Maybe I’m just old-school. Maybe I’m completely politically incorrect. Maybe I’m just plain ignorant. Maybe I don’t care.
Regardless of all the above, I would like to ask a question — are we not allowed to voice an opinion anymore — unless it is politically correct — without running the risk of landing in hot water?
Does the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution not read: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances?”
I ask because it doesn’t seem that way anymore, and I have had about all I care to have of people getting completely bent out shape because they don’t like someone else’s opinion.
People, we were never meant to think exactly alike. If we were, who would there be to convince us that we our opinions might need some adjustment?
The latest issue that has me up in arms is this thing with Cam Newton, the NFL quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. Apparently, sometime this week a female reporter asked Newton about pass routes one of his receivers runs.
Newton reportedly laughed and said, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes. It’s funny.”
The reporter apparently took issue with the response, let everyone know she had an issue with it, and now Dannon, who Newton was serving as a spokesperson for, has cut its ties with the quarterback.
Dannon released a statement saying the company perceives Newton’s comments as “sexist and disparaging to all women. … It’s simply not ok to belittle anyone based on gender. We have shared our concerns with Cam and will no longer work with him.”
Now, let me make a couple things clear. Someone who has been interviewed as many times as Newton, and been criticized for other comments and on-the-field actions, should be smart enough to choose better words. And, judging from what I’ve seen on TV and read about him, Cam Newton is far from my favorite person.
But, are his recent comments such a big deal that they need to make national headlines? Is it so wrong for an NFL quarterback to find it odd that a female reporter would ask him a question about his receiver’s routes?
Because it isn’t to me. In fact, if my wife asked me a question about a receiver’s routes, I’d probably fall over in disbelief. The same goes for the vast majority of the females I know.
Just so you know where I stand, let me get another thing straight. When I’m watching sports on TV, I do not like listening to female announcers. Call me sexist if you want, but that’s just the honest truth.
It does not bother me that women have those jobs. Some of them are very good at what they do. Better, in fact, than many of their male counterparts. But, my preference is to have a man tell me what’s going on when I’m watching a ball game.
Maybe that’s because I was brought up a in world where female sports reporters were few and far between. Maybe it’s because I’m sexist and need an attitude adjustment. But the fact is that no matter how many times people tell me I should open my mind to change, I’m still not going to like women telling me what’s going on when I’m watching sports.
Is that not OK? Can I not have my own opinion on who I like to listen to when I’m watching sports? Do I have to keep my feelings locked inside my head for fear of being ostracized?
We all have opinions. We learn from listening to opinions that differ from our own. It’s how we grow and become better people. But it almost seems like these days we are not supposed to express how we truly feel. It seems like we’re supposed to be robots, with a programmed response to every question that’s asked.
So, how are ever going to change opinions if we don’t know how other people really feel?
I do not find it odd at all that Cam Newton found it funny for a women to be asking him about a receiver’s routes. On the other hand, if he really was shocked by the question, there are better ways to express his opinion. And after his initial response, he most certainly should have answered the woman’s question. That would have been the courteous and manly thing to do. After all, the woman was only trying to do her job, and her question was legitimate.
But instead he threw out words that were condescending, and that hurt someone’s feelings.
I get that part.
But the woman’s question and Newton’s answer are only a small part of the equation here. It’s just the tip of the most recent iceberg. What I really want to know is why people seem to be so easily offended these days. Why can’t they accept that some people will never think alike?
I mean, c’mon, my wife and I do not agree on everything. But after more than three decades together we’ve found a way to look beyond those differences and move on. It’s really not that hard.
If you do not agree with what I’m saying here, that’s fine. I do not expect everyone to agree with me. But I do expect you to respect my privilege to express how I feel.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.