The Carolina Panthers Don’t Need A New Quarterback. They Need A New Fanbase.

Fresh off of their team’s first Super Bowl appearance in the 2003-2004 season, fans of the Carolina Panthers were rewarded with a premium primetime matchup to start the season — a Monday Night Football game against the Green Bay Packers.

The game didn’t go as planned. The Panthers took a short-lived 7-3 lead in the second quarter of a game that Carolina eventually lost 24-14.

The loss wasn’t the sad part. The ungrateful nature of the fans provided the real gloom.

After Green Bay took a 24-7 lead in the third quarter, fans furiously booed their hometown Panthers — the same Panthers, mind you, who just lost a heartbreaking NFL championship game to those cheating New England Patriots only seven months earlier.

During the Panthers’ surprising playoff run, a defining motto for the franchise was brought to life by the late Sam Mills: “Keep Pounding.”

A whiny and complaining contingent of Panther fans continue in the legacy of those boo-birds from that September night. They would rather keep pounding and railing on their team instead of rallying behind them.

keep pounding

Some 15 years after the franchise’s first Super Bowl run, the team finds itself in the midst of an improbable six-game losing streak after a tough 12-9 loss to the hated New Orleans Saints on — you guessed it, Monday Night Football. Reports indicate that quarterback Cam Newton will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. Most fan bases would mourn the fact that their franchise quarterback could miss significant time, or worse — face an injury that could cut into their favorite player’s prime.

Not Carolina fans. The Panthers’ Facebook page, which boasts 2.2 million fans, featured comments such as these:

“I been a Panthers fan since day one, but Cam just a mediocre QB.”

“Cam is a bust, dude will never win a title.”

“Looks and plays like a sissy b—h.”

There are two things that are questionable about Cam: his fashion sense and, for the last six weeks, his shoulder on the injury report. Here’s what’s NOT questionable about Cam:

• He’s the greatest quarterback the franchise has ever seen. Cam is Carolina’s all-time passing leader with 28,469 yards. For the first eight seasons of his career, he’s thrown for 3,000 yards. Only one other quarterback has ever done that — Peyton Manning. Those are his numbers as a quarterback, which speaks nothing of his exceptional talent as a runner and his nose for the goal line.

• The Panthers’ last Super Bowl appearance doesn’t happen without a MVP campaign from Cam, which led to a 15-1 regular season record.

• Cam is this generation’s Steve McNair. McNair was a paragon of leadership for the Tennessee Titans, a player who played fearlessly as he suffered through various injuries. Cam’s competitive nature and fearlessness also fuel the Panthers, yet only tell part of the story. Despite a shoulder injury that became progressively worse, especially after a big hit by Pittsburgh’s TJ Watt, Cam got the Panthers off to a 6-2 start where he played some of the best football of his career.

• Cam’s leadership extends beyond the football field and shouldn’t come into question because of how he brands himself as a fashion icon. He gives his time and resources to the Charlotte community and clearly has a heart for children.

That’s not enough for these backwater fans who tee off in the comment sections. Wonder why? Could it be the same reason that these same fans want to fire Ron Rivera, a coach of Hispanic descent? Could it be the same reason that these same fans belittle Eric Reid, a bold champion for social justice?

Of course it is. These fans will never be satisfied without a blond-haired, blue-eyed quarterback. Same goes for the coach as well. And don’t forget, “stick to sports.”

Regional politics certainly fuel this senseless bias. Charlotte, North Carolina, the home of the Panthers, is part of a congressional district that is currently under fire for claims of voter suppression targeting African-Americans. Two years ago, Charlotte was besieged with protests and riots after the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott, a Black man, at the hands of police.

The backcountry boo-birds in the comments section are, not surprisingly, tone-deaf toward the feelings of Black people on these issues. The similarities between such unrepentant ignorance and the hate for “QB1” can’t be overstated or overlooked.

It’s a nonsensical and deep-seeded hatred that demands Derek Anderson start over Cam Newton. It’s a hatred that roots for backup Taylor Heinicke — not necessarily for the good of the Panthers, but instead to “humble” the Panthers’ franchise quarterback.

Truth be told, they don’t even represent the majority. There was a beautiful thread on Twitter in the aftermath of the Saints game where fans declared their love for the Panthers and their players. That was a gesture from real fans.

The vocal minority that bashes Cam is much like the vocal minority that controls so much of the media and political structure in our country today — savage and without a conscience. If these people hate diversity so much — a Black quarterback, a Hispanic coach, an athlete-activist — we should banish them to a life of misery in a place where we’re shipping a lot of former Panthers these days.

