The sports media cannot get enough of Cam Newton. The man can’t do anything without making it onto the nightly sports broadcast. I wish I could blame the networks or the journalist. Unfortunately I can’t because they are giving the people what they want. We may say that we are tired of hearing about Cam. However the comment section for Newton related articles on Bleacher Report tell a different story. Maybe we are tired of hearing about Cam, but we are sure as hell not tired of talking about him.
I personally love reading the comment section because it reminds me that I am not crazy. If you want to hear from the craziest people in the country, read comments that sports fan make. Maybe I should write a blog that only contains comments from crazy sports fans.
Sports fans say some of the craziest and stupidest things. I would attribute some of that to the fact that there is often an alcohol factor that is connected to most sport watching events. I love watching football and rooting for my Atlanta Falcons, but I don’t share the insane crazy love that many fans do. I am disappointed when my team loses, but I don’t lose it as a result. That is why I love reading the comments that sports fans make. The comments are usually not thought out, full of useless information, and show a blind religious devotion to young men playing a game.
I am not entirely sure what our fascination is with athletes. I understand why we cheer for competition. I understand why we marvel at their ability to do something that few can do. I understand why we find them entertaining. I understand that they are competitive and they hate to lose. I don’t understand why that makes their actions justifiable.
I am good at my job. It just so happens that I work for manufacturing company. I work very hard trying to be the best in my company or even the best in my field. When I am not successful or I encounter failure it bothers me. I have been railroaded by Corporate Executives who don’t want to lose their top spot. I have been criticized for my mistakes. There are people who are not interested in seeing me succeed. I am not cut from the corporate cloth and I don’t walk in the same social circles. However the quality of my work forces them to accept me. The point here being that Newton is just like you and me.
This isn’t a ploy to minimize the uniqueness or specialness of Newton or anyone else. We are all like snowflakes right? I hope that it gives you a little perspective and maybe helps us pull athletes and other famous people off the pedestal we put them on. We turn them into idols and we worship their accomplishments. It is ridiculous to me that most football fans can tell you who holds the record for most passing yards in a season yet have no idea the name of man who cured polio. Don’t feel bad if you don’t know who cured Polio, I am just painting of how we treat athletes differently. Since we treat them differently I believe that is encourages them to act differently.
Let’s bring this back to Cam Newton. There is no denying that he is talented. Let’s just say it, he is an elite quarterback. There have been very few like him in history. He is fast, he is big, and he can throw. There is nothing wrong with his celebrations on the field, which is part of the game. Don’t even get me started on the hypocrisy of fans and their complaints about other teams. I love it when Seahawk fans criticize other teams on field antics. This is a fan base that cheered Lynch diving into the end zone while grabbing his junk. Not even sure why that is a celebration. Maybe if Newton did the “discount double-check” I would care as much. His celebration are not an issue. It’s just something fans like to pile on to any player they don’t like.
The issue with Cam is not his play on the field or his celebrations. It is his decisions on what he chooses to say and do when he is not on the field that I take issue with. I don’t know when this country decided that speaking your mind with reckless abandonment is a good thing. Sure Cam has the freedom to say whatever he wants, it is his right as resident of this country. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Let’s look at the quote that he made just a few short weeks ago. “I am an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing they can compare me to.”
Forget the fact that the sentence itself doesn’t sound grammatically correct. Cam Newton attended Auburn, he went to college. Pretty sure my eight year old would be marked down on a test if used similar verbiage. The statement itself is ridiculous and incorrect. Sure there is no one who is exactly like Newton. You could make that statement about anyone. There is no one like Peyton Manning. There is no one like Tom Brady. There is no one like Drew Brees. You could make an argument for the uniqueness of any player in the NFL.
The fact of the matter Mr. Newton, is that there have been several players that were and are like you. You know deserved to make that statement? Randall Cunningham! Newton’s stats are better than Cunningham’s. Newton might be more talented than Cunningham. However, Cunningham was the first African-American quarterback that had a skill set like Cam Newton. He was a faster quarterback than the league was used to. He could also throw hard and accurate. He was scary because there was really no one to compare him to. Several years later Michael Vick burst onto the scene. At that time there was really no one like him. He couldn’t throw like Randall, but he could run like the wind. Over the last several years we have seen many quarterbacks who were like Newton, just not as good. JaMarcus Russell and Vince Young were supposed to be mobile game changing quarterbacks. Let’s not forget a young man named Russell Wilson who has been to consecutive Super Bowls, multiple NFC championship games, and has been the leader of the most feared team in the NFL for almost 5 seasons.
