- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton stressed the importance of accountability when he was asked Wednesday to address the police killing of an armed black man, which lead to violent protests in Charlotte this week.

“My big thing is always holding people accountable, no matter what the race is, no matter what the gender is, no matter what the age is. We all have to hold each other accountable,” Mr. Newton told a press conference, a local NBC News affiliate reported.

“I’m a firm believer of justice. I’m a firm believer of doing the right thing,” he said.

Mr. Newton said that as a black man, he understands the frustrations over “this state of oppression in our community.”

“But we also, as black people, have to do right by ourselves. We can’t be hypocrites,” he added.

Mr. Newton said he didn’t have enough information to form an opinion about the death of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott — who was fatally shot by police Tuesday afternoon at an apartment complex in Charlotte — or the rioting that followed. Police said Scott had a gun in his hands at the time of his death, not a book like his family had claimed.

“My heart mourns for the family,” Mr. Newton said. “But I just don’t know enough info now.”

The 27-year-old NFL star stayed mostly neutral during his comments and called the number of police shootings in the U.S. “embarrassing,” NBC reported.

He also lamented that speaking out on race relations can put him in a “lose-lose” situation.

“I’m in a position now where it’s like, if I say something it’s going to be critiqued and if I don’t say something, ‘Oh, you’re fake,’ or, ‘You’re a fraud,’” he said.

Head coach Ron Rivera said it was unfair that people rely on the players for guidance on cultural issues, but stood behind Mr. Newton’s comments, NBC reported.

“I think he’s very thoughtful when he talks about this city and his feelings,” Mr. Rivera said. “He thinks before he speaks.”

The best way to change things is to vote, “maybe instead of tearing up our city,” Mr. Rivera added, NBC reported.

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