Let’s send them to Buffalo.


25 thoughts on “The Carolina Panthers Don’t Need A New Quarterback. They Need A New Fanbase.”

  1. Excuse me? I think Cam is fantastic. He loves the game and his team. And MOST of us love him. Don’t group all of us in with the few that are pitching a fit. HATE that you felt you had to go there with race and politics. Invalidated your whole argument. Nothing but love, prayers and respect for Cam. Takes a big man to put the Team before himself. Shows his maturity and devotion. So, I don’t think we need a “new fan base”-think we need the FEW whiners to find another team.


    1. Lisa,

      The support for Cam is much appreciated. And the truth is, our fan base is mostly awesome. You can strike up a conversation with most anyone wearing Panthers gear, and it’s a refreshing experience.

      Regarding race and politics, everyone doesn’t have the luxury of leaving those topics out of the discussion. With some of the comments I see on social media, and mass media in general, it’s clear that others don’t leave those topics out as well.

      I already have a suggestion for those whiners — ship ’em out, lol!

      Thanks for reading and commenting! Happy holidays.


    2. That’s exactly what the article said. The whiners should go to buffalo with the rest of the Carolina has-beens. He clearly stated that they were the minority.


    3. Lisa, unfortunately a lot us black folk have been saying the same thing about grouping us with the “thugs” or “bad” people for the longest, but yet it still happens to this day. Whether you agree or understand it, race is still a major issue in this country and even when it comes to black QBs. I think you should note the quote in this well written article, “Truth be told, they don’t even represent the majority,” you will see that he is in no way grouping all of the fans together.

      The fact of the matter is, that it’s not all about race, but you would be ignorant to state that you know that it’s not a major player. I think there are a lot of white people that believe in equality, but get tired of the so called race card because they have not had to experience it.


    4. Lisa(Russian bot),

      Nobody cares that you hate that the author showed the intersection between the NFL, race, and politics. That’s one of his strengths, and something we do over and over.

      You came to this website, and you can remove yourself from it. But there will be no policing of his content on his website.

      Merry Christmas.


  2. Wow everything is not about race. Cam needs to sit out and get his shoulder taken care of. I am a big panthers fan and I believe If he does not get his shoulder taken care of he may suffer from more permanent injuries. Looking forward to watching him play next year. I also think the NFL should take more of a stance of some of those questionable hits on him. One of which I feel like probably contributed to his injury. KEEPPOUNDING.


    1. Novella,

      Respectfully, most of the tensions we face in this country can be traced back to racial tension and/or corporate greed.

      Regarding Cam, I agree wholeheartedly. He should’ve been on the shelf weeks ago. I look forward to him coming back as well, but the narrative that his playing style leads to his injuries is missing two key points:

      1) Carolina’s offensive line play during Cam’s tenure has been mediocre at best and god-awful at worst. Most of the damage he’s sustained has been inside of the pocket.

      2) Despite the risk of injury, more teams are running RPO (run-pass option) sets. RPO is in Cam’s wheelhouse. My recommendation would be to watch someone like Russell Wilson, who is adept at being a dual-threat QB, but also not taking the big hit.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  3. I couldn’t agree more. Cam has done a lot for the Panthers. I may get mad at how they play at times but my love for our TEAM will never ever die. People should check his stats. He is a helluva qb. If they don’t have anything positive to say than yes delete yourself from the group. Get well Cam we’ll be waiting on your return


  4. It is understood that there is a racial dynamic that exists in and outside of the game of football. Always have been and forever will be. Truth be told, greater hatred presented itself when we signed Eric Reid but that’s another article that can be written. The problem I have with this year’s season is that the team placed too much emphasis on our injured star player and as a result it hurt us in our playoff chances. I agree, bandwagon fans should kick rocks, but we can also agree that Cam’s shoulder should have been rested two games earlier so he can be healthy at the start of next season. True fans can criticize poor team play, management etc and still be supporters.


  5. Thank you for this article. Well spoken and 100 percent true. I love our Cam. He is the best of the best! Our coach is fantastic and I am sick and tired of the way Eric Reid is being treated by the NFL with the incessant drug testing. We had a tough season. They need to get over it. The whiners are welcome to go cheer for the Buffalo Panthers. I will continue to KEEP POUNDING!


