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Outside The Hash Marks

November 20, 2015

Cam Newton’s recent end-zone escapades have, somehow, become national news. People are actually discussing whether or not it was disrespectful for Newton to have fun while playing a game.

To make sure we’re all on the same page, the “controversy” started when Newton found himself in the end-zone, as he often does this year, in a close game against the Titans. Considering the score pretty much ended the game and ensured that Carolina would stay undefeated, he was pretty happy. So he danced.

Apparently, Tennessee doesn’t like fun when other teams are having it, and Newton was approached by linebacker Avery Williamson. Who got in Cam’s face. And Cam just kept dancing. And then the entire nation said Newton was classless.

This goes beyond Newton, though. He gives us the opportunity to discuss the increasingly business-like nature of sports. Cam, because he is selling a product, is not allowed to express himself freely. Dancing is taboo, because it might imply that he is not a good role model.

That might affect sales, though we all know it absolutely will not. He’s got to be careful, the No Fun League has declared. The same goes for all those darned hooligans dunking footballs over goalposts, high-stepping into the end-zone, and looking at referees funny!

This turns athletes, human beings, into commodities. Something to be watched. When Cam is lambasted for dancing, it’s not because it is against the rules, because it wasn’t.

It’s because we look at these people as providers of entertainment, and remove them from humanity accordingly. It’s an extension of that stupid “shut up and play” mentality fans have that dehumanizes the players.

It’s exactly what we shouldn’t want for our athletes. No matter how much they get paid, these people are providing a service that only the top one percent of one percent is capable of providing. And they find it fun, so they keep having fun doing it.

This is still a game. Yes, it makes a lot of money, but the players also have a right to put a personal touch on the way they play. If that means pink cleats, so be it. More dancing in the end-zone? I’m game for that.

Besides, I thoroughly agree with Cam, here. If you don’t like Cam’s dancing when he beats you, there’s a simple solution. Don’t let him beat you. And if fans don’t like it?

They can go find another channel to watch. I suggest infomercials; those might be more suited to their fun tolerance levels.

Anthony Adams
Sports Columnist

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