Cam Newton raised a fist in the air after scoring a touchdown as political tensions engulf the NFL


Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton put his head down and raised his fist in the air after scoring a touchdown on Sunday against the New England Patriots. After bringing his hand down, Newton proceeded to do his infamous "Superman" celebration, and returned to the sidelines with his team.

The gesture comes at a time when NFL players are speaking out more and more with political statements and immediately evokes the memory of Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists at the 1968 Summer Olympics.

After last week's widespread demonstrations across the league, Week 4 has seen teams take the middle road of kneeling before the anthem and then standing for the playing of the song, as the Cowboys did last week on Monday Night Football.

8 PHOTOS
Dallas Cowboys kneel at start of Monday Night Football game
See Gallery
Dallas Cowboys kneel at start of Monday Night Football game
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 25: Members of the Dallas Cowboys link arms and kneel during the National Anthem before the start of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 25, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Sep 25, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones kneels with players prior to the national anthem prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 25, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; The Dallas Cowboys players, coaches staff and owner Jerry Jones take a knee prior to the National Anthem before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 25, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (blue) locks arms with his players on the sidelines during the national anthem prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 25: Tight end Geoff Swaim #87 of the Dallas Cowboys, offensive tackle Byron Bell #75 and quarterback Kellen Moore #17 link arms during the National Anthem before the start of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 25, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys links arms with teammates offensive tackle Tyron Smith #77 and offensive guard Chaz Green #79 during the National Anthem before the start of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 25, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 25: Running back Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys and wide receiver Terrance Williams #83 link arms during the National Anthem before the start of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 25, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

While the idea of kneeling before the anthem was probably made in an effort to please all and offend none, many feel that it detracts from Colin Kaepernick's original protest, which was against police brutality and inequality people of color face across the justice system. If players hope to make a statement without it being diluted by the larger idea of "unity" that the protests during the anthem now seem to embody, it's possible that gestures like this become more common as players celebrate their touchdowns.

The score was the 50th rushing touchdown of Newton's career, making him the first quarterback to ever accomplish the feat, and the Panthers won in New England 33-30.

26 PHOTOS
NFL Week 4: How players protested during the national anthem
See Gallery
NFL Week 4: How players protested during the national anthem
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 Miami Dolphins players kneel during the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 Miami Dolphins players kneel during the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 New Orleans Saints players kneel before the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 New Orleans Saints players during the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 Miami Dolphins players during the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
Sep 28, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; Chicago Bears players kneel in the end zone prior to their game the Green Bay Packers against before the national anthem at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; Fans hold up an American flag during national anthem prior to the game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; The Green Bay Packers link arms during the national anthem prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18), quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12), tight end Richard Rodgers (82) and wide receiver Davante Adams (17) link arms during the National Anthem prior to their game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars players stand during the national anthem before their NFL football game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S. October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Jacksonville Jaguars players kneel before the national anthem before their NFL football game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S. October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Oct 1, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Lions linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin (44) and linebacker Steve Longa (54) kneel during the national anthem before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Members of the Cleveland Browns raise their fists during the national anthem before the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Rams linebacker Robert Quinn (94) raises his fist during the national anthem against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Rams linebacker Robert Quinn (94) raises his fist during the national anthem against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 New Orleans Saints players take the knee before the start of the national anthem Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
Oct 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets players lock arms during the national anthem before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The New England Patriots players stand together for the U.S. National Anthem before their NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Foxborough, Massachusetts, U.S., October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
The New England Patriots players stand together for the U.S. National Anthem before their NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Foxborough, Massachusetts, U.S., October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 01: The Pittsburgh Steelers stand on the field during the National Anthem on October 1, 2017, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Oct 1, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Members of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the National Anthem prior to a game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Members of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the National Anthem prior to a game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) and free safety Darian Stewart (26) react along with teammates during the American national anthem before a game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) and free safety Darian Stewart (26) and cornerback Aqib Talib (21) and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (25) react along with teammates during the American national anthem before a game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Buffalo Bills players shown during the National Anthem prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

You can watch Newton's score and celebration below.

NOW WATCH: How 46-year-old WWE superstar Chris Jericho stays in amazing shape

See Also:

 

 

SEE ALSO: Fewer NFL players kneeled during the anthem on Sunday as the Cowboys' tactic is becoming the norm

 

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.