Skip to content Skip to footer

WNBA players set a new standard for athlete activism

WNBA activism stands at the forefront of what we will remember about 2020 and early 2021.

Not only did WNBA players set a new standard for athlete activism, but they stood up for Black people everywhere with their pursuit of getting Rev. Raphael Warnock elected to the Senate over Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler.

Loeffler is co-owner of the Atlanta Dream, but has publicly and repeatedly denounced the Black Lives Matter movement.

Black women are too often overlooked in their efforts and tribulations. Let this stand as a reminder that Black women have been the single biggest upholder of democracy in the United States.

WNBA activism

It is not just recently that WNBA players have stood up for social justice movements. Maya Moore, for example, freed a man with an unjust sentence in prison and has been outspoken about the unfairness of the justice system in the United States.

WNBA athletes have been bold and courageous in their outspokenness for the causes they believe in. Kelly Loeffler, co-owner of one of their teams or not, represents the antithesis of what these women, predominantly Black, believe in and stand for.

And how beautiful it was that Loeffler’s team’s own players specifically, were the main backers of her opponent. Raphael Warnock is now the first Black person to be elected to the Senate in Georgia.

LeBron James thinks about ownership in the WNBA

Fresh off Kelly Loeffler’s defeat in Georgia, LeBron took to Twitter to ponder an idea.

Either just getting some digs in at Loeffler, or actually serious about putting together an ownership group to buy her stake out, LeBron has certainly been tapped into the ongoing political processes in this country. And more importantly, the WNBA activists who have done their part to uphold democracy.

WNBA players deserve better than Loeffler

When the owner of a team takes direct measures to tune out its players and disregard them, it is a jarring showing of disrespect. When that owner also happens to be in a place of political power, and votes on things that would directly negatively effect its players, it’s an even bigger problem.

One cannot help think of the sharecropper’s mentality when thinking of how some sports owners treat their players. In Loeffler’s mind, she owns them, and therefore does not have to care for them or their wellness.

It is this (probable) thinking that led her to say she would vote to throw out Georgia’s election results. All just for a coup attempt by the big baby Trump.

Let us not forget about these dedicated, brave, courageous WNBA athletes who spent their spare time rallying for equality and democracy. These are not lavishly rich women. They do not have overwhelming political ties. This is grassroots organizing working in front of our eyes. And it got LeBron James and many more people’s attention.

WNBA activism stands at the forefront of the social justice movement in sports.

Dame D.O.L.L.A. is more than just the NBA’s best rapper

Dame D.O.L.L.A. may be someone you have not heard about before. But that is only because Damian Lillard, the superstar basketball player, has an alter ego as a musical artist.

Damian Lillard is unquestionably one of the NBA’s best players. He also happens to be the best rapper in the league, but Dame has made himself into more than just a rapper for clout. Dame D.O.L.L.A has become a legitimate artist. 

As a side hustle, there is perhaps no current NBA player who excels in anything outside of the sport like Dame Dolla does in music. His rap brilliance certainly comes second-fiddle to ball, but he does not cut corners and play lazy at the rap game. Or lie about what he preaches.

Damian Lillard as an artist is a star.

Dame Dolla is just getting started as an artist

Dame Dolla has released three albums since 2016. He has songs with rap legends like Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz, giving Lillard a stamp of approval from some of the biggest names in rap. His albums have even charted on Billboard. 

“He don’t talk about nothing fake, that’s what’s awesome,” said Lil Wayne in an ESPN article.

“When you cut on a song and you hear someone talking about something that’s true … Not fabricated, not this and that, not that and this, it’s truthful.” 

Lil Wayne

Dame originally began rapping in order to hang out with his older cousin in his car. He would have to rap from the backseat and it turns out he had a talent for it. He also started posting for 4BarFridays. What started off as a hobby became an outlet for Lillard to speak his mind. 

Oakland-born and as real as it gets

Lillard makes it a point to rep his city Oakland every chance he gets. The zero he wears on the back of his jersey is actually the letter “O” and is his way of shouting out his city. His bars are often focused on his upbringing in Oakland. Even the title of his first album is in reference to Oakland.

