Last week, the Carolina Panthers Instagram announced that quarterback Cam Newton and his partner Kia Proctor welcomed their third child to the world.
First of all, this family is gorgeous. If you’re looking for #relationshipgoals, you better be following @_k1a_ on Instagram.
But the way some, not all, Charlotteans responded to the news is giving me hives.
Wow. When did the Panthers’ Insta followers turn into the Newton family’s judgmental aunt?
I’ll be willing to bet you heard similar sentiments in the break room, bar, or group chat this weekend.
Obviously being in the public eye invites a certain amount of commentary into your life. Just because it’s common, that doesn’t mean it’s right to do. A vocal minority took a baby announcement and turned it into something ugly.
I’ve got three things to say to those folks.
Cam and Kia will get married when (and if) they’re good and ready.
It’s 2018, not 1950. Marriage is no longer a prerequisite for building a life together. Setting marriage as some badge of honor for a couple with a beautiful family is some boring commitment culture shining through. Cam and Kia are doing just fine without it.
It may not look exactly like your marriage (or how you project your marriage online), but that’s okay. Not everyone has to take the same path to arrive at the same location. There are times when Charlotte’s online community seems unable or unwilling to accept that people can have differing perspectives, attitudes, and lifestyles and still be perfectly valid.
So you got married first, bought a house, then had kids, and Cam Newton is doing things in a different order. Who cares? As long as everyone does it in the way that makes them happy, let it be. Since your path lead to you bitterly making fun of a stranger online, I have to wonder how happy your path really made you.
Your sexism is showing.
These comments about Kia getting “more than half” are meant to imply that, because she’s a woman, she must be a gold digger out to take Cam’s money. Firstly, I’m sure there are easier ways to make money than starting a whole entire family with someone. Beyond that, why is it so impossible to believe that these two might just be a perfectly happy couple in love?
When a celebrity man gets together with a non-celebrity woman, comments like this always pop up. The idea that any woman that dates a famous man must be after his money is extremely sexist. Cam Newton seems like a funny, passionate, generous guy who’s great with kids. There’s tons a woman would want him for besides his money.
Your racism is showing.
Cam Newton’s presence in the NFL has always been somewhat racialized. He plays a position in football that is generally held by white players (only five of the NFL’s 32 starting quarterbacks are African American). And he plays that position while presenting himself as unapologetically black. Sometimes that means making southern moms faint with his hip-hop dancing, or making a 2 Chainz inspired birthday request.
Even The Daily Show with Trevor Noah took notice of how racialized media coverage of Cam Newton was during the Panthers’ 2016 Super Bowl run.
It’s impossible to ignore the racial implications of comments judging a young, black couple for having children out of wedlock. You simply don’t see this level of intrusive speculation on all of the league’s players.
Would the comments be less gross if they were about a white couple? Of course not. But it’d be naive to not acknowledge these comments have a dog whistle to the tune of welfare queens and absent black fathers. Neither Cam nor Kia have done anything to warrant or deserve these kinds of speculations.
Look, I know they’re a famous couple, and we’re used to saying whatever we want about famous people, but they’re also human beings deserving of empathy and privacy. This is how we’d want to be treated, and the Newton/Proctor family deserves it just as much.