Write any piece about scandal in college football these days, and you'll inevitably hear from somebody who gets offended and then relates the situation to Cam Newton.
Some will even ask you to write about "Scam Newton" (or better yet,
$cam Newton) instead of the topic you covered. Or maybe you've seen the
graphic of the "Camburglar," which depicts the Heisman winning QB as the
famous McDonald's Hamburglar character, except he's heisting a lap top
instead of hamburgers.
At BCS Championship game media
day, a reporter brought up how Auburn was not greeted very warmly at
the airport; AU Coach Gene Chizik blatantly dodged the question by
bringing up the Tigers' die-hards that were on hand.
And it's true- Auburn has plenty of fans; but man oh man, do they have their detractors too.
Newton mentioned one such school that hates him on Thursday:
"everybody in TCU is going to just hate me. But, you know,
watching them play this whole season has been something that
motivates any college football team."
And you know Alabama fans despise him as well.
I've personally experienced Auburn hate, even though I'm an Illini
fan, and possess no strong opinion of Auburn either way. I wore my
non-affiliated and non-insigniated blue and orange scarf to Columbus at
the end of November.
The next day, when I was walking over to Ohio Stadium to cover the Buckeyes vs. the Michigan Wolverines,
a drunken buffoon on the street yelled "AUBURN FAGGOT" at me. The blue
and orange is really more Illinois Fighting Illini and Chicago Bears
colors than anything, but to keep this confusion from happening in the
future, I had the domain name pressed on the scarf. (My business colors
are blue and orange too!)
Clearly, some Ohio State fans have an inferiority complex; because the Tigers are in the BCS and they are not.
Newton hatred is so strong partially because most collegiate gridiron experts thought he would be ruled ineligible,
yet here is he playing for the big prize. Vitriol against Newton runs
so deep that his father refused to attend his son's Heisman ceremony. Read his statement here to see why.
And Newton the Younger knows his past troubles haven't helped him influence people and win friends.
"I was very immature during my early career playing college
football. I will be the first person to say I wasn't ready to play
football at the time. And I was too naive to even think that way,
but now I'm looking back at it. I wasn't ready to play football
during the time I was at Florida," he said.
He's also aware that he must act according to a higher standard than
your average everyday person because of his larger than life status.
"I have embraced this whole role because it is something that
everybody signed up to be. But a lot of signed up people aren't
really committed to living the lifestyle, a very private lifestyle.
Is it fair? No, it is not fair. You go from being a regular guy
to being a role model for so many people, people you may never meet
but they know everything about you,' he said a couple days ago.
The star on the other sideline Monday night, LaMichael James, knows Newton decently well and had a lot to say about him.
"You can't always believe what you read in the paper. People are
going to write whatever they want to write that's negative mostly.
I have to say, nobody wants to write the good stuff about a
person. Nobody wants to read that. Everybody wants to write the
negative things," James said.
"I came away knowing Cam is a great player obviously, but he is an even better person."
Chizik also gave a glowing endorsement of Newton's character:
"Let me tell you what, he is a baby at heart now. He has got the
heart of a child. I mean, that's the way he is. Just watch him
with children. You can walk in through a crowd of 200 people and the
first person he will go up to is the young boy or young girl 100
percent of the time. It is the way he is with my son," Chizik said.
Finally, Newton gave a self-reflective soundbite to the media this week:
"I learned a lot about this crazy year. That's an
understatement. For me I think this has been a long, interesting
year. Embraced this whole process because I learned so much about
myself, about my team, about Auburn."
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank
He also does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com
Filed under: College Football
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