FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Cam Newton on Sunday became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for 50 career touchdowns.
The Carolina Panthers quarterback then celebrated by holding up a clenched fist.
Newton said the fist was to signify "black power.''
"I did it to show black pride, because I am an African-American,'' Newton added. "I wanted people to see the joy that I go out there and play with.''
Newton said sports have a way of unifying people.
"Unity is something that is going to cure a battered mentality in this country,'' he said. "I feel as if we all stick together, if we all come together and listen here, speak, we can better help the situation.
"A lot of situations that is going on right now in our country is trying to cause division. We get nowhere divided. I stand for the national anthem. I don't look down upon a person who doesn't feel they want to. You have to respect another man's judgment for why they are protesting.''
As a football player and entertainer, Newton said, "I just want people to come together.''
"When you're looking in the stands, it's no racial tension outside of a lot of people just rooting for each other,'' he said. "I just hope and pray to God that this country finds the energy and the heart to come together as a whole.''
Newton scored on a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter to give the Panthers a 30-16 lead over New England. He already had three touchdown passes.
The 50 rushing touchdowns are the second most in the NFL since Newton was the first pick of the 2011 draft. Oakland's Marshawn Lynch is first with 52.
Newton said earlier in the week he wanted to join the rest of the NFL in its show of protest against the remarks and tweets of President Donald Trump.
"The message is unity for me: black, white, different minorities around America," Newton said on Wednesday. "That's my message. I want everybody to come together. We get nowhere separated. People feeling oppressed and people that are rich looking down on other people, you don't get nowhere with that. We all are created equal.
"We need to find some kind of way to come together to make the situation better. Because where we're going now, it's not healthy at all."