Cam Newton, quarterback of the Super Bowl bound Carolina Panthers says his race is a big part of why people are critical of him.
When asked, "Why do you think you've become more of a lightning rod than other athletes?," Newton responded that they, as a team, have not changed who they are.
"I said it since Day One, you know, I'm an African-American quarterback. That may scare a lot of people because they haven't seen nothing that they can compare me to," Newton said at a press conference. "It's me. Nobody changed me, nobody made me act a certain type of way, and I'm true to my roots."
The Panthers head coach Ron Rivera also spoke to members of the media ahead of Super Bowl 50 on Wednesday.
"You know I'm kind of in the same boat, some people want to tag me as a Hispanic head coach, well that's great. But the truth of the matter is, I just want to be tagged as a Head Coach. Because it really should be about your merit," Rivera said.
The Panthers face off against the Denver Broncos on Feb. 7, 2016
Cam Newton responds to critics, says race is a factor