Lillard has also made it a point not to curse in his raps, which is unusual for most rappers. He does so in an effort to protect his endorsement deals. Another huge part of it is that Lillard wants to have a positive impact on kids and is concerned about the impact profanity can have on them.

Lillard has found himself in recent NBA rap beefs. He’s gone back and forth with Marvin Bagley over who the better NBA rapper is. He then got into it with one the NBA’s original rappers, Shaquille O’Neal. Both rap beefs were done in good fun, but Lillard says he’s retired from them.

Dame D.O.L.L.A. stands for Different On Levels the Lord Allows.

It’s clear that he views his platform as an athlete and a rapper as one that can influence people. Whether Lillard is rapping or hooping, his talent and impact shine through.

My homie was selected in the NBA Draft: A tribute to NY Knick Obi Toppin

The New York Knicks selected Obi Toppin with the eighth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft Wednesday night. The Knicks, a franchise that has been mired in obscurity for years now, got the player it coveted, without having to trade assets to move up in the draft.

Obi, a Brooklyn-native who spent part of his high school years in Ossining, NY, with me, was clearly overcome with emotion after being taken by his hometown team. After being asked why it’s important to wear a Knicks jersey, Obi, amidst tears, said:

“I’m from New York. That’s why it’s important. Me repping my city. It’s amazing.”

Obi Toppin

Most Knicks fans and NBA enthusiasts see a player that will bring excitement to Madison Square Garden. A high-flying skywalker that will make the Mecca fun again.

But I see a different picture.

Coming into his own

I remember seeing the bubbly 17-year-old spinning the ball on his finger in gym class. The jovial kid walking into my economics class with the biggest smile on his face.

I remember seeing the kid who worked so hard from Junior to Senior year that he grew what seemed like six inches and could suddenly dunk the ball.

A kid who made such an improvement between those two years that our whispers of “Can Obi make the league?” seemed less foolish by the day.

We’ve all grown up since high school, but for most of us, we still carry our raw and authentic personality traits.

Obi, me and a couple other friends after a Dayton vs. Fordham game

I know Obi carries that same bubbly and kind-hearted nature he had five years ago. That’s what makes him a great person and someone I’m proud to still call a friend. Someone that inspires me beyond belief.

What the Knicks are getting

I know Obi still absolutely cannot STAND losing, so much to the point that it feeds his desire to be better. This, I know, is part of what Leon Rose and the Knicks saw in Toppin, and what made him rise to the top of their draft board.

“He’s a high character individual with a tremendous work ethic. We look forward to a bright future with him and are excited to bring a native New Yorker home to The Garden.”

Leon Rose, Knicks President

And I know his work ethic is nearly unmatched. This work ethic enabled him to improve immensely from year to year, so much that he was Dayton’s 6-man last year, and this year was the most outstanding player in all of college basketball.

Obi is not just a high-flying rim runner, but adept at putting the ball on the floor, shooting from distance, and is an underrated passer. And in a season with an absurdly-short training camp period due to the pandemic, the Knicks are getting perhaps the most NBA-ready player from the draft.

And they are getting my friend; someone who has worked so hard to get into this position. And who will never take it for granted.

From Chino Hills to Charlotte: Is 2020 the year of the LaMelo Ball draft?

After a night full of a range of emotions and intrigue, today begs the question, will 2020 go down as the year of the LaMelo Ball draft?

LaMelo is finally in the NBA after taking one of the most unique paths to the league we’ve ever seen. And to many, he has the most upside of any player chosen last night.

From starring at Chino Hills in high school to now being selected by the Charlotte Hornets as the third overall pick in this year’s draft, LaMelo has grown as a person and player before our eyes. 

A star since he was a kid

LaMelo has been a local star since he was a child. Playing with his older brother LiAngelo and Lonzo, his confidence grew and so did his popularity.

He consistently played against older and tougher competition than his age group. By the time LaMelo became a freshman at Chino Hills High School, he was a household name. 

In his sophomore year, his popularity only grew further with clips of his game going viral just about every time he played.