  6. You obviously wrote this as a way to discuss the issues on race that you have which is sad. The truth of the matter is no one cares what color he is or anyone else on the team. What is wanted is a qb that is a leader and that can perform on an elite level week in and week out, which Cam has proven week in and week out that he cannot do! He’s proven over and over he is not a great or even consistent passer. He tries too hard to make a play when a play isn’t there, therefore resulting in unnecessary interceptions, fumbles, tackles for a loss or sacks which could easily be avoided by throwing the ball away. Yes, he had one good year in his career and that was with Auburn. A leader doesn’t take his team to the Super Bowl, play terrible and then get up and leave post game interviews like a baby that’s a sore loser. A leader doesn’t have the sour look on his face when he’s on the field like Cam does every game unless he’s winning or playing well (which he rarely does). A leader continues to motivate his offense through thick and thin to keep moral up, focus on point and drive them, which he doesn’t do. Ok, in the game vs the Saints, he was not 100% so the coaches shouldn’t have played him and Cam should have told them to sit him that game to at least give the offense a chance to win the game. If it wasn’t for the defense, it would have been a blowout by the Saints. All Cam could do is give the ball to McCaffrey and you can’t rely on one man to do all the running and receiving to score all your points. When McCaffrey scored, here goes Cam running into the endzone and then standing in the back of the endzone thereafter in fron of the fans with his hands raised liked he did something miraculous on the play. All he did was hand the ball off! A leader doesn’t over celebrate like he just won the game, almost every time when he runs the ball a few yards and picks up a first down, then goes on to throw a pick soon after which happens to him frequently when he does that. It’s funny how karma works. A leader doesn’t focus his time on what kind of silly and ridiculous costume he’s going to wear before and after every game, making himself look like a clown,instead of focusing more on the team. In a nut shell, he realistically just isn’t a great qb and that is what it is. Does that make him a bad person…no, of course not and it shouldn’t. Should people hate him as a person…no, not just for playing sub par football. The fans aren’t the problem…previously and currently Cam is (if it makes you feel better then we can just call him the QB). The fans have been taken on a roller coaster ride every season since the start of the franchise in 1995. Take a look back at the season history since then…its always up and down with no real consistency at all. No seasons are always back to back to back great seasons. Bottom line is he has had his time to do what he could to help the Panthers be a consistent winning team year after year and he has not been able to do that because he as a player is very inconsistent. It’s time to invest in another QB that has the abilities to do that and Cam has had more than enough time to do so. The fans just want consistency and to have a winning team which can easily happen with the players they have right now. Look at Drew Brees for example…that’s a leader and fantastic QB, day in and day out. The team just needs a different leader. That is what it is, like it or not.


    1. Talked about race … check.
      Respectability politics on leadership … check.
      Comparison to white QB … check.

      Congratulations! You, in fact, are one of the fans that this post talks about! And while you’ve been blinded by irrational hate, understand that the franchise is seeing its best days underneath QB1. The stats and facts prove it.

      There’s a team in Buffalo you can root for, though.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


      1. Actually, you’re very wrong indeed! I’m not a Panthers fan at all but I follow the NFL closely. Sometimes it’s easier for someone on the outside to see what the problems really are so you can take yourself to Buffalo as I have a life long team that I will never change. In fact, I’m not blinded when my team has issues just because I like a player.

        By the way…you keep bringing up race which I still don’t understand?! Try not seeing the players as black or white and seeing them as players. I feel for you man!

        I feel even more sorry for you if you feel the team is seeing it’s best days because if that’s the case you sure don’t have a lot to look forward to.

        Spread the love man and stop with your hate and stop trying to bring race into this when it’s not a factor. Would love to discuss things further with you then if you’re capable of doing that.

        Merry Christmas Bud!!


      2. “…Which I still don’t understand.”

        You didn’t even need to comment further for me to know that you lack understanding. Read it again. Perhaps you’ll get it eventually.


  7. The fans are tired of mediocrity over and over again. It’s not about race. Rivera and CAM aren’t leading this team at a championship level. Only a fool keeps paying for the same thing over and over again expecting something different to happen.

    If you’d actually watch the games, you’d see that.


    1. The Carolina Panthers franchise win-loss record, as of this comment, is three games under .500. Cam Newton’s win-loss record, as of this comment is 14 games above .500. I love the Panthers. I rooted for them before Cam and will do so after Cam.

      Injuries derailed this team. That is a fact. It’s not an indictment of Cam and Rivera, who have won with more frequency than anyone in franchise history.

      “If you’d actually watch the games, you’d see that.”

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


      1. Right and he Cam needs to protected from getting sacked! Is there some jealousy there and, they would rather see him injured and lose games to make him look bad????


      2. Mae,

        It’s a weird paradox. The franchise has invested a lot of money into Cam Newton. On the other hand, they haven’t invested nearly as much in an adequate offensive line. It’s frustrating.

        Thanks for reading and commenting!


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