Cam Newton is a player that many love to watch play football. The Carolina Panthers quarterback has had what some would consider a successful career so far in the NFL. But even with that, there are some things that draw some criticism his way. And when he stormed out his press conference after the team fell to 1-5, that drew the ire of some right then and there. So it leads us to wonder who really is Cam Newton? Well, none of us truly know him, but why not find out more about who he is from someone who has known him for a pretty good amount of time? Who might that person be you might ask? None other than Hall Of Fame NFL quarterback Warren Moon.
“I met Cam for the first time at the Disney Wide World Of Sports Camp when he was a junior in high school,” says Moon. “He was bigger, faster and stronger than everyone there and he had the strongest arm there too. I had kept an eye on him and how he progressed since then. And once he declared himself eligible for the draft after his junior season, his dad called me and asked me to train him to get him ready for the NFL.” Moon would get Newton prepared and during that time, get to know Cam better. As far as his career so far, Moon thinks Cam has been great: “He has been to the Super Bowl and he has been to the playoffs multiple times. He has become a better pocket passer in an offense that benefits him and what he does well.” But along with watching what Cam has become in the league, there is also something that Moon wishes that Cam did better.
“Cam is a very emotional player,” said Moon. “He gets too high with the highs and too low the lows. And when he loses, he creates negative publicity about himself and comes off as a sore loser.” Moon is absolutely correct when speaking on Cam. It does seem that he has a bit of a front-runner mentality when he is playing the game. And that can be seen as a great thing when you are winning, but it can also backfire on you when you are losing because of how he carries himself in a loss. Moon definitely loves Newton and what all he can do on the field, but he acknowledged that Cam has to grow up in the media aspect of play. “ He has to stand up there and face the lights during adversity or losing. He is representing the organization and team, not just himself.”
Moon offered these words of encouragement for Cam in regards to him growing as a player and person: “If he is able to even out his personality and how he handles things, then he will enjoy the game more. You don’t have to take it like the world is ending. You never want to accept losing, but you are not always solely responsible for the outcome. If he can change that narrative on his personality, then he can lessen some of the criticism that he receives.” But even with those words of encouragement for Cam, Moon knows that he will not totally shut down all those that criticize him: “Some of the criticism out there is on his personality and others parts of it are because of his skin color from certain parts of society that don’t like seeing a Black man in the position of leadership. Sometimes African-American quarterbacks tend to put more pressure on themselves, knowing that they have to be better out there. Of course, it is not as bad as it used to be. But the perception of African-American quarterbacks is still out there in certain parts of society.”
When talking with Moon, you can tell that he is happy for Cam and what he has accomplished, but he just wishes that he would grow more in how he handles things from an emotional state and in the media. Many may be against Cam and what he is or isn’t doing. But Moon still is rooting for his former pupil to get it all together on and off the field. As far as the Panthers lack of success this season, he had this to say: “You have to be surrounded by good people. The offensive line is not playing as well as they did last year. If they run the ball well, they play better. They will get back to being explosive if Jonathan Stewart (running back for the Panthers) comes back. But if not, then it will all be on Cam’s shoulders.”
It should be interesting to see how Cam does going forward, navigating through the waters of a disappointing season so far. But one thing Warren is definitely hoping for is growth from Newton, as are many people who follow him and love to watch him.
Many thanks go to Warren Moon for giving of his time to The Sports Awakening.