He had a bunch of memorable moments including hitting a half-court shot two seconds into a game, scoring 92 points in a game, and a highly-anticipated matchup against Zion Williamson

A unique journey

LaMelo then became the first high school player ever with his own signature shoe, the “Melo Ball 1’s.” His father, LaVar, pulled him out of Chino Hills and planned to train him at home.

However, LaVar eventually sent LaMelo and LiAngelo to play professionally in Lithuania. That lasted for about four months. 

LaMelo’s unique journey brought him back stateside to play in the JBA, a league created by his father that fell apart after just one season. He then tried to get his college eligibility reinstated, but that was denied.

LaMelo instead went to play at Spire Institute in Ohio but faced a lot of difficulties since he was considered a professional after playing overseas. He was not eligible to be a McDonald’s All-American. 

After his senior year, he took his talents to Australia to play with the Illawarra Hawks. His play saw him rise to the top of mock drafts all season long. Many argue that he is the most talented player in the 2020 draft class.

The LaMelo Ball draft

He suffered an injury that ended his season in Australia early, but his play was still enough to get him selected third overall by the Hornets. 

LaMelo’s journey to the NBA is unprecedented and noteworthy. It signals to other top prospects in the coming years that there are other options outside of the NCAA.

He faced a lot of scrutiny as a teen who never did much to warrant it, and has never failed to live up to the hype his last name brought on him. But the NBA is a new test.

There’s no doubt that LaMelo’s game still has question marks that will be tested in his rookie season, but he will be prepared for it. He has been in the spotlight for basically his entire life and the pressure he’s faced is on a level that very few have ever had to deal with.

LaMelo will get the chance to prove his doubters wrong in Charlotte. And ultimately, if he is as transcendent as many experts believe he will be, 2020 will go down as the year of the LaMelo Ball draft.

Numbers don’t lie: Where are all the Black baseball players?

The MLB, for a while now, has struggled with an issue that doesn’t seem to be improving. There’s a lack of Black ballplayers in the MLB.

It wasn’t always this way. Some of the best and most famous MLB players have been Black. This list includes Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson and Ken Griffey Jr. who was the face of the league at one point. 

The percentage of African-American players in the MLB peaked in 1981 at 18.7%. That number has not reached above 10% since 2004. 

On opening day this season, MLB rosters were bigger than they ever were at the beginning of a season due to COVID-19. That meant each MLB team had rosters with 30 players on them.

Here is how many players on those rosters were Black:

The total number of Black ballplayers comes out to 65, or just 7.2% of the entire league. This number does not include players who started the season on taxi squads or the injured and restricted lists.

The Diamondbacks, Royals, and Rays did not have a single Black player on their Opening Day active roster. The Mariners had the most in the league with 10, the same as their entire division combined. 

So why are the numbers so drastically low? 

The lack of Black baseball players is deeply rooted in our country’s systemic problems. The cost of baseball equipment can be huge.

Players need gloves, bats, cleats, batting gloves, helmets etc. This can come out to hundreds of dollars and does not include travel expenses or league fees. 

As of 2010, African-American families had the highest poverty rate in America among all ethnic groups at 27.4%.

A family struggling to make ends meet simply cannot afford to cough up hundreds of dollars for a kid to play baseball when there are cheaper alternatives like basketball and football. 

The sport is really expensive to play

This prices out lower-income families and leads to kids never taking an interest in baseball. Still, the issue is even more complex than just that. 

In comparison to the NFL and NBA, making the MLB is a huge grind with very little pay. Players have to go through years in the minor leagues.

According to The Athletic, the average salary of a player in Triple-A in 2018 was just $15,000. Some even have to take on extra jobs to support themselves and their families. Minor leaguers also deal with heavy amounts of travel on buses, awful food, and bad living conditions. 

By the time these players make it to the MLB they are under 6-year contracts which often pay the league minimum. Very few ever make it to this point and those that do, are already in their late 20’s at this point.

