**I should start off by saying that I am a Cam Newton fan. I always have been and he would have to do something pretty drastic for me to dislike him. Will this post be biased? Probably. However, I feel like the reasons people give me for hating him are a bit silly**
Why is Cam Newton one of the most hated players in the NFL? I can not for the life of me figure it out. I mean, sure he’s arrogant and dances around for a solid 2 minutes in the end zone every single time he scores…but is he really THAT bad? I know he has had some less than stellar moments in his past, but who hasn’t? I challenge you to find me a professional athlete (or anyone for that matter) that is perfect in every way….don’t worry, I’ll wait. There are many “reasons” that people give me for disliking Cam, I think we should chat about those below.
He’s a Hometown Kid That Left His Hometown
Yes, Cam Newton is a hometown kid (well, hometown for those of us that reside in Georgia; more specifically, Atlanta). He played his high school ball here in south Atlanta for the football powerhouse that is Westlake High School (Weylake Weylake Weylake). As a junior he passed for 2,500 yards and 23 touchdowns and ran for 638 yards and 9 touchdowns. By his senior season he was rated a 5-star prospect by Rivals and received scholarship offers from a number of schools including: Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss, Va Tech and countless others. Cam, to the dismay of many, chose to take his talents to Gainesville and play for the University of Florida under head coach Urban Meyer. *Cue the angry Georgia fans* As an Auburn fan (where he eventually ended up winning a national title) I was beyond pleased with his decision to leave his hometown. I just can not imagine him barking at people, can you? I’m not sure why people are so upset with young kids choosing to leave their hometowns to play college ball; maybe he didn’t want to go to Georgia (GASP), did you ever think of that?! Regardless, Cam Newton is not the first athlete to leave his hometown to play college ball (and he won’t be the last)…but apparently for those using that as their excuse to hate him; he is the only one they seem to remember.
Cam Newton Is a Criminal
First of all, I think the term criminal is a bit of an over-exaggeration. Cam made a mistake. Are you telling me that he is the only person that has ever made a mistake? Please. We have all heard the story about him stealing a laptop from another student while attending the University of Florida. We have also heard about his ill-advised attempt to hide it from the police by throwing said laptop out of his dorm window. I get it, not his finest moment; but it could have been much worse. He completed a pre-trial diversion program and all of the charges were then dropped. Should he have stolen a laptop? Absolutely not. Was throwing the laptop out of his window smart? Well, NO. But Cam Newton is not the first college student to show a lapse in judgement. Sit back and think about all of the things you and your friends did in college…were they all smart…er legal? Probably not. I am not saying it was right. And I’m not saying that it should be swept under the rug, but I do believe that he should be given a second chance like every other person that does something stupid when they are young. Why are we still holding this over his head? After all, he didn’t accrue countless DUI’s while in school (or even after he was out of school) and there aren’t any sexual assault allegations looming over his head. Cam chose to leave the University of Florida after the incident and had to work his way back to the big stage. He won a Junior College National Championship with Blinn College before returning to Division 1 football. So to those of you that just CAN’T seem to let go of the laptop scandal, I challenge you to go look in the mirror and beat yourself up about things you did when you were 18 years old….how does it feel? Crappy? Then you should probably let it go and give the man a break.
