Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I Liked You Better Before You Apologized

Here’s Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton last Wednesday, responding to a question from a female reporter about the “physicality” of one of his wide-receivers as he runs downfield:

“It’s funny to hear a female talk about ‘routes.’ It’s funny.”


Cut to the same Cam Newton last Thursday, after social media erupted over his “sexism” and at least one of his corporate sponsors went off in search of greener pastures:

“I sincerely apologize … I’m a father to two beautiful daughters and at their age I try to instill in them that they can do and be anything that they want to be.”

You know, I kinda liked Cam better before he apologized.

“If You Are a Person Who Took Offense ...”

Furthermore, I bet Cam liked Cam better before he caved in and decided the relentless stream of vitriol being spewed in his direction by the fake-aggrieved media was too much to endure. That all-too-familiar penitent language sounds like it was pounded out in haste around a boardroom table by the committee of legal remoras that risk going to the bottom with the Good Ship Newton, or at least fear losing their meal ticket.

And even if he meant every word of his apology (an unlikely event given that the odds of Newton having processed and internalized his feminist re-education in a mere 24 hours are approximately that of a ball of compacted slush surviving a blast furnace), not one of the sports radio pundits who seized on his faux pas with the gusto of a pack of slobbering Dobermans was remotely prepared to entertain the possibility Newton was being sincere. For all that he accomplished by apologizing, he may as well not have bothered. (And truly, an apology that begins with “If you are a person who took offense …” is no apology at all. It’s just boilerplate genuflecting to the PC gods and everyone knows it.)

Ritual Seppuku

In fact, I bet Newton’s wife liked him better before he commenced ritual seppuku, even if she was the one who convinced him to do it. No woman worth her salt is comfortable watching her husband humiliate himself in public. Further, I bet the vast majority of his fans liked him better too when he was just an NFL quarterback reacting with ease and candor to only one question out of the dozens he must answer every day of his life, as opposed to the chastened puppy at the press conference on Thursday, mouthing platitudes to which he surely doesn’t subscribe.

Because there was nothing outrageous about Newton’s original comment, and I’m not just saying that because it’s remotely possible Newton is a fellow believer.

It’s Her Job

I find it immensely unlikely that his surprise at Jourdan Rodrigue’s question was an act, or that he intended to belittle her, let alone “countless other women” who pursue similar careers. Much more likely it was simply the predictable product of two decades of football experience during which he has encountered few women interested in the mechanics of how a receiver gets himself open downfield in hope of being the lucky recipient of a completed pass. If this wasn’t a first for Newton, it was at least unusual. His response was genuine, his tone was not nasty, and if Rodrigue had simply responded by laughing and replying, “Well, expect to see more of it,” she could easily have made her point and moved on, win/win.

Instead, she took to Twitter, complaining, “I don’t think it’s ‘funny’ to be a female and talk about routes. I think it’s my job.”

Upon which the Internet apparently exploded.

Some people are just bound and determined to be offended, and even more determined to make sure everyone else is offended on their behalf.

Holding a Microphone for the Sisterhood

But whether it’s offensive or not, I don’t believe we make the world a better place by telling people what they want to hear rather than what we actually believe. Contrary to feminist happy talk, Cam Newton’s little girls cannot do and be anything they want to be, nor are they likely to be happier following their dad’s advice to live as if they can. Having a father who pulls in $13 million plus annually may give you a head start in life, but the world is chock-full of miserable celebrity offspring that never realized their potential and never achieved their goals. That’s just reality. Further, all the huffing and puffing in the world won’t change the fact that men and women are fundamentally different in both their design and in their deepest desires.

Many women have no desire to be Jourdan Rodrigue. No insult intended.

Now it may turn out that some rather unusual women like Jourdan find their greatest happiness holding up microphones to preserve for posterity the random musings of overpaid athletes possessing IQs two standard deviations below their own, and bravo to them if that’s their highest aspiration. In our society they are free to pursue that goal with all their energy. But even in an incredibly self-centered culture that insists we always please ourselves first, it seems the majority of women eventually discover what they really want is a husband and a family. There is evidence both scientific and anecdotal to that effect, though naturally it is hotly disputed by career women.

In any case, telling little girls blatant lies about what they can achieve in life is not a kindness.

Reasons to be Truthful

It’s abundantly clear in the New Testament that Christians have a fundamental obligation to be truthful. The truth is to be spoken lovingly, absolutely. But at the core, what comes out of the Christian’s mouth must conform to reality, not be molded and modeled to suit the wishes of those whose ears it’s going into:
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor.”
Reality is the best thing for the neighbor. It’s the best thing for Cam Newton’s girls. It’s even the best thing for Jourdan Rodrigue, who may find one day that being that go-for-the-jugular career woman is not all it’s cracked up to be and begin to wonder if she’s maybe missing out on something. There are lots of men who could hold that microphone she had in her hand, and none of them came equipped with the ability to do most of the things Jourdan can do just by virtue of being a woman.

Frankly, I admire a person whose worldview is sufficiently robust that it never enters his mind to play politics with every public conversation he engages in. We should all be that way. Christians are to be careful not to give unnecessary offense, but that doesn’t mean we walk back every little bit of truth or reality that might occasionally slip out in an unguarded minute. The world is out to get us, I agree. But when it does, I suspect the godly thing to do is to look it in the eye and repeat what we just said for the camera, with explanation if required.

Wednesday’s Cam Newton just went ahead and said what he thought, and paid the price. There’s something cool about that.

I’m less sure about Thursday’s Cam Newton.

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