The NBA and NFL have much simpler and profitable paths for potential athletes 

An example is Kyler Murray, who was drafted ninth overall in the 2018 MLB draft by the Oakland Athletics had agreed to a $4 million dollar signing bonus but ended up returning it when he was drafted first overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL draft.

He signed a four-year $35 million dollar contract with a $23 million signing bonus. It’s safe to say he made the right decision. 

Until the MLB puts forth more of an effort to welcome Black ballplayers, these numbers will continue to stay drastically low.

The MLB needs to provide more funding to the inner cities

If the MLB invested more money into inner-city baseball foundations, ran more baseball clinics, and simply made the game more appealing financially and racially, they would undoubtedly see better results.

Black MLB players like David Price, Tim Anderson, and Mookie Betts have all spoken out to how unwelcoming baseball can be to minorities. Numerous other current and former Black MLB players share that same sentiment.

The MLB needs to do more and until they do, we can continue to expect to see them struggle with the African-American community. 

Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson are changing the NFL game

Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson aren’t the future of the NFL, they are the present. The Chiefs and Ravens faced off on Monday Night Football and gave us a preview of a matchup we should expect to see for years to come. Mahomes is just 25, Jackson is only 23. 

Last season’s Super Bowl MVP was able to beat last season’s NFL MVP. The Chiefs came out on top 34-20, with Mahomes becoming the fastest quarterback to reach 10,000 passing yards in NFL history. Jackson struggled, and is now 0-3 against Mahomes in his career.

Similarities between superstars

The two have had very short careers to this point but share a lot of similarities. Both teams came into the game at 2-0 and are Super Bowl favorites. Both players began their rookie seasons on the bench and won NFL MVPs in their first full season as the starting quarterback. And both have been on the cover of Madden. 

Mahomes and Jackson represent the best rivalry between Black quarterbacks in NFL history. Michael Vick and Donovan Mcnabb were the closest things we’ve had. 

Mutual respect

Mahomes and Jackson have been very supportive of one another as well. In 2018, after Jackson finished his last year at Louisville, he watched Mahomes throw the ball at a workout. 

His immediate reaction was “He’s awesome. How is he a backup?”

Jackson also knows Mahomes’ Super Bowl puts him in a different category. “I’ve got to win the Super Bowl. I’ve got to get to where he’s at.” 

Mahomes has also shown love to Jackson, even in game. 

What they mostly share in common is their unique skill set at the quarterback position. Both have tremendous arms and are able to extend plays with their legs. They are insanely smart and have become the leaders of their teams. They have been able to transform the quarterback position in the short amount of time they’ve been in the league. 

Generational talents

What makes them special is not just that they win, it’s how they win. They are known for making highlight plays that are almost impossible for every other quarterback. This has led to both of their teams having two of the most explosive offenses in the past couple of seasons. 

They are also changing the way we view the quarterback position. For a long time, the quarterback position was mainly thought of to be for white players. Black quarterbacks were often moved to other positions, like running back and wide receiver. In week 1, there were a record 10 black starting quarterbacks. Their record that week was 7-3. 

One of Jackson’s most famous quotes came after a game in which he threw five touchdowns last season. Coming into the NFL, his critics tried to argue that he would be better off switching positions. 

“Not bad for a running back,” he said.

Changing the game

Jackson and Mahomes are immensely important to the NFL not just because of their skill, but because of what they represent. They are helping to grow the game by removing the stigma of Black quarterbacks. 

“The best thing about it is you’re showing kids that no matter where you grow up, what race you are, that you can achieve your dream,” Said Mahomes leading up to last year’s Super Bowl. 

Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson have revolutionized the quarterback position and the way we view it. 

Wild Jimmy Butler stories will make you appreciate him that much more

While Jimmy Butler is enjoying one of his best seasons in the NBA leading the Miami Heat to the Eastern Conference Finals, things weren’t always this smooth-sailing for him.

He is no stranger to adversity. Butler never knew his father growing up and was kicked out of his home at the age of 13 by his biological mother. 

Jimmy ended up bouncing from couch to couch until he met Jordan Leslie, a former NFL wide receiver whose mother took him in her home just before his senior year in high school.

