Must be blind.
Color blind. Ethnicity blind. Politically blind.
Just plain blind.
You say Carolina’s Cam Newton could deal with dialing it down a notch or 50 on his, ahem, emotional displays. Interesting. Hadn’t even noticed that Cam Newton celebrated much, if at all.
Gotta say, never been an issue for me. Perhaps it has been a lifelong affinity for Auburn University (gotta love big and bad Alabama’s little bro) and passion for college football, and Newton’s much-deserved legendary status with both, but his “act” that supposedly offends so many has never bothered me. Heck, it’s never even registered.
Frankly, since he turned pro and inevitably became the face of Carolina’s NFL franchise, he has been, in my eyes, the poster boy for all that is right in sports. Talented. Productive. Talkative in a way that shows he has a brain. He’s involved with his teammates, coaches and even fans. A leader both on and off the field.
Not for nothing, but his commercials completely kick ass, too, and show a poke-fun-at-himself side that would behoove the greater part of the planet to adopt itself.
If anything, he promotes what being a “good guy” is about, that one of ’em actually can be a great player in possession of a personality, and a charitable side to boot.
If he were a lesser athlete, a performer who wasn’t so singularly successful, then, maybe, the excessive celebrating and “Superman” posing would be annoying, or at least get my attention. Maybe …
Thing is, Newton has been a revelation ever since stealing the national stage with a one-year Tour de Force at Auburn in 2010 that ranks, at worst, among the top five single-season efforts in college football history.
With more than 2,800 yards passing, 1,400 yards rushing and 50 combined touchdowns paving the way to SEC and BCS championships for his Tigers, securing the Heisman Trophy in the process, Newton cemented his place among the sport’s elite.
Standing 6-foot-6, weighing 250 pounds and possessing the speed and moves of a running back, he entered the NFL as an anomaly in 2011. Not so much that his individual skills had never been seen in a quarterback at that level, but that they all existed within such a large package.
Oh, he has contemporaries in regards to that skill set. Maybe not exactly the same size or the same speed, but close. Comparable. So, if anything, Newton’s claims of his athleticism being totally unrecognizable to followers of pro quarterback play is a bit pretentious, and throwing the race card into that same mix as making him supposedly unlikable among the masses is completely preposterous.
Put it this way, Colin Kaepernick totally debunks the former myth and Johnny Manziel the latter.
Regardless, he remains likable here because he is very good to great, and, really, isn’t he making tons of plays worthy of celebration anyway? You know, the dude is five years into his NFL career, has earned three trips to the Pro Bowl, is the likely 2015 NFL MVP, is in the midst of his third playoff run and headed to the Super Bowl in Santa Clara, Calif., next weekend.
So, maybe ease up a bit on the hate out there. Perhaps a little “Dab” will do ya just fine.
- Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org
DID YOU KNOW?
Just a few things that may have slipped by the masses with all the Cam Newton talk of late.
Carolina owner Jerry Richardson came under some heavy criticism, often being labeled a “racist,” for asking Newton to maintain his clean-cut image before the Panthers made him the No. 1 pick of the 2011 draft and then the face of their franchise. Whether you feel it was right or wrong for Richardson to go all-George Steinbrenner on Newton, the player agreed to the owner’s appearance-code wishes (no tattoos, body piercings, long hair) anyway as a condition of being taken first and has generally maintained that “look” throughout his NFL career.
Auburn, obviously, has a history of having its players move on to the NFL, but the amount of high-caliber talent it produces is about as good as it gets. How so? Well, Newton is the fourth former Tiger to be taken with the first pick in the draft, following RB Tucker Frederickson (1965), RB Bo Jackson (1986) and LB Aundray Bruce (1988). Like Newton, Jackson won the Heisman Trophy (1985) and is one of the truly legendary players in college football.
With a QB being as talented as Newton, the talk surrounding him sometimes surpasses reality. On sportstalk radio right now you’re liable to hear how Denver LB Von Miller won’t put a finger on Newton because the latter is too fast. Well, Newton runs a 4.59 in the 40, and Miller a 4.49. You do the math. Also, the never-seen-before talent in a QB chatter, uhhh, simmer down now. Steve Young ran a 4.53 in the 40, and Colin Kaepernick runs the same now.
The overwhelming talk of the NFL never having seen the likes of someone with Newton’s mix of size and skill pretty much puts a rubber stamp on how short a memory the masses have. We’re talking anywhere from 2 to 10 years, which covers the time from when Newton arrived on the NFL scene after Daunte Culpepper left it for good to when the latter was at the height of his physical powers and doing major damage. At 6-4, 255 pounds, he was every bit as intimidating as Newton is now, and, frankly, a bit faster, running a 4.52 in the 40. Statistics will show he was a far more accurate passer than Newton (63 percent to 59) and almost as effective a runner (5.2 yards per carry to 5.4). Right now, at 6-5 and a chiseled 235 pounds, Kaepernick ain’t exactly much different, either.