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April 13, 2012

Charlotte should embrace Cam Newton, stop worrying about his future

Following the announcement of his charitable intentions Thursday night at a private event in Charlotte, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton addressed two topics that have caused consternation among much of the populace of his new city:

The supposed “Madden curse” (he's not worried about it) and Newton's view on whether Charlotte is metropolitan enough to keep a sports superstar engaged.

Newton, last year's No. 1 draft pick who was the NFL's Rookie of the Year, is the city's first mega-star in a team sport since the Hornets' early days when Larry “Grandmama” Johnson and Alonzo Mourning were filling up the Charlotte Coliseum.

Under the terms of the new CBA that Panthers owner Jerry Richardson helped negotiate, Newton has three years remaining on his rookie contract worth a guaranteed $22 million. Plus, the Panthers hold a club option for 2015 when Newton would make about $14 million, according to estimates by the NFLPA.

But turn on sports radio in Charlotte this week and you hear callers and hosts debating whether Newton, an Atlanta native who has endorsement deals with Under Armour, Gatorade and GMC, will stick around or bolt for the bright lights of New York or L.A. when his rookie deal expires.

Speaking to reporters after his charity event, Newton said he likes the fact that he has a chance to put his stamp on a Charlotte sports scene that is less established than other major-league markets.

I describe Charlotte as a very clean city, and that's not being derogatory to cities I was in before. But it's just so much on the rise, with what Charlotte is about to become,” Newton said.

We have a minor league baseball that's up and coming. The Bobcats, a professional NBA team. NFL team. So it's on the up and up is basically what I'm trying to say. This is the peak of time that you want to make an impact in the city.

It's not like Atlanta. It's not like Miami. It's not like Los Angeles. I understand that and I know that. But it's one of many cities in the nation that is on the rise.”

His reference to the 7-50 Bobcats as a professional NBA team notwithstanding, Newton makes a couple of interesting points.

The triple-A Charlotte Knights want to move from Fort Mill and build a new stadium next to Bank of America Stadium, which will host President Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the close of the Democratic National Convention in September.

The Panthers are on the rise with the arrival of Newton, coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and his innovative scheme. And Newton's right: Charlotte's streets are as clean as any outside of the Magic Kingdom.

At this point in his life and career, the 22-year-old Newton is not going to live in Charlotte year-round. He has a home in Atlanta, trains at the IMG Academies in Florida during parts of the offseason and has marketing obligations that take him to L.A., New York and Baltimore, where Under Armour is headquartered.

But his announcement Thursday that he wants to “embrace Charlotte” and get more involved in the community should quell fears that Newton might not be long for the city.

When the time comes, Richardson and general manager Marty Hurney will put together an offer to make Newton an even richer man.

In the meantime, Charlotte should embrace Newton like he wants to embrace the city.

Sports superstars have been few and far between here. Rather than worry about Newton's future, better to sit back and enjoy the show while he's here.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on April 13, 2012 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

Comments

Nonsense. Trade him to the Jets straight up for Sanchez. One will selfishly thrive under all the attention and the other will thrive outside the big-market glare. Win - win.

Posted by: DougDoo | Apr 13, 2012 10:54:39 AM

DougDoo!

Haaaaaaaaa, HHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHHHHHAAAAAAA! OOOOOOOOOMMMMAAA, HAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHAAA, HA, HAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHA!!!

Thanks, I haven't had a laugh like that in a long time.

Posted by: Kyla | Apr 13, 2012 11:07:59 AM

NOW THAT WAS HILARIOUS. SO FUNNY I HAD TO READ IT AGAIN....

Posted by: PANTHERSFAN4LIFE | Apr 13, 2012 11:27:33 AM

You mentioned the Bobcats, but forgot the owner. I think he has some influence on Cam. The picture of Newton and Jordan from the Bobcats game is one that I hope to see many of in the future.

Posted by: nick | Apr 13, 2012 11:27:37 AM

too bad jordan doesnt even go to the bobcats games anymore

Posted by: steve | Apr 13, 2012 11:49:50 AM

Cam is what this city needs....a true hero....a real Superman....I wish everyone would get behind this kid...I think everyone is scared he will pull a LEBRON move...

Posted by: Scott Silverstein | Apr 13, 2012 11:57:44 AM

I think anyone who is a true fan of The Panthers does embrace Cam, However you are stupid not to worry he will Run out later.


Posted by: 10-4!! | Apr 13, 2012 2:00:20 PM

i did not know the NFL was like the NBA

Posted by: letha46 | Apr 13, 2012 2:05:09 PM

The NBA has a few years to build up a name too. Kemba already has national appeal after also winning a championship before coming to Charlotte.

