Never good enough: Black protectism versus Black criticism

Updated: September 3, 2013

NORTH CAROLINA-(BASN)-We love our sons.

Plus, we don’t want to see anyone consciously or unconsciously trying to destroy their dreams and shatter their hopes.

Therefore, when it comes to our beloved sons, it’s natural for us to want to protect them from the boos and negativity.

So, there is a form of Black protectionism that we have created to shield them from the harsh criticism that the world has for them.

We, however, some times fail to guard the bodies of our rising stars.

And sadly, sometimes, we silently sit back and watch them get devoured and beaten up by the press or the media or by fans, who sit in the stands and degrade them, belittle them, and disrespect them, whether it’s Michael Vick, Vince Young, or Lebron James.

Therefore, Fox sports reporter Jason Whitlock was only partly correct with his article about Cam Newton when he wrote: Black sports fans and black pop-culture media (not sports media) have created a loosely-formed-but-influential social-media and talk-radio information bubble for black QBs. This network of groupthink roars on sports-talk radio, black-owned radio stations, Face book and Twitter, pumping out the message that Newton, Griffin and others can do no wrong and any criticism of them is rooted in racism. Fear of backlash from this network of well-intentioned enablers causes many mainstream sports analysts (media and fans of all colors) to avoid being totally honest about black QBs.

That’s how a career-killing, information bubble is formed.

White QBs don’t have to deal with this. In Kansas City, a group of fans paid for a banner to be flown over Arrowhead Stadium that called for owner Clark Hunt to bench Matt Cassel. Kansas City’s backup quarterback is Brady Quinn, the Cleveland bust. He’s not a solution. But he was named the starter on Monday.

Imagine the uproar if Eagles fans took similar action against turnover-machine Michael Vick? There would be riots in the streets. Philly fans would be labeled racist.

Information bubbles are destructive, whether in politics or sports.

Despite this, we are fully aware of the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys, from the time they reach the third grade in school, due to the research, lectures and books by Jawanza Kunjufu.

We know about the New Jim Crow and the current prison pipeline that has been established in the United States, which has turned it into a prison planet.

As a result, if any of our sons are striving to be successful, we should stand with them one hundred percent.

Because, we know about all the traps and pitfalls that have been placed before them.

And yes, many of times, they still fall victim to these temptations, even though they have been forewarned, by making bad decisions, especially when it pertains to women, drugs, and money.


But, they still are our sons.

They belong to us.

They don’t belong to them.

They don’t belong to the state.

They don’t belong to the university

They don’t belong to the NFL or the NBA.

Because, what we love naturally, others love only for what that can do for them, make for them, and profit them.

But, we, love our sons because they are our sons.

We don’t stop loving them, because they can no longer throw a ball, slam a goal, or hit a ball.

That’s so silly.

So selfish.

So shallow.

So inhumane.

Therefore, we as a community and as a nation must stand or should stand with our sons, and by our sons, whether in the world of sports, entertainment, education, or politics.

Because, we know racism is real.

And, we know how real white supremacy is, despite all of this “post-racial” society stuff promoted by the media ever since President Obama was elected.

We saw evidence of this, with the recent death threats placed over the head of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mike Vick, who had to cancel several book signing of his  autobiography, “Finally Free.”

So, yes, we must try to protect them, but not shelter them, from the harsh criticism they will eventually face in school, in sports, on the job and in politics.

So, I admit, we’ve done it with Lebron, President Obama, Cam Newton, Michael Vick and even RGIII, for that matter.

Why? Because, we know that some of the criticism coming against them is coming from a place of HATE not LOVE.


Therefore, no matter how much President Obama tries, it will never be good enough.

No matter, how many championships Lebron James wins, it will never be good enough.

No matter, how many times Michael Vick apologizes for the murdering of dogs, it will never be good enough.

And no matter how great Cam Newton can become, it will never be good enough.

Whether it’s simply a towel draped over his head, a dance in the end zone, or the way he wears his hair, Newton will continued to be criticized.

President Obama will also continued to be criticized as well, whether it’s what church he attends, the music he listens to, the friends that he talks to, or the books he has read, it won’t be good enough in their eyes.

Personally, I think it goes back to the master-slave relationship that I explored in one of my controversial articles in the past that appeared on the BASN.

But, Newton, along with other Black athletes, must realize that despite their perceived greatness, everybody is not hoping for them to be successful.


And just like the late-great Biggie Smalls said, “They pray and pray for my downfall.”

As a result, with every game played, every press conference given, with every touchdown thrown or interception tossed, people will be praying for their downfall as well as President Obama’s, especially during his second term.

Why? Because, it’s part of the game.

And, a crucial game, it is.

Plus, I guess, some people feel that because football players, in particular, wear so much equipment, that their egos shouldn’t be harmed by the criticism.

Besides, who cares how they feel?

They’re making million of dollars.

So, they should be able to handle a little name calling, a few bad blog posts, an occasional negative newspaper article, and a little tiny rumor.

Unfortunately, we, as Black people, have a tendency to try to please everybody instead of simply being ourselves when criticism starts coming from the left, the right and the middle.

As a result, we begin to walk differently, talk differently, and act differently until we lose our identity and become a bad imitation of some one else’s reality.

In other words, we begin to conform and lose our “Blackness,” which usually leaves us godless, emotionless and soulless.” (Read my article I love being black on BASN)

But, in the case of Cam Newton, he must understand that the harsh criticism comes with the territory of him being  the No.1 overall pick in the NFL 2011 draft, a Heisman Trophy winner and a NCAA Champion, especially after you “arrogantly” say you want to be an “icon and entertainer.”

Sadly, the word “icon” is too big an idea to live up to.

Whitney couldn’t do it.

Michael couldn’t do it.

And Cam, unfortunately, you won’t be able to do it either.

This is the blessing and the curse.

So, always keep your head up.

And, remember, never allow them to make you feel as if you are not worthy, not good enough, or not great.

Because, you are ….my beloved son.

Eric D.Graham, a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he earned a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television and a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies, is currently the Editor and Chief of BASN, where his thought-provoking articles appear on a daily basis along with his controversial cartoon Bobbee Bee “The Hater”. Graham can be contacted at

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