“Scam Newton” & The Pay-to-Play Scandal…
This is one I find extremely interesting. I have said this before and I am going to say it again: the majority of college athletes get paid (in some form or fashion) to play football…or basketball…or really almost any sport. Even non-revenue sport (such as track) athletes reap the benefits of playing at the collegiate level. For those of you unfamiliar with the pay-to-play scandal, I will fill you in. It was alleged that Cecil Newton Sr. (Cam’s father) had solicited money in return for Cam’s commitment to play for a specific program. Mississippi State boosters claimed that Cam’s dad said that it would take “more than a scholarship” for his son to play football for the university. The boosters claimed that Cecil said it would take “anywhere from 100,000 – 180,000” to secure Cam’s presence on their football team. Wait for it…wait for it…Cam ended up playing for Auburn University, not Mississippi State. This lead the NCAA to investigate his eligibility as there was reason to believe that Auburn may have also illegally recruited Newton. To make a long story short, Cam was declared ineligible by the NCAA and Auburn filed an immediate appeal on the grounds that they felt they acted lawfully and within the guidelines of the NCAA recruiting by-laws. The NCAA immediately sided with Auburn as they felt there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the claims brought against the university. It was later revealed that Newton knew nothing about his father soliciting money for his services during the recruitment process. Do I think that Cam knew about the money…probably. Do I think that he is the first player (or player’s parent) that has done the same thing? Hahahahahaha, NO. Bottom line, he ended up at Auburn, not Mississippi State. There is no evidence that Auburn paid him…so you should probably drop that “Scam Newton” nonsense, it’s getting a little old.
“But He’s Such a Showboat and He’s a Sore Loser”
Showboat? Why yes, yes he is. But so are most 20 something year olds that have an immense amount of talent; never mind the fact that he makes millions of dollars and won 17 games this year. I keep hearing things like “he is what’s wrong with the NFL” and “he is such a terrible role model because he is arrogant and a sore loser.” Sure, half of that last statement may be true, but is that a legitimate reason to say that he is what is wrong with the NFL? I hardly think so. There are plenty of players in the league (many of them play on the very team that you cheer for) that have real moral deficits (IMO). I think lumping him in the same category as some of the other “troubled” players (as you call them) is unfair and simply misguided. Could he be a better sport about losing? Absolutely, but he is 26 years old, cut him some slack. He is not the first player to walk out of a press conference or “pout” after a loss. Losing is not easy; any athlete, at ANY level will tell you that. He will learn from this just like anyone else would. Maybe we should stop watching his every move waiting for him to make a mistake. That is an awful lot of pressure and a bit unfair, no? Now onto the reason that I find most ridiculous….his end zone celebrations?!?! I mean is this a real reason for someone to be HATED? I get if it’s not your cup of tea; but HATED, that seems a bit excessive. Who cares if he dances in the end zone after scoring a touchdown; at least he gives the ball to a kid in the stands. Come on, how bad of a person could he be? If you don’t want him to dance, then don’t let him score. Are you upset that he is dancing against your team’s subpar defense (my team included – Go Falcons!)? If Cam was on your team would you have a problem with the way he celebrates? I didn’t think so. It seems that folks are very quick to criticize someone who is winning, especially when their team is not. I mean I get it. I wish Matt Ryan was the one dabbing in the end zone (I know that would never happen but you understand my sentiment), but unfortunately we aren’t winning the way that Cam is and that’s OKAY, It doesn’t make me hate him. I am a huge Cam fan, he won me a championship when he was at Auburn and is one of the most exciting players I have ever seen play. I admittedly am not a huge fan of excessive celebrations but it certainly does not change how I feel about him as a player. If I become annoyed, I just won’t watch. I’ll go re-up on my wings and Coke Zero, and by the time I get back, he’ll be on his last lap around the stadium! Crisis Averted!!
**Basically all I’m trying to say is that the reasons people have for legitimately hating Cam seem silly to me. I completely understand if he’s not your cup of tea, but must we criticize his every move? Yes, he has made some mistakes along the way, but haven’t we all? I make mistakes all the time, just ask my coworkers (they are saints). And maybe he’s not the best at handling a loss, but is that really a reason to crucify him? It all just seems a bit harsh; the punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crime if you know what I mean. Watching him play is exciting, no one can say that he is not insanely talented…that just simply would not be true. There’s a reason he is the league’s MVP this year; he deserves it. Let’s admire his talent and cool it with the hate. He isn’t perfect, but neither are Peyton, Brady, Peterson, and a slew of others. At the end of the day he is a 26 year old that is celebrating his success in the NFL. I would much rather him dab, give footballs to kids, and be a sore loser, than get arrested for countless DUIs…or worse. Keep dabbing Cam, not all of us hate you!**
And as always…Go Falcons!