If you follow former New England Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak on social media or even watch or listen to his commentary, two things are very apparent: he loves the Patriots, he’s from the “old school” and he’s very outspoken.
At times, the combination can lead to some head-scratching comments. We saw the most recent example of this on Friday morning when the 53-year-old unleashed some bewildering hot takes on Cam Newton during his show on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
According to Zolak, the Patriots need to “turn off the rap music,” so Newton can concentrate.
“I’d turn off the rap music first of all, because I think it’s distracting for Cam here,” Zolak said. “Because in-between every throw, he’s dancing. He makes a throw and the music’s still cranking. He can’t help himself.”
Zolak continued with his top-tier commentary, but at this point, he’s describing rookie Mac Jones, whom he obviously loves.
Hmm…does Zolak know that not all of the music played at Patriots practice is “rap music?” I’ve personally heard gospel music being played, and seen Newton physically reacting to that as well.
Sure enough, the predominant music played at Patriots practice–and at every other NFL, NBA, and probably MLB and NHL practice is hip-hop. FTBVidsYT captured this portion of the segment.
Zolak Isn’t the First Former QB to Take Issue With Cam Newton’s Style
You may remember former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia ranting about Newton’s clothes and style last year. Garcia seemingly had some pent-up aggression toward Newton.
This was bizarre, to say the least.
This sort of criticism and “analysis” wreaks of several issues that don’t appear to be related to football. I cannot speak for others, but I hate to associate race and ethnicity to every issue when a white person criticizes or antagonizes an African-American.
Race is NOT always the fuel for these instances. However, there are times when those elements are difficult to ignore. Unfortunately, this is one of those times.
The specificity of the music, the target and the direct comparison to Jones, who is white and fits the old-school stereotype for the position makes Zolak’s comments all the more troubling.
Pin-pointing “rap music,” referencing dancing, saying that he can’t help himself is treading dangerously on ground that sounds far too stereotypical. When you’re also pointing to these things as a reason Newton isn’t fit for the position, which has an ugly history of discrimination in itself, the comments sound even more sketchy.
Lastly, essentially pointing to the white quarterback, or the less-hip-hop one so to speak, and pushing a message that says, “look, this is what it looks like when you’re all business,” that’s either racist, really stupid or both.
What Kind of Music Was Zolak Listening To?
Whenever a former player criticizes a current one, it is inevitable, people are going to look up the accuser to see how they fared. Many football fans haven’t even heard of Zolak.
He played 8 seasons in the NFL, all with the Patriots, and let’s just say he wasn’t exactly a Pro-Bowl caliber performer.
From 1992-99, Zolak played in 55 games. He started 7 games with a 3-4 QB record. Zolak completed 50% of his passes throwing for a total of 1,314 yards with 8 TDs and 7 INT. Zolak had a QB rating of 64.8 for his career. He also had a total of 81 rushing yards with 0 TDs on the ground during that time.
Zolak was a backup for Craig McMurtry and Drew Bledsoe and he played in 3 playoff games, getting one start in 1998. The Patriots lost that game 25-10 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Zolak completed 21 of 44 passes for 0 TDs and an INT in the game.
Newton’s rap-infused routine dates back to his days in Carolina, so nothing he’s doing now is new. That means, rap was been a part of Newton’s preparation when he won NFL MVP in 2015. It was a part of what he did when he won Rookie of the Year in 2011, and has been in the mix all 3 of his Pro-Bowl seasons.
As much flack as Newton has received for his performance in 2020, it was still a year that saw the veteran signal-caller account for 20 total TDs with a completion percentage of 65.8. I’m not a mathematician, but we don’t need to be to see that Newton’s single-season totals dwarf what Zolak produced his entire career.
It’s not that an inferior player has no place criticizing one who is more gifted and accomplished, but if you are going to go that route, you’ve got to come with something better than this, Scott.
This sounds plain idiotic.
Zolak mentioned he was listening Bon Jovi during his career on Friday. Well, allow me to speak in a language that he would understand.
Zo, in my best Jon Bon Jovi voice, you give analysts, a bad name; and when it comes to this take, you’ve gone down, in a blaze of shame.
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