s Hudson News Stand, hits its stride on page 4, when Corbett uses a quote that Gabbert’s a “traditional pocket passer.” Everyone who’s seen Gabbert play knows that, like Cam Newton, he played in a shotgun-spread offense, with Gabbert five yards back from the center. The term “traditional pocket passer” implies throwing after dropping back from under center, something Gabbert did not regularly do at Missouri.

Then, Corbett uses ESPN’s Mel Kiper to aim one of a couple of hum-dinger, head-scratcher negative statements about Newton and about Gabbert. On Gabbert, Kiper obviously never watched him play at Missouri, because Kiper said that Gabbert struggled on third down completions in college because he “didn’t have Daranio Alexander (Rams wideout). He didn’t have Jeremy Macklin, (Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver). The receiving corps wasn’t nearly what it used to be at Missouri.”

Really?

If that’s the case, Kiper’s not watched any tape on Gabbert at all. If he did, he’d have to note that Gabbert has a tendency to fail to quickly find the “hot” receiver when he’s being rushed on third down. That’s not the receivers fault at all. It’s also not the formation itself, as Mizzou commonly throws out of five receiver sets, at times with four receivers on one side of the ball.

Even with that, Gabbert’s performance on third down hasn’t been great; blaming the Missouri receivers for this is misinformation. But then Kiper talking about Gabbert not having NFL receivers is just making excuses for Gabbert’s poor performance in that area. Now Kiper sounds like a homer rather than a Draftnik.

Another work of misinformation by USA Today’s Corbett is in the sidebar article on page 5 called “Newton Offers Risks, Rewards.” Gabbert opens the article by comparing Newton with Donovan McNabb and Akili Smith, both who really have nothing in common with Cam Newton other than skin color, because they’re all black men.

It would have been better for Corbett to explain why he was picking two black quarterbacks to compare Cam Newton with, but it seems to this blogger Corbett knew he would not only be charged as being racist, but have to explain in detail a decision of little real substance and a lot of irrational emotion.

But, believe it or not, it gets worse. It’s not that Mel Kiper’s comparison to Akili Smith is wrong – where Smith was a one-year wonder at Oregon, Newton was the top junior college player in Americabefore coming to Auburn – but that Corbett didn’t call Kiper on it.

He apparently used the Kiper “Akili Smith” quote just to discredit Newton. Then he followed that punch with the mention of Newton’s legal problems from the “hot laptop” incident of 2008, but fails to mention, at any point in the entire paper – not just that article – that Gabbert and his brother Tyler got into a fight with some other men at a pizza joint called Gumby’s last year over lack of space at a urinal in the Columbia, MO establishment.

Yep. You read that correctly. Blaine Gabbert was almost arrested for fighting and drinking. But he got away with what’s basically a slap on the wrist Cam Newton only sees in his dreams.

So ask yourself why you’re not reading more about the Blaine Gabbert Pizza Fight Over Urinal Space? Then consider that if it were Cam Newton and not Blaine Gabbert, you’d have known about it because it fits the American stereotype of the black male in trouble – a racist stereotype that’s being used to hammer down Cam Newton’s 2011 NFL draft value, and elevate Blaine Gabbert at the same time, and by painting Gabbert as a choir boy white male with “good character.”

And while you’re rolling around the concept of a small urinal in your head, consider this question: was Blaine Gabbert drinking? Officially we will never know because no arrests were made, but the police report said they were drinking, and below the legal drinking age at the time.

High character guy, eh? Where’s Jim Corbett now?

Stay tuned.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/abraham/detail?entry_id=86248#ixzz1IPu6Fbvq