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February 17, 2014

Newton: Michael Sam would be accepted as a Panther

In an interview with ESPN, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said prospective NFL linebacker Michael Sam, who could be the first openly gay NFL player, would “absolutely” be accepted as a Panther.

Newton, sitting beside 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in a joint interview, said the objective in the NFL is to win football games, and if Sam can do that, Newton didn’t worry about his private life.

“His job is a linebacker,” said Newton of Sam, who was the SEC’s co-Defensive Player of the Year at Missouri this past season. “Colin said it best when he said we don’t worry about each other when we’re outside of football. Of course we have, ‘Are you OK? ‘Is there anything I can help you with?’ But the main focus is, we’re football players. We’re here in this organization for one reason and one reason only. And if you’re able to help us attain that winning success, your personal life is your personal life.”


Kaepernick said he didn’t believe it would take more courage for Sam in the locker room than it did to come out publicly as he did a week ago.

“I think when he steps into that locker room everyone’s going to know that he’s there to help us win games,” Kaepernick said. “And