Memo to all of the Cam Newton haters, I agree with you stating that Cam Newton is a T.H.U.G. Newton and his thuggish antics have placed him into the spotlight instead of celebrating his accomplishments on the football field, thus he is a T.H.U.G.: Talented. Hated. Underrated. Gripping.
The acronym explains Newton to a tee. The Carolina Panthers quarterback is one of the most talented players in the NFL due to his ability on the field. He is also one of the most hated, underrated and gripping. All of those words describe Newton as a football player and a person.
Cam is having his best season as a pro. He is a viable candidate for the MVP trophy this season, despite not being surrounded with top-tier talent. Newton’s numbers may not be Tom Brady-like, but Newton has accounted for over 75 percent of the Panthers’ touchdowns this season. His accomplishments are even more amazing due to the supporting cast around him. Let’s just say, Newton’s weapons can walk through Charlotte Douglas International Airport without alarming TSA.
Yet despite playing at high level, Newton is still being criticized as if he’s not one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Throughout all of the criticism, all Newton has done is smile and uplift the Carolina Panthers. Before making his first throw in the NFL, draft scout Nolan Nawrocki criticized Newton like no other draft prospect has been before. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the quotes from Nawrocki:
“Very disingenuous — has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup. Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them. Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement that continually invites trouble and makes him believe he is above the law — does not command respect from teammates and will always struggle to win a locker room … Lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness — is not punctual, seeks shortcuts and sets a bad example. Immature and has had issues with authority. Not dependable.”
Fast-forwarding five years later, Newton is still fighting off the critics. In those five years, he has resurrected a franchise that was dormant prior to his arrival, and this season the Panthers are one of two undefeated teams standing at 9-0.
But no one wants to talk about that. This past Sunday, social media erupted due to Newton’s touchdown dance against the Tennessee Titans, and it’s all anyone seems to care about.
The Titans were pissed, but the remedy to stop Newton from dancing is not to allow him to score. Newton has been dabbin’ and dancin’ through nine weeks of the season. A few weeks ago, nobody cared, but now as it appears that the Panthers are a legit Super Bowl contender, it caused an uproar. Newton was called a thug on several platforms, and Titans fan Rosemary Plorin wrote an absurd letter to Newton about what her 9-year-old daughter witnessed. I didn’t see anyone write a letter or complain about Drew Stanton dancing on the sideline against the Seattle Seahawks.
I honestly think that Stanton’s dance was harmless and hilarious, but why didn’t he get called a thug for his dance moves? Stanton trolled Pete Carroll and the Seahawks, and it was laughed and celebrated as if it was a skit on Saturday Night Live.
Calling Newton a thug is asinine. Thugs commit heinous crimes and are a detriment to society. I can say that Newton does not meet any of those standards. Sure, he had some issues in college, but none of that off-field controversy has followed him the professional ranks.
The NFL is already deemed as the No Fun League, and Newton is just having fun playing the game that he loves. The more the Panthers win, the more skeptics will continue to bash Newton, despite the fact he has been a model citizen off the field (knocks on wood) and does a lot in the community. If the worst thing that Newton does is throw an occasional interception or taunt an opponent, that does not scream thug.
The issue with this ordeal is that how an African-American millionaire gets stereotyped as a thug. Being a young African-American male, it’s quite frightening at times. If society sees Newton as a thug, what does it think about myself or people who look like me? The issue of calling a Newton a thug is bigger than football.
The word thug is used so loosely, and it’s basically a nice way of using the N word. Being a quarterback is already the toughest job in all of sports, and being an African-American quarterback is twice as difficult. Newton is finding out the hard way, and that’s perfectly fine with him. I am not a Panthers fan, but I hope they steamroll through the NFL to win the Super Bowl.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines thug as a violent criminal. My definition of T.H.U.G. is vastly different when coinciding it with Newton. No matter what Newton does, he will always be defined by the four letters T.H.U.G.
He has been one of the most Talented.Hated.Underrated.Gripping football players that’s graced the football field this season. The doubters will add fuel to the fire that will make Newton better as a person and quarterback. Eventually, people will run out of bad things to say about Newton if the Panthers keep winning.
In a perfect world, he should be celebrated for being a T.H.U.G. on the field instead of comparing him to a thug that ends up behind prison bars.
Columbus, Ohio born. Ron is a first-ballot healthy hairline hall of famer. He spent the summer of ‘08 eating calamari pasta because of OJ Da Juiceman. He also loves to write about sports while listening to Sada Baby. Follow him on Twitter @Ron_Hamp