And he this, the expectations the league has of him, the way they sometimes run counter to who he is as a person and as a man.
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“He told us a lot of things.” He managed about 150 terse, angry seconds, eyes cast nowhere in particular, before standing up, walking off, going home to sob. Whether a mean tweet, a mean [person] saying, ‘Hey, you’re supposed to do it like this’—if my son ain’t saying it, then it don’t matter to me.”The Super Bowl still follows him around daily, like a ghost. Using it to grow, even.“What do you want me to do, write another letter back to her? With my father being a preacher, you don’t think I’ve had this discussion before? Playoffs three seasons in a row, Super Bowl last year. Is this even a controversial opinion, to think that Cam lives in a world of coded and not-so-coded critiques that basically boil down to resentment about the existence of such a sublime black quarterback? We’d met maybe 25 minutes prior—one of those situations where we’re both trying to talk about a lot of things in a relatively short amount of time.
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“Newton, 26, an ebullient, intelligent, gifted quarterback,” wrote “I had so much emotion,” he says now, trying to explain. You know, what a person says to me, says about me—if it’s not coming out of Chosen’s mouth.… And meanwhile ostensible sports fans found new things to get upset about. But faced with a national-magazine writer and a switched-on tape recorder, you too might say something other than what you really thought, if that thought seemed like a dangerous, potentially uncontrollable thing to share with a stranger.
“I feel if I can control myself not to eat meat, I can control myself not to litter.
You wouldn’t know he regularly gets hit at car-crash speeds by rough human equivalents of compact cars. Entering his sixth remarkable season in the league and he looks…fresh. “What other sport do you know brings people around, or that brings the unity from family, friends, loved ones, like a Super Bowl does? It was like watching something implacable make its way down the field—the improbable grace amid chaos, the sheer power of his talent. Part of discipline is knowing when to change things up. We all have things that we would not want others to know. We don’t need to recount all these things that he would prefer other people not to know, right? For a decade now—ever since he left the University of Florida under controversial circumstances, and Auburn, where he wound up, also under controversial circumstances—Cam’s been apologizing for the teenager he was. And I just want to be the voice of that.” He’s a better man at 27 than he was at 18, even as he regularly endures condescension far worse than what he got as a kid. NFL Network’s Mike Mayock: “It’s just this gut feeling that I have that I don’t know how great he wants to be.” And: “Something tells me he’ll be content to be a multimillionaire who’s pretty good.” He came into the league under the shadow of real prejudice. But Richardson’s account survives on You Tube; look it up, if you want to break something.)As a rookie, Cam wears No.
Plenty of players wear that kind of punishment on their faces after a while. Only the hands give him away, the fact that he plays a borderline blood sport for money and our entertainment. More than 300 yards passing, 100 yards rushing, five passing touchdowns in a single game, the first player in NFL history to do that. It’s this quality, paradoxically, that has led to some of the most savage and consistent criticism of Cam Newton. The salesman at the cigar store, Ben, a friendly guy with a bushy beard and a green tie, just lights up like someone shot off a bottle rocket in front of him. He told the football writer Peter King he wanted to be considered an “entertainer and icon” in addition to a football player, and America reacted like that isn’t exactly what we want our quarterbacks to be. “I just sound reasonable to me,” a then 75-year-old Richardson said. 1 because his teammate and future backup, Jimmy Clausen, already has Cam’s old number, No. He sulks after losses; his own coach, Ron Rivera, calls him “Mr.
They’re like weird stone formations you might encounter out in a desert. Seventeen wins in 19 games last season and he could care less. He orders a green tea and a Shirley Temple, extra syrup. If you control your choice of words, you can, you know, kind of go down from there.” He’s obsessed with testing himself. Dear my Father Lord, I thank you for waking us up this morning, starting us on our way, putting food on our table, clothes on our body, shoes on our feet. Let it be the nourishment of our body in Christ’s name. The waiters can’t get enough of him; they explain the menu so many times I think I might dream about it.
Gotta go to the dry cleaner.” Gotta get in some quality time with his infant son, Chosen. He holds the to-do list in his giant hands, and once you notice his hands they’re all you can see. “Every team that I’ve ever been on past high school, they won a national championship.” Heisman Trophy winner. And still nothing gets at the pure narcotic sports rush that happens when Cam Newton takes the field. A homicidal competitor, like his idol and North Carolina neighbor Michael Jordan. If you can control yourself not to litter, then you can control your choice of words.
A battering ram that handles like a BMW.“The optimism of football brings people together closer than any other sport,” he says, and that’s what Cam wants to do. Especially after things like that press conference, which confirmed to doubters every bad thing that’s ever been said about him. Pro scout Nolan Nawrocki, 2011: Very disingenuous—has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup. When he and his girlfriend, Kia Proctor, had Chosen, they decided not to tell anyone at first. We acted like he’d said he wanted to join Mobb Deep and play QB in his spare time. (Cam denies this part of the conversation between him and Richardson ever took place—“He never said that,” Cam says. Mopeyhead.” A legit charge, maybe: The Panthers were losing constantly then. But that wasn’t the reason they were losing, Cam says now. “You had certain guys that didn’t know how to win that would make bonehead mistakes.” But people wanted to blame the towel, or whatever Cam had on that day.
His goal is to win football games and inspire joy, in that order. “I’m not trying to sound like Charlie Sheen, but it is. The opposing quarterback, Peyton Manning, minutes away from retirement, his right arm as light and wavy as a car-wash balloon. But it just plays back in my mind, knowing that it was plays to be had.” He hates to lose. He’s a born performer—all you have to do is watch him on the field, or moving powerfully through an Atlanta shopping mall, to know that. Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them. Here he does the gesture, his two giant hands parting an imaginary business suit to reveal the logo underneath. A few days after his son was born, but before anyone knew, Cam celebrated a touchdown against Atlanta by gently rocking an imaginary baby on the field. and bragged about telling Newton that he couldn’t get any tattoos or piercings as a condition of being drafted by the team. “If you’re losing, it’s like, Then the Panthers started winning—a lot—and all of a sudden maybe leadership wasn’t actually Cam Newton’s problem.
In April, after the Super Bowl, Cam gave an interview to and got to talking about the hoodie he’d worn during his Super Bowl press conference. No matter what anything, from religion to politically to, you know, sex preferences—”That part is true! He believes people have different talents in this world, see? “When you look at comic books, and when you look at different superheroes, they all possess something different.