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June 19, 2012

Cam Newton is a natural entertainer

After listening to Cam Newton speak to groups of young players twice in the past five days, I'm thinking being an entertainer isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Newton was widely criticized for his “entertainer and icon” comment to Sports Illustrated's Peter King last year before the NFL combine. Newton's timing was wrong, suggestive that the endorsement deals and Under Armour commercials took precedent over football.

Newton clearly loves the bright lights and relishes his role as a showman. He's a natural at it.

He interacted with younger kids last week at Steve Smith's camp at Ardrey Kell High. He was funny, friendly and engaging.

But I think he made more of a connection Tuesday with high school players at the Panthers' 7-on-7 passing tournament. Newton, who is only 23, spoke to the teens at their level, mentioning how some players had “shorties” on their minds instead of football and acknowledging that “if you're great at football, they're giving money away.”

This was not a public service announcement. This was Newton giving a pep talk to a group of 15- to 18-year-olds, and he was effective.

That said, Newton's showmanship was misplaced at times during his rookie season. While there is no doubting Newton's competitive spirit and his distaste for losing, his sulking and brooding after losses early last season seemed a little overdone.

Some of Newton's teammates felt the same way, and Newton now apparently recognizes it was not the way a leader should carry himself in the locker room.

And for all his immediate success and fame, give Newton credit for putting himself out in front of kids in Charlotte, his hometown of Atlanta and elsewhere. He didn't just talk at these players Tuesdays. He slapped hands with them and had them huddled around him at the end of his speech.

Afterward, Newton said he wishes there'd been more athletes like that in Atlanta when he was growing up.

Even though there were a lot of people that came through my community that made it to the NFL or made it to stardom status, I couldn't really say I could put my hands on someone and say, 'Hey, I know this person. He just came to our school.' And that's what I'm trying to do a better job of,” Newton said.

As the status grows as an athlete, as an entertainer, whatever you want to call it, your whole relationship with your community decreases. I want that to be the opposite with me,” Newton added. “As I get bigger, as I grow and mature, as my status grows, I want my impact in the community to grow bigger. I think people have to see my face. And I want to see their face because I want to get their impact, also.”

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on June 19, 2012 at 04:48 PM | Permalink

Comments


Awesome. Thank you Mr. Hurney for drafting this guy when most everyone was screaming don't.

Posted by: PantherHead | Jun 19, 2012 5:29:41 PM

I like Cam. I wish the Panthers luck except for the two times we play yall this year.

Posted by: Saints Fan in the Heart of Panthers Country | Jun 19, 2012 6:37:47 PM

Cam seems to keep doing the right things. I hope he keeps it up. Even a respectful Saints fan chimed in!

Posted by: BG | Jun 19, 2012 7:52:37 PM

cam is the man atm in charlotte, the city is yours if you keep doing these things.bring us a superbowl and you will be panther for life

Posted by: pantherlove | Jun 20, 2012 9:10:46 AM

Cam da Ham is obviously an idiot. Your post makes no sense, and from your handle, it's clear you are in the closet. Newton is a super talent, the likes of which we have never seen here in Charlotte. I'm sure he will prove all the haters wrong, yet again.

Posted by: Munson15 | Jun 20, 2012 9:46:04 AM

Good to see the CO removed some of the stupid and profane things written on here. I was about to comment on whatever gibberish Saintsrevenge posted, but it is gone, Good riddance!

Posted by: Munson15 | Jun 20, 2012 9:48:31 AM

Big Apple - Had you been born a couple thousand years ago, I have no doubt you would have been a huge fan of gladiatorial combat. Why, I can just see you dashing off a note on parchment to be read in the Forum square condemning the Roman Senate from tyring to ban lions from the arena. After all, those Christians and slaves knew what they were "signing up for". Dinner! The Gladiators themselves knew they were fighting to the death for their audience's enjoyment. So what?

Posted by: Freddy | Jun 20, 2012 12:30:55 PM

What's a "shorty"? I feel very white asking this...

Posted by: Sportsdon | Jun 21, 2012 8:50:13 AM

Nice article; except you bring up Cam's distaste for losing and brooding after loses is over done Mr. Person. From what I understand, they thought that entire story (and Cam's confessional) was over blown, and they want him to keep his distaste for losing.

You trying to tell me, you guys never seen Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or Drew Breese seething on the side line, or god forbid, chew out or scream at one of their offensive linemen or receivers? Yeah, I thought so.

Nonetheless, nice talk and outlook with the kids Cam.

Posted by: MSL | Jun 21, 2012 10:56:29 PM

PS: When I said "they" earlier, I was speaking about Ron Rivera and Marty Hurney of the Panthers.

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