Reporters were armed and ready when Cam Newton stepped to the podium for a press conference at the NFL combine today. After all, earlier this week, Cam Newton made the egregious error of saying that he sees himself “not only as a football player, but also an icon and an entertainer.”(How dare he!)
But rather than face the ridiculous line of questioning head-on, Newton read from a prepared statement.
Sound the alarms again! Newton, ESPN Radio’s Chuck Wilson said, lacks the sincerity or confidence to speak from the heart. (Never before has someone gone from cocky to lacking confidence so quickly, by the way.)
When Newton finished his statement, the questions weren’t about his workout or his conversations with teams. Instead, everyone wanted to know about his controversy at Auburn (he said he learned a lot and that the incident brought him closer to his father), his criminal activity at the University of Florida (that’s in the past, he wants to look forward), and whether he thinks he’s bigger than the game (the NFL doesn’t do favours for anybody, and will be fine without Cam Newton, he said).
There was also ESPN’s exclusive report that some team flustered Cam Newton by asking about a playcalling decision he made in the BCS title game. It’s being treated as though no 21-year-old has ever stuttered under NFL teams’ extensive line of questioning leading up to the draft.
On top of all that, reports surfaced today from – where else? – Alabama, that there’s new evidence that Cam Newton was complicit in the tired, worn-out, pay-for-play story. Specifically, radio personality Scott Moore said he heard tapes that prove Newton was aware of his fathers intentions and acted in unison with him.
Obviously, all of this drummed up controversy comes with the territory of being the best-known entrant in this year’s NFL Draft. That said, it’s gotten way out of hand. The more we dissect every single syllable Newton utters, the more likely we are to find something we don’t like in it. So why bother?
The answer, of course, is that he’s already earned himself a reputation for controversy. But his college miscues have been covered from every angle, over and over again. It feels like the distant past. And technically it is, now that Newton’s declared for the draft. At this point, let’s just all agree to move on – unless you really want to pretend to care when Auburn’s 2010 national title is stripped some time in 2013.
By then, Newton will be an NFL star and won’t care. Neither should you.
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