In the last Daily Show before this weekend’s Super Bowl 50, host Trevor Noah dug into what appears to be a racial double standard when it comes to the two quarterbacks: Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers and Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos.
“I’ve been following football for a long, long time,” the South African host said. “And I’ve also been following what Americans call football for quite a while now. And I love it.”
Noah said he was particularly excited about this year’s Super Bowl matchup because of the study in contrasts presented by the two quarterbacks. While Manning is “unflappable,” Newton is “unpredictable.” Yet, for some reason, “the media seems to be highlighting” their contrast in a different way.
Newton has come under fire for his end zone celebrations while Manning gets praised for his studious behavior on the sidelines. “What? Cam Newton doesn’t study? That’s bullshit,” Noah said. “The reason Peyton Manning is sitting on the bench every chance he gets is because he’s the oldest quarterback to ever start a Super Bowl.”
Noah accused the media of refusing to show similar footage of Newton studying the Panthers playbook because of the narrative they are trying to push. “Let’s face it, people, we all know what’s really going on here,” he said. Newton himself recently acknowledged that, as an African-American quarterback, he “may scare a lot of people.”
“This is about race. And you know what I love about all the race conversations in society? People always say it’s not about race,” Noah said, later adding, “Everyone celebrates after a touchdown.”
To those who would criticize Newton’s end zone dances for not being “classy” enough (while white players like Aaron Rodgers do similar, crotch-thrusting dances in TV commercials), Noah said there is nothing “classy” about the NFL. “It’s a bunch of guys smashing into each other and then slapping their asses. That’s the game,” he said. “No one’s throwing the ball with a pinky up and apologizing for getting in the way.”