Why is the Panthers' dynamic quarterback so polarizing?
Why does Cam Newton feel like a victim?
Why does he believe that because he’s an African-American quarterback, that he scares people?
It's an important and legitimate question because his personality and play on the field definitely move the needle.
Racism exists in this country and anyone who tries to deny it is simply ignorant. There are people and organizations that live with hatred in their hearts for different races, genders, sexual orientations and religious beliefs.
But a bigot would hate Cam Newton regardless of his position on the field or level of success, right? A bigot would hate Cam Newton if he was a cab driver or grocery store clerk or NFL quarterback.
There are certainly some out there using veiled language to mask their personal beliefs, but is that the majority of NFL fans or media members?
The response to Newton’s comments on Wednesday have been overwhelmingly positive. Column after column has praised Cam for being Cam.
Praised him for his unbelievable on-the-field accomplishments that, by the way, will almost assuredly win him the NFL MVP. Praised him for his work in the community and with the children of Charlotte. Praised him for being “unapologetic and larger than life.”
Those columns are all correct. Newton hasn't done anything wrong, cheated in anyway or juked the NFL system to gain an advantage.
Don’t sell me on Twitter Bros, either. You know the type, the keyboard cowboys who sit in their mom’s basement and spew digital garbage.
Twitter Bros send death threats to 19-year-old kickers who miss game-winning field goals. Twitter Bros wish torn ACLs on high school athletes who don’t commit to their favorite school. Twitter Bros send sexual assault threats to Curt Schilling’s daughter.
Bigots' and Twitter Bros' opinions aren't representative of the greater population and exist largely on the fringe of common sense — and of most communities.
A certain amount of “twitter hate” simply comes with the territory of being a public figure. It’s an inherent evil for successful athletes of all races, teams, sports and positions.
So other than one really lame Nashville mother who didn’t like Newton’s hip gyrations and proceeded to write a misguided letter to The Charlotte Observer, I can’t really find these so-called "detractors," "haters" or "critics" who are scared of Cam Newton.
The only people who should be scared of Cam Newton are defensive coordinators.
Most of us love watching Cam Newton because he is awesome. Just like we love watching Odell Beckham Jr. and J.J. Watt — and all of the antics and flare that come along with watching them do what they do on a football field.
But you know who does get actual “hate” for being unapologetic? Or brash? Or larger than life?
Tom Brady. Johnny Manziel. Dez Bryant. Jay Cutler. Greg Hardy. Tony Romo. Jameis Winston. The list goes on and on.
Brady might be the most hated man in the NFL. The media, fans, other NFL franchises and even the NFL itself are Brady “haters,” attacking his character and professional integrity at every possible turn. The NFL spent millions of dollars and eight months over a rule that most people view as ridiculous.
Bryant was flat out insulted by a Dallas-based columnist and it resulted in a locker room blowup. Cutler is criticized, second-guessed and laughed at every time he throws an interception. By everyone. Romo couldn’t go on a vacation without the media questioning his commitment to his team.
And Manziel? Hardy? Winston? There isn’t enough time in the day to discuss these guys.
Even Newton’s opponent in the NFC title game, Carson Palmer, was destroyed by the media and fans for his departure from Cincinnati.
These criticisms are valid and deserved. There in lies the rub.
Has the NFL tried to investigate or suspend Newton for anything? Have columnists attacked his personal character or doubted his commitment to the game or his team? Has anyone accused him of off-the-field issues or questioned his professional integrity? Is there some sort of on-going public witch hunt targeting him?
Do a quick Google search. Mostly, you'll find a lot of positivity.
Even the NCAA — the slowest moving, most opaque and inconsistent organization in the history of sports — reinstated Newton in ONE DAY during his 2010 run to a BCS national championship and Heisman Trophy. The NCAA can't do anything in one day.
Clearly, Heisman voters, like NFL MVP voters, have no issue with Cam Newton.
The reality is that most everyone actually enjoys Cam Newton and actually enjoys the breathtaking display he’s given us every step of his career (except maybe Alabama or Florida fans).
Do I think he and Auburn got away with something in 2010? Sure (it might have been the best investment in the history of sports). Do I think you should dance for 10 seconds after a three-yard gain on your own 30-yard line? No (I prefer touchdowns and turnovers). But none of that impacts the joy I get from watching him play the game at an elite level. If the worst thing that's ever said about him is "I don't like his TD dance," then I think he's doing just fine.
Newton says he’s criticized because he’s incomparable. Since I can’t find any legitimate examples of this so-called criticism, I’d say it’s quite the opposite.
He’s interesting, appreciated and must-see entertainment because he’s incomparable. Not hated.