Butler then went from a two-star recruit that was ranked 73rd in his position in the state of Texas to playing at a junior college and eventually starring at Marquette University. 

Against all odds, In the 2011 NBA Draft, he was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the last pick of the first round. His game grew from a defensive stopper to an all-around star. He’s won the NBA’s Most Improved Award, he’s a 5-time all-star and an Olympic gold medalist. 

His work ethic is regarded as one of the best in the league. Mix that with the fact that he is also one of the NBA’s best personalities and what you get is some of the wildest stories of the past few years. 

Here are some of the best. 

Butler Bullies Entire Timberwolves Organization 

While waiting for the Timberwolves to fulfill his trade request, Butler spent an entire practice verbally challenging anyone and everyone who had a role to play in the organization. He specifically told General Manager Scott Layden, “You can’t win without me. You fucking need me.” 

Butler also came at coach Tom Thibodeau and former teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins for not working hard enough and their nonchalant attitudes.

An even crazier part of this story is that Butler scrimmaged against the Wolves starters with a team of third-stringers and completely dominated the starters. He made it a point to go at Towns and Wiggins. 

Jimmy Butler’s Late-Night Dribbling Draws Complaints

Jimmy Butler doesn’t reach the level of success he’s had without his insane work ethic. One example of this came at the start of the NBA Bubble while players were still in quarantine. 

Security was alerted to a loud thumping noise coming from the Miami Heat Hotel. The security went to investigate the noise and found the room where the noise was coming from. It was Jimmy Butler’s room.

They knocked on the door and Butler opened it drenched in sweat with practice gear on from head to toe. Butler had been doing a full-on dribble workout in his hotel room. 

Jimmy Butler Is All Business

While many NBA players were relieved to have family finally be able to join them in the Bubble, Jimmy Butler chose not to invite anyone to join him.

“This is a business trip for me. I’m not messing around.” 

Butler’s only focus is on winning a championship. 

Jimmy Butler’s First Practice With The Miami Heat

Butler’s legendary work ethic is once again evident in this story about his very first training camp practice with the Heat. Practice was scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Butler showed up at 3:30 a.m. 

“Just a little extra work while y’all in your third dream. I like to get it in.”

His work ethic has also inspired other Heat players to try and beat him to the gym. Meyers Leonard and Bam Adebayo both got up and were at the gym at 3:30 a.m.

Butler also reportedly spent the offseason doing 4 a.m. workouts at the American Airlines Arena. 

Don’t Disrespect Country Music In Front of Butler

Jimmy Butler’s love of country music is well known. He is a proud Taylor Swift fan and is not afraid to claim it.

In this story, after a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Karl-Anthony Towns was being interviewed while Butler blasted country song “Grave” by Thomas Rhett. 

Towns commented on the song saying “It’s terrible. It’s so bad.” 

Jimmy clapped back by saying “I just had to chase Russ (Westbrook) around and get hit by Steven Adams, I can listen to whatever the fuck music I want.”

Can’t argue with that.

Jimmy Butler Voted Team USA’s Best Lover

Jimmy Butler won an Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. It just so happens that this was not the only “award” Butler won that summer. 

According to this Reddit post, Butler along with several members of Team USA including DeAndre Jordan, DeMar Derozan and DeMarcus Cousins, went to a luxury Brazilian brothel where they spent hours. The women at this brothel reportedly voted Butler as the best lover of the bunch. 

Under Armour’s new rookie WNBA lineup empowers the next gen of women athletes

Under Armour has some new members in its elite club.

This week, the company announced its new lineup of rookie basketball stars. Bella Alarie, Kaila “Ky” Charles, and Tyasha “Ty” Harris will be the latest young athletes to join the Team UA roster.

As one of the largest footwear and sporting apparel companies on the globe, Under Armour stays committed to its mission of empowering women athletes.

Alarie was drafted 5th overall in the 2020 WNBA draft by the Dallas Wings.

She started all 106 games during her career at Princeton, and earned an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American following the 2019-2020 season. She is also a 3-time Ivy League Player of the Year.

