Maybe it’s the way he dabs. Perhaps it’s the way he dresses. Whatever it is, there’s something about Cam Newton that people love, or hate—or love to hate.
“I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to,” Newton theorized to the Charlotte Observer.
The former NFL Rookie of the Year and likely 2015 MVP plays in his first Super Bowl a week from Sunday. He led Carolina, a 7-8-1 team last season, to a 15-1 regular-season record this year. Yet, Newton’s end zone dances and Clark Kent-shirt-ripping gestures continue to animate discussion.
Earlier this season, a mom sent a scolding letter to Newton after a 27-10 Panthers victory over her Tennessee Titans. “Because of where we sat, we had a close up view of your conduct in the fourth quarter,” she explained. “The chest puffs. The pelvic thrusts. The arrogant struts and the ‘in your face’ taunting of both the Titans’ players and fans. We saw it all.”
Cam Newton is anathema to the No Fun League. Fans on the winning side generally experience Newton as more childlike than childish, a player enjoying the moment rather than getting weighed down by it.
Newton offers a similarly light take on his many critics.
“Whether you win, lose or draw,” Newton reflects, “people are going to talk.”