The (Almost) Final Ruling On Cam

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By now everyone and their mother has shared an opinion on the Cam Newton post game press conference walk out.  Some people are saying that he has every right to be mad, after all, he just lost the biggest game of his career.  Others say that it was just Cam being Cam, he is immature and doesn’t know how to lose like a professional.  Both of these are fair arguments, they both hold weight, and they are both right.

So whats the verdict on Cam?  To me, the jury is still out. Here’s why:

The Good:

He is young, and he is a superstar.

Drafted No. 1 overall in 2011 still makes him a baby in this league, and at the age of 26, he is still a baby to the world.  Being the number one overall draft pick comes with a heavy weight attached. Most people cannot handle it.  But Newton, he seems to do it with swag.  When he was backing up Tebow in Florida, he was a nobody, then he goes to Jr. College for a year, gets brought into a great program at Auburn, and suddenly he is a household name.  And that is just the beginning. Since getting drafted, he has been one of the biggest stars on a team that has been average at best (until this season) and in a city and state so overly dominated by NASCAR.  His jersey sales were second this season, behind only Tom Brady, according to NFLShop.com.  The league needs stars to survive, and Cam is definitely a star.

He is physically gifted and only going to get better.

Running the spread at Auburn doesn’t exactly transfer well into the NFL.  The system just is not run in the pros, outside of a package or two of plays, and most of the time, its unsuccessful. Cam changed that. at 6’5″ 250lbs. he is a beast, bigger than most of the guys on the field. He can run downhill and take a beating in the process.  After that, he’ll burn you on a 30 out and up because he can chuck that pigskin a bit too.  Look at the 2015 Panthers roster, besides Cam, who honestly stands out?  And yet, that team was lighting up the scoreboard all season.

He is actually a good person.

If you haven’t seen Cam score a touchdown this year, let me fill you in: He give a kid the football after every touchdown that he scores, and if you haven’t see their faces when they get it, then you just wouldn’t understand.  Their expression of just sheer joy is something most people hope to feel just once in their lives. And he does it, every. single. game. In my opinion it is probably the best touchdown routine since the start of the Lambeau Leap.  In addition he has been known to give memorabilia to disabled kids, he’s been active in the community, and unlike many players in the NFL, he’s avoided any major off the field controversy since being drafted.

 

The Bad:

He’s mad questionable decisions in his life.

Remember when we were talking about him being Tebow’s backup?  Yeah, well he didn’t leave the University of Florida because he wasn’t playing, he was about to get dismissed from the University for multiple academic cheating offenses, according to a 2009 foxsports.com news report.  A year before that, he was arrested and charged with stealing a fellow students laptop.  So, Cam transfers in 2009 to a junior college, then again in 2010 to Auburn, where he eventually went on to win a National Championship and the Heisman Trophy. It wasn’t until after he had been drafted that there were reports of his father taking payment from Auburn boosters for Cam transferring there. Cam denied having knowledge of it, and after an investigation found him innocent, he was allowed to keep the Heisman.  Nevertheless, he has been surrounded by controversy, even before he became an NFL superstar.

His Post game antics aren’t new.

Cam’s behavior during the post game press conference was not new. He has a history of being short, rude and even dismissive of reporters following a bad game or a loss.  As a former athlete, I get it. Talking to even a friend about a game where I played poorly or lost absolutely sucked. Now imagine doing that in front of 20+ people and a nationwide audience. But the bottom line is, that’s part of the job.  You can’t be a superstar if you can’t handle being a superstar.  Remember Marshawn’s famous line “I’m just here so I don’t get fined”, well the same thing applies to Cam. Part of being an NFL player is being available to the media, and if you’re going to be there, BE THERE.  Answer the questions, hell, answer them like Bill Belichick, but don’t just walk out on the people who are doing their jobs.  There’s something to be said about losing with grace, especially when you celebrate after wins like he does, but his comments, weren’t it.

His Decision not to try to recover the fumble.

By now you know what I am talking about. But if you don’t, here’s a quick breakdown: in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl, Cam is stripped sacked and the ball was bouncing around loose by Cam’s feet. Instead of trying to dive on it, Newton appears to back away from the ball, allowing Denver to recover, and all but sealing the deal in Carolina’s loss.  Two day’s after the game, Newton came out and said he didn’t dive for the ball because he didn’t want to risk injury.  Now, I can understand it is partially human nature to not want to get hurt, so I get that, but you play football, Cam. The idea of the game is to basically throw yourself as hard as you can into your opponent to knock him down.  The game is barbaric, and injuries are just along for the ride. In the biggest game of your career, you need to “risk” that injury and go after the fumble. After all, I didn’t see any of the five other guys that dove for it come up injured. Selfish move, Cam.

 

So to me, the jury is still out on Cam Newton. On the one hand, I think he is kind of a douche. On the other hand, the NFL needs him. He is a black quarterback, in a position that is predominantly white. He commands attention, and he is a damn good player.  I expected nothing less from him in the post game presser, he is an absolute sore loser, he has been his whole career.  Saying things like “I’ve been on record to say ‘I’m a sore loser,“Who likes to lose? Show me a good loser and I’m going to show you a loser.” is just not professional.  But he is young, he has plenty of time to straighten the ship, and become the face of the NFL.

Dab on ’em, Cam… but then answer their questions.

GTY 493267298 S FBN USA WA
SEATTLE, WA – OCTOBER 18:  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

 


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