Charles joined the Connecticut Suns after being drafted 23rd overall, and played an exceptional collegiate career at the University of Maryland.

She started every game of her career, and is a recent recipient of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, recognizing athletic and academic excellence.


View this post on Instagram


Rookie Year 🖤

A post shared by Tyasha Harris (@ballher_52) on

Harris will join Alarie as a member of the Dallas Wings after being drafted 7th overall. She led South Carolina to a 32-1 record her senior season, and is a winner of the 2020 Dawn Staley Award. Her 705 career assists rank her 10th all-time in the SEC conference.

Alarie and Harris will be reuniting after playing together with USA basketball in their high school years. Harris and Charles are also quite familiar with the UA mission, as they each played collegiate ball at two UA-partnered schools.

The women will compete this upcoming season wearing the new UA HOVR™ Breakthru, the company’s first basketball shoe specifically designed for female athletes.

“This is my shot to represent Under Armour in a brand-new way for women ballers everywhere” Charles said.

“I feel like I’m making history in a year where everything is being watched more closely because of the unprecedented challenges we’re all facing.”

The three stars will continue to push the mark for women sports and empowerment as they begin their professional careers.

“These women embody our Under Armour values and they deserve our unwavering support,” Under Armour Basketball Global Marketing Lead Brianna Colón said. “They have a track record of making history and we can’t wait to see what they do next.”

Under Armour has a strong history of female empowerment movements. Its 2017 campaign UNLIKE ANY is one of the most notable projects in recent history.

Ballet dancer Misty Copeland, taekwondo champion Zhang Lanxin, stuntwoman Jessie Graff, long-distance runner Alison Désir, and sprinter Natasha Hastings united to demonstrate how female athletes are above their gender roles.

Initially inspired by the 2017 Women’s March, the video series saw the five athletes moving about in empty spaces to the sound of beautiful spoken word poetry. The videos stressed the importance of the sole individual in their own space, instead of their representation construed by distractions, labels, or generalization.

Under Armour is taking the right steps in representing female athletes as strong individuals. Its continued projects prove the importance of recognizing these athletes for the stars and influential figures that they are.

We look forward to watching this WNBA trio tear up the basketball court this upcoming season.

What life is like for NBA players inside the Disney World bubble

The NBA is set to return July 30.

22 teams will travel to Orlando to play an eight-game play-in tournament to substitute for the end of the regular season. Florida is one of the worst places in the world right now in terms of coronavirus transmission, but the NBA has been a model league in recent years, and if any league can pull off finishing its season, its this one.

The NBA was suspended four months ago due to COVID-19. Since then, players have just been patiently waiting.

Now that the season is on the cusp of resuming, players are locking in. It may be under different circumstances, but every player is in the same boat essentially. And at the end of the day, it’s ball.

There will be no large crowds, no hating fans screaming and distracting. The game will be played at its purest form, and we will get to tune in to see the most talented athletes in the world battle it out.

The NBA set up a bubble at Disneyworld to be able to control the virus, should it be detected. It is quite extraordinary what the league has put together for the season’s resumption, we just hope it all goes well and everyone stays safe.

The set-up also begs the question: what happens when you put a bunch of millionaires together at Disney with no one else?

Players will surely use their platforms to make statements on the Black Lives Matter movement. And each player will be tested for COVID daily.

They can hang with each other in the lounges or game rooms. Or they can throw a socially distanced party. Some players even set up a recording studio in their rooms.

Food is another trending topic about #thebubble, with some players hating it, and others loving it.

J.R. Smith, just recently signed by the Lakers for the rest of the season, has been sharing just about everything about the bubble. The league even shut down one of his IG live’s. Siiiiick.

The players have access to an entire resort, and get to focus just on ball, with a lot of outside distractions paused for now. We can’t wait for the games to start.

Cam Newton’s contract is proof Black quarterbacks need to work twice as hard

Former league MVP Cam Newton just signed a minimum wage contract.

News broke Sunday evening that the New England Patriots signed the quarterback to a one-year $1.05 million contract. Newton will reportedly be able to make up to $7 million in incentives.

