A photo began circulating the internet Sunday, shortly after the Panthers beat the 49ers 46-27 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte Sunday. It showed the two quarterbacks appearing, well, to not exactly be exchanging pleasantries. As usual, the Twitter memes came fast and furious.
On Fox Sports’ “Speak For Yourself” program Monday, host Jason Whitlock, a former Charlotte Observer sportswriter, tossed out a theory while in studio with co-host Shannon Sharpe. Whitlock said he looked deeper in Kaepernick’s Twitter feed and saw Kaepernick was retweeting fans last year who were posting that Kaepernick, and not Newton, was the first NFL star to do the Dab dance.
(It should be noted that Kaepernick’s TD celebration acutally involved bending his arm in a “dab-like motion” and then kissing his bicep. It looks like the Dab, but it is not, and Newton did not invent the Dab move, either. He borrowed it. But we digress).
“I think there’s some hostility and friction between these two guys,” Whitlock said on national TV Monday, “based on the picture, based on Kaepernick’s Twitter feed.”
Sharpe said he agreed, saying Kaepernick was the big zone read quarterback who got to the Super Bowl before Cam, who gave a most diplomatic answer when Newton was asked about his thoughts on Kaepernick’s national anthem stance.
“I think what kind of rubbed Colin maybe the wrong way and I hate to try to speculate,” Sharpe said, “but Colin is fighting for what he believes is police brutality and wants minorities to get a fair shake and hears Cam at the Super Bowl saying I’m a black quarterback and that might scare a lot of folks, (then) doing an article in GQ and saying there’s no racism.”
Panthers fans might remember that Kaepernick’s 49ers beat Newton’s Panthers 23-10 in January 2014 in the division round. It was Kaepernick’s fifth playoff game. It was Newton’s first, and Kaepernick celebrated a touchdown by mimicking Newton’s famous Superman celebration where he pantomimes tearing a shirt open -- only Kaepernick started by ripping his shirt open and them pantomimed buttoning it back up.
About a month later, the two quarterbacks were in California serving as co-hosts for a Cartoon Network show. Newton told the Charlotte Business Journal that he had no hard feelings about Kaepernick’s mock celebration.
"We’ve discussed it multiple times,” Newton said. “It’s all fun and games. We understand it’s a game inside a game. He meant no disrespect, and if I were to do his (celebration) kissing-the-bicep, I would mean no disrespect (to Kaepernick). You just make it more interesting to watch as a fan."