What you should knowIf you’re new here, let this serve as a warning. If you’re not, well.. consider this my notice of planned absence.
In January 2010, my hope for a future for the Panthers was in shambles. After another non-winning season under former head coach John Fox (2009, 8-8), I wanted to know if the community at large was behind firing him, or if I was alone in thinking he needed to go. I found the Carolina Huddle Forums after doing a search for "Fire John Fox" on the web, and finding a great thread stating reasons for his dismissal.
To my surprise, the posting community was not only on board with him being relieved of his HC duties, but found most people here were very football savvy. I participated in a number of great discussions about this team, the league,. the game, and eventually a number of other topics. I enjoyed this board quite a bit for a while. Of course, like with any grouping of people, I’d noticed a posting Clique, but the members of it seemed more concerned with off-topic content (mostly sharing borderline softcore porn), and their antics were relegated to the lounge or lovely ladies section. Besides, it was mostly innocuous and never really bothered me.
But then, we had the disaster of the 2010 season (2-14) on the back of the worst week-to-week QB play we’ve ever had as a franchise. Many great posters here left, probably out of frustration with the team, and the quality of posts suffered. It was as hard to read the Panther’s General discussion forum as it was to watch the games. Seeing people who claim to be Panther’s fans cheering that we’re losing so we can get the #1 pick is disheartening to say the least.
Well, their wish came true, and we did get the #1 pick. Immediately after the end of the 2010 season, John Fox was politely sent down the road, and we began to look for our replacement Head Coach AND more importantly… a franchise QB. Everyone figured it would be Andrew Luck. However, he decided to stay in school, and that’s when the true colors of this message board came out.
Cam Newton, a BCS Champion, a Heisman Trophy winner, and holder of several college records, was the next logical choice for this team. I posted a thread pointing out the merit of his play. I was greeted with a response of derision and disgust. And what was the over-arching problem? Well… to be blunt.. his race.
A handful of people were blatant about it, and simply said a Black QB wouldn’t succeed in the NFL. But many more people on this board were more subtle and crucified Newton using every angle of football reasoning, every tactic and antic known to debate and internet message board posting, to make an argument that this man was not worthy of our #1 pick. To my surprise, this same mentality was mirrored in the media as well.
Disgusted by this racism, from open to subtle, from this board to national media, I picked up the sword to fight a battle of words in favor of taking Newton. I wanted this not just from the standpoint of what was best for the Panthers, because it was, but what was RIGHT as a matter of equality and justice. The massive multi-page arguments continued for months, and even though as the pre-draft process continued, and they were clearly losing, a handful of people continued to post anti-Newton hate.
April 28th 2011, was a day of elation and peace when Roger Goodell announced our #1 pick as Cam Newton. For the first time in what was years, I felt a surge of hope and satisfaction as a fan. From watching what he did at Auburn, I knew we were in for a treat.
And man…since the start of 2011 has he delivered. He’s broken records. He’s scored 18 of our 21 TDs. He’s elevated our offense from #32, to #4-#5. Even though we are 2-6, he’s brought us close to winning every game we’ve played. With a better defense and special teams, there’s a very real possibility we would be undefeated. People are talking he has about an 80% chance of making the Pro Bowl in his rookie year. But most of all, he’s brought energy to a fanbase that has had the life sucked out of it from the end of the John Fox era.
Despite this, the same people who attacked him before he became a Panther, are attacking him still. But now there is no justifiable reasoning other than either hate, or the desire to troll. The response from the moderator staff here is to tell people to ignore them, and lock threads to bring this to their attention. Of course, it’s no coincidence to me that these same people flaming Newton and trolling are in the Clique of posters I mentioned above. I’ve also seen this same racism against other cultures in other sections as well, which has gone on without so much as a breath of rejection from the mods or operators of this forum.
Perhaps it is because the good posters left after the 2-14 season. Perhaps it’s the clique/mob mentality… but for whatever reason, this board has become a pit of trolling, racism, and softcore porn. And better porn can be found elsewhere without having to read a bunch of racist hatred and trollish flaming.
So my time as a contributor here is going to trail off. I’ll probably still lurk, but remain logged out and inactive. Coincidentally, there have been several other Panther related boards that have sprung up in recent weeks. Panthers.com has their own official board now, and other boards are getting more and more traffic. If you are new here, you’d save yourself some trouble to leave for one of these other boards where the racism and trolling would not be tolerated.