This is a step back for the dual-threat quarterback, who was drafted by the Panthers first overall out of Auburn in 2011.

Although he has struggled greatly with injuries the past three seasons, it is still shocking to see a former MVP signing a minimum-wage deal. Cam Newton’s contract is a prime example of the necessity of consistency in the NFL, as well as the struggles that many African-American players face.

Newton was a force to be reckoned with as a rookie, passing for 4,051 yards and 21 touchdowns. He started all 16 games and won the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

His success continued through 2015, when he led the Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance with a 15-1 record, 35 passing touchdowns, and a 99.4 passer rating. His league MVP that season was a surprise to nobody.

Trouble ensued in 2016. During the season opener rematch against the Denver Broncos, Newton sustained a head injury and left the game. Three weeks later, he sustained a concussion against the Atlanta Falcons on a failed 2-point attempt. He finished the season with a career-low 52.9% completion rate, 14 interceptions, and a 6-10 overall record.

On March 30, 2017, Newton underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff on his throwing shoulder. His attitude during the season raised eyebrows, including a sexist comment made towards a female reporter on October 4. He finished the season with 3,302 passing yards and 22 touchdowns.

Towards the end of the 2018 season, Newton was deactivated by the Panthers in order to undergo season-ending right shoulder surgery. He played only two games during the 2019 season, battling both shoulder and foot injuries.

As quickly as it had begun, it ended. After failing to find a suitable trade partner, the Panthers released Newton on March 24, 2020.

“Right now I’m angry, I feel let down,” Newton said in March. “But I’m not bitter. I knew the first day that I came into this league this day would come.”

Newton officially agreed to a one-year deal with New England Monday morning, and the rest is history.

While there is cause to celebrate the move, Newton’s minimum-wage contract and the fact that he remained unemployed for three months shows the value of consistency. The NFL is a rough, gritty league constantly putting players in injury’s way. The value of the quarterback has never been as high as it is now, with a total of 56 quarterbacks selected in the first round since 2000.

Organizations value quality quarterbacks that will be able to consistently start games throughout multiple seasons. Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was lucky to have been picked 5th overall, as he endured an injury-filled collegiate career.

Similar to Newton, his physical talents are off the charts. Tagovailoa threw a school-record 87 touchdown passes to only 11 interceptions in just three years. Newton similarly has had impressive professional numbers, holding the records for most rushing touchdowns for a QB in NFL history, and being the only player in league history to have thrown at least 30 touchdowns and rushed for 10 in a single season.

The point is that Newton is undeniably talented. Even now, he is one of the most dynamic athletes in the league, behind only a handful of names. The problem is his lack of consistency. His lack of ability to stay on the field in consecutive seasons painted him as a washed-out QB in the eyes of ball clubs.

This is an unfortunate situation for Newton, who will now be playing for just over $1 million for the season. It is even more insulting given that Newton joins a QB room in New England consisting of Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer. The former has four career pass attempts to his name, and the latter has played for eight teams in 11 years.

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman shared his take on Newton’s contract, noting the minimum-wage deal that was offered.

Given the current tensions in our country, we must address the racial side of this as well. African-American quarterbacks have notoriously been stereotyped as inferior throwers who use their athleticism for success. Newton already has proved this wrong simply by the statistics of his throwing game.

Thankfully, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson have been two African American quarterbacks to win the league MVP in the past two years.

However, this has the danger to set a “bar” for those who believe that race is an evaluating factor in QB play. “A quarterback of color is only successful if they win the MVP” is something that prejudiced NFL viewers could come down to. Clearly, this is not the case, and the award should be a cause for celebration instead of divide.

A lot of progress has been made regarding this in the past few years, but there is still improvement to be made.


View this post on Instagram


The @patriots’ new QB… @cameron1newton

A post shared by NFL (@nfl) on

Cam Newton has the unique opportunity to win the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback position following the departure of hometown legend Tom Brady.

His bare-bones dollar amount is unfortunate given his talent, but it shows the desire for consistency around the league. Cam can continue to prove his doubters wrong by leading the Patriots to another playoff berth in 2020.