BOSTON (CBS) — Toward the end of Cam Newton’s 20-minute conversation with reporters on Thursday, the Patriots quarterback was asked about the grand jury decision in Kentucky to not charge any officers for the killing of Breonna Taylor.
Newton — who to that point had been asked about throwing mechanics, contract status, the center-QB exchange, and other football-focused questions — took a moment to gather his thoughts. Here’s what he said:
Oh, my — well … I mean .. it’s … I don’t know. You just have to — and I hate to, you know, be so bland or … like, you’ve just got to side-eye certain situations as an African-American sometimes. Well, a lot of times here recently at this country. I believe it was Lamar [Jackson] who just said is the land of the free, but in many than just once have I not felt that that statement applied to people that look like me.
No matter if they’re a citizen, no matter if they’re a police officer, no matter if they’re rich, poor, whatever. Right is right, and wrong is wrong. And at the end of the day, it’s just all about accountability. No matter what your title is before all or at the end of the day, you’re still a human being. And from one human to another, no matter how you look, no matter how you act, no matter how you whatever, I teach my children to treat everybody with respect, just it was taught to me.
Those are the things that were instilled in me and just to go out and knowing that you have a big target on yourself. When your hair looks the way my hair looks, when the confidence looks the way my confidence looks, the way I dress, the way I carry myself, and that’s in essence a turnoff to so many different people. But at the end of the day, what makes your way right and what makes my way right or what makes my way wrong or what makes your way wrong? At the end of the day as human beings we have to do right and better about each other.
And when the Breonna Taylor situation happens and you see the outcry of America just in disbelief, it’s … you’re speechless. But the sacrifices of the Colin Kaepernicks, the Eric Reids, so many different players who have been in essence boycotted or kind of blackballed or blackmailed from their specific sport, you know, it makes you kind of question or go back to what I just said — side-eye the whole situation. It’s like, Well, you know, what’s really going on here?
I know that’s a lot that I just said, but at the end of the day, I just pray that we all find it in our heart to do better. And no matter what happens on that specific case — because it’s out of pretty much everybody’s hands, you know, outside of the necessary people — let this be like a a situation that we all can empathize with. No matter if you go into a grocery store, no matter if you go into a gas station, like, let’s just do right by people.
So I think that’s that’s that’s pretty much how I feel that’s my stance and I just know that we all have a due diligence on this earth to do right by mankind, and I’m just one of those servants that wants to uphold my end of the bargain.
Newton wore cleats prior to the Patriots’ first game of the year, calling for an end to systemic racism.
The grand jury in Kentucky ruled to bring charges to just one of the three Louisville police officers involved with the incident, though those charges were for “wanton endangerment” and did not relate to the shooting that killed Taylor.