By Sheryl Estrada
Former NFL football player Bill Romanowski has apologized for a controversial tweet he made about the Carolina Panthers’ quarterback, Cam Newton, after Super Bowl 50 Sunday night.
Twitter users called Romanowski racist for referring to Newton “boy.”
He sent the tweet to tell off Newton for being short with reporters and eventually walking away during a post-game interview after the Panthers lost Super Bowl 50 to the Denver Broncos.
Twitter users promptly fired off:
ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) February 8, 2016
Bill Romanowski calling Cam a “boy” was no innocent slip. Romo’s long history of violent racial incidents have used up an line of credit ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) February 8, 2016
Romanowski deleted his tweet but returned to Twitter to “clarify” what he meant.
Calm down everyone! I meant he needs to grow up! Bill Romanowski (@billromanowski) February 8, 2016
And then an apology tweet:
I apologize for that remark ‘boy’. It was not intentional or even trying to disrespect others. Peace everyone. Bill Romanowski (@billromanowski) February 8, 2016
During the days ofslavery and the Jim Crow era, the word “boy” served as a way to humiliate and emasculate Black men. An adult male was never to be called a man, or he might consider himself equal to a white man.
Newton, age 26, who was named the league’s Most Valuable Player at the NFL Honors on Saturday night, has been frequently criticized for a perceived “bad attitude” and for celebrating touchdowns and big plays, for example.
Romanowski has publicly announced his disdain for Newton once before. In an interview with Bleacher Report this month, he said to stop Newton on the field he’d “Hit him as hard as possible then try to choke him under the pile hopefully he can’t breathe for a long time.”
His reference to choking and not breathing echo the last words of Eric Garner, “I can’t breathe,” which were used heavily during Black Lives Matter protests of Garner’s police-related death by chokehold.
Romanowski had a 16-year career in the NFL playing for teams including the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos. He admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs during his professional career. Romanowski had a reputation as a dirty player and also for being racist.
In a 2000Sports Illustrated article, an athlete said that Romanowski used the N-word to refer to Black players. He denied the allegations.
In 1997, when he was a linebacker for the Broncos, Romanowski spat in the face of San Francisco receiver J.J. Stokes, who is Black. He was fined $7,500.
“I think it’s fair to say that to spit on someone who is Black is the ultimate form of degradation,” Anne Sulton, legal counsel for the Denver chapter of the NAACP, said in 1997. “It’s fairly close to a cross-burning, with the difference being that a cross-burning is a group act, where spitting is just an individual act.”