Posted by: Ron | Apr 13, 2012 2:37:23 PM

letha46 - the morning guys on WFNZ were discussing that this week. The NFL is so much bigger than the NBA that you don't necessarily need to be in NY/LA/Chicago/etc to be a superstar with lots of national publicity. As an Auburn fan, I was thrilled to see him come here and do so well. I hope, when the time comes, we lock Cam up with a 10-year contract.

Posted by: J | Apr 13, 2012 2:37:34 PM

Hey Ron, did you pitch in on the buy money to get Cam in at Auburn? You folks are sure making a lot of plans for a guy who's played two thirds of an NFL season.

Posted by: Ronny | Apr 13, 2012 4:23:04 PM

Ronny, what are you talking about?

Are you talking about Cam? He started the entire regular season.

Do you count preseason games as well?

Posted by: Johnnie | Apr 13, 2012 6:06:16 PM

i hope cam dont leave when smitty retired..big lights and big money and cecil can persuade him to move

Posted by: pantherlife | Apr 13, 2012 6:15:35 PM

Dude isn't going anywhere. With the franchise tag, the way the new CBA is....the amount of good QB's in the league that won't be retiring in the next 5 years.....the falcons will probably owe matt ryan entirely too much money to even try entertaining the thought of newton leaving carolina.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 13, 2012 7:00:57 PM

I hope that Cam Newton decides to be a franchise quarterback here in Carolina; Charlotte is close enough to Atlanta and as long as Matt Ryan is entrenched as the starting QB, all the awaits him elsewhere are more noise and pollution. With Steve Smith around for another 3 years (4th optional), I have no doubt the Cats will prosper as will Cam Newton.

On To The DRAFT !!!

Posted by: CatFan2012 | Apr 13, 2012 7:35:10 PM

Clarify A LITTLE!... Our only hope is Cam's Time away from his LONG, long, long group of "Supporters(you are amazing,CAM)"! During these Traning Camps and ETC... Will give him some PERSPECTIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: 10-4!! | Apr 13, 2012 11:04:22 PM

"Have a little faith...." Kelly's Heroes

Posted by: CatFan2012 | Apr 14, 2012 12:33:23 AM

"it's a mother beautiful bridge..."

Posted by: CatFan2012 | Apr 14, 2012 12:39:53 AM

Cameron Newton is a more than handsome young man and a terrific quarterback. He presents himself well and I hope he stays in Charlotte forever. Sounds like some of you guys are jealous!

Posted by: Camfan | Apr 14, 2012 7:58:03 AM

Cam looks much better in the black jerseys and the blue jerseys. The Panthers should chuck the white ones or re-design them.

Posted by: Camfan | Apr 14, 2012 8:10:37 AM

Cam (or any other player) would want to stay around Charlotte as long as he perceives that there is a winning formula with the Panthers that will ensure playoffs and possibilities for Super Bowl runs. When a team mires itself in inconsistent mediocrity, that's when a player really starts thinking about other cities.

Posted by: D | Apr 14, 2012 8:44:35 AM

shame allow the kid to put on a show

Posted by: carl | Apr 14, 2012 5:50:39 PM

Did yall not see his interview wit dieon sanders before the draft last year he said I wanna go number one then when we drafted him he said this is where he wanted to go he dont care about spotlights if thats the case he would had stayed at florida

Posted by: David | Apr 18, 2012 10:36:30 PM

C'mon! You all KNOW he's outta here the minute he's able. What do you really think he's gonna say now? This is a "clean" city. Oooh! The fact that this is the best he could come up with speaks volumes! The minor league team is coming up? Seriously? We have to realize that some NFL teams are just to provide wins for other teams. The NFL doesn't actually want small market teams to succeed. I know we want to hear it, but Charlotte isn't a very important city in the grand scheme of things.

Posted by: Johnny Forgotten | Apr 26, 2012 3:14:55 PM

I hope Parcells does coach, it would keep our division interesting and give Aints fans less of an excuse to keep whining about their well-deserved punishment when they start losing games.

I'd also like to see the Panthers have two more shots at Parcells, and avenge that 35-14 loss in 2006 on Sunday Night Football at BofA, in Parcells' last coaching season (and Tony Romo's first-ever start). Easily one of the more humiliating defeats we've ever had; we led 14-10 early in the 4th quarter before they dropped 25 unanswered on us. Can't believe that was over 5 years ago, man I'm getting old.
If the marriage of Parcells and the Saints becomes official, no Panther fan should object.

Posted by: Monster Beats By dr. dre | May 3, 2012 3:17:28 AM

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