The fact of the matter is that Newton’s statement is inaccurate. There have been players like him. The emphasis on being African-American adds a racial element that doesn’t need to be there. It doesn’t serve a purpose for that moment. It just adds another element to the discussion that divides people and gets us looking at the wrong things. I am not going to pretend I know what Newton was thinking when he made the statement. There might be a perfectly logical reason in his mind why he said it. That doesn’t mean it was good idea.
Let’s look at the post-game interview. No one is going to fault Newton for being upset. We have all been upset before. We have all be justifiably upset before. Newton just lost the biggest game of his career and he played horribly. That is a tough position to be in. I empathize with the feeling of failure. I am sure that we all do. There are many that will say that we don’t understand because we are not playing for a championship, the only reason you play the game. That is just stupid, because failure affects all of us. Billions of people around the world put their heart in soul in what they do every day. Parents pour themselves into their children only to see them lost to gangs, drugs, or a number of different tragedies. Lawyers pour themselves into their cases, only to lose with a person life in the balance. Doctors lose patients, scientist spend their lives working on solutions to problems that they never solve. Teachers spend their lives educating only to watch students struggle. Athletes are not the only one who pour their life into their craft and experience disappointment.
Cam isn’t the first player to lose a Super Bowl. Every year there is an entire team of players who leave losers. I only mention this because so many people justify his walking out based on his disappointment. The other ridiculous reasoning is that he overheard Bronco’s celebrating. Both of those are probably true statements. However, neither of them justify Newton’s response.
He pouted. He sat in front of millions of people and he pouted. This is an action that we spend years teaching our children to avoid. I have an eight year old son and I feel like I spend most of my time trying to teach him how to have a good attitude when things are not going well. I am doing everything I can to teach him that pouting is not how you handle problems. Pouting is something young children do when they don’t get their way. It’s immature and for a 26 year old man it is downright ridiculous. He could have told the media that he was just too overwhelmed and he needed a break. He could have toughed it out repeating the same old lines past losers had used. He could have handled it in a number of different ways and he chose to pout and storm off.
Newton has a history of being a sore loser. There is a huge difference between being upset with a loss and being a sore loser. There is a huge difference between crying because you left it all out on the field in a loss and pouting like a toddler. Someone needs to let his man know that there is honor in humility. Yet time and time again we are reminded that Cam Newton doesn’t have a ton of it.
The lack of humility is the part that I have the most difficulty with. When given a chance to explain his actions, he doesn’t regret them. We have this misguided belief that regret is a weakness. I hear people all the time say they don’t regret anything because their life experiences made them who they are. What a crock, that is just a way for us to not feel about the bad choices we made. We should be happy that we have learned from our mistakes and we don’t make them again. However, I would have much rather not made mistakes and had made good choices to begin with. I shouldn’t have to make bad choices in order to become a better person. Let’s not get off topic.
If you listen to Newton’s interviews they are constructed with the same old statements that reveal a level of narcissism and cowardliness. “I only care about what my teammates and loved ones think.” It sounds like a nice statement, but it’s a cop out. It’s a way for him to protect himself and justify what he does and says. If there are a lot of people criticizing you for the same things, maybe it would be prudent to look into it. Where there is smoke, there is fire. Does that mean all fans are right? Not just no, but hell no. You should find strength and support in your loved ones, but not hide behind them.
“This is who I am and I am not going to live my life for someone else.” Again, another profound statement that people make. Again, it is a cowardly illusion. It is a way to avoid saying I am sorry or I could have handled things a little better.
At the end of the day Cam Newton brings a lot of criticism on himself. As long as he does, he is going to get destroyed in the public eye. There are a lot of Newton supporters out there who will talk about the work he does with kids and his charities. Those are great things. However, they don’t make him a good person. They don’t justify poor actions and bad attitudes. I am not sure when we decided that if you do good things it balances or erases bad things. There will also be many who argue that Manning is just as bad as or worse than Newton. There is probably a ton of evidence to support that. Again, that is a cowardly argument because the actions of someone else are not cause for justification of my actions.
As a football fan I believe I will always be rooting against Cam Newton on Sunday’s because I don’t want his actions to be justified in a Super Bowl victory. However, I am not oblivious to the fact that Cam’s attitude might also play a huge part in why he is successful. As a fan I just don’t need to know what is going on in his unfiltered mind. Going forward he needs to realize that he has the freedom to say whatever he wants, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.