Which one of the following is a crime?
A. Doing the Dab
D. Giving away footballs to children
E. None of the above.
So, why is this question being asked? Simple. It’s because of one NFL quarterback: Cam Newton.
The Carolina Panthers signal caller is perhaps becoming the heir apparent of ‘most polarizing QB’ in the league. His carefree, fun-loving, goofy demeanor has sports analysts and spectators (specifically middle-aged mothers) losing their minds. He gets labeled all types of names such as “goon”, “thug” and, my favorite, “unprofessional”. The recent criticism of Cam Newton is unwarranted and unnecessary to put it in polite terms.
The former No. 1 overall pick from Auburn University has had a career-year which will result in him earning the MVP honors and possibly a Championship ring. That means a lot to not only Panthers fans but to the whole idea of the ‘Black Quarterback’ (more on this later). The guy has his team contending even though many counted them out in the beginning of the season due to the injury of his top wide out Kelvin Benjamin.
I can’t lie, I was one of those people who thought at best they would win the mediocre NFC South and nothing more. However, Cam elevated that offense which features an injury-prone running back and wide receivers who would be 3rd/4th options on most teams. Carolina finished the regular season with the best record and have been hot ever since.
Even through the tough times, Cam always finds a way to smile, enjoy his time playing and give footballs to kids after every touchdown he scores like he’s black Santa. Whether it is on the field or off, Cam does good things.
Which is why I don’t get the outrage. Since turning pro, he has not been accused of using banned substances, he’s never involved in legal trouble, no scandals appear on his resume and he isn’t typically a dirty player. He dances and celebrates after every touchdown or key play; that’s it!
People simply shouldn’t make this a big deal. Multiple players have done it before and I don’t think I remember the outrage being overstated like this. What are parents mad at his dances for? 99.9 percent of children love this guy and his goofy demeanor, and he loves entertaining the children too.
Why are analysts creating empty think pieces on Cam and professionalism? Like I said, he has never done anything seriously wrong to tarnish his brand or the team. He conducts himself accordingly when need be and has matured immensely. If their reasoning of this is because of him dabbing and celebrating then they must learn two things. 1. Everyone can act in his or her own way, and 2. It is just sports and it is not that serious.
In a league which shows that African American QB’s are mostly marginalized and don’t reach a certain level of success, it is refreshing to see guys like Newton, Russell Wilson, Jameis Winston, Tyrod Taylor and Teddy Bridgewater find their place in the league. Newton, who is as dominant as ever, should be celebrated and praised for his recent success in addition to being a role model and idol to younger kids. Nit-picking his personality traits or sending long-winded letters to newspapers calling out his celebratory mood is tiring and quite annoying.
The Panthers show up, score touchdowns and leave. Nobody is stopping Cam at the end zone therefore he can express his confidence in the manner he wants; it’s football, not a corporation.
A lot things factor into people bringing out their pitchforks and torches over Newton. Some may have an issue with his race, some might just be older and want other people to do things their way in the form of professionalism and some see it as taunting, which refers to what I said about stopping him in the end zone.
Strange hypocrisy is also at play. Brett Favre was similar to Newton in demeanor and people loved him for it. Others criticize RGIII and Jay Cutler for looking miserable, urging them to have fun. Yet they urge Cam to keep it down. The saga and meltdowns are completely unjust.
So please, put the pens and papers down, stop the long-winded social-media posts, stop crying about “how do I explain this to my kids” whenever Panthers players start dabbing and start appreciating what Cam Newton means to the league today. He isn’t going away anytime soon. With other young competitors in his position like Wilson, Winston, Andrew Luck, Derek Carr, Blake Bortles and Marcus Mariota all vying for Aaron Rodgers’ throne of best QB in the league as well as looking to lead Super Bowl teams, the last thing Cam needs is silly criticism.
Actually, maybe he could use it. In order to be the best you’ve got to be motivated, right?
Disclaimer: The opinions of this author do not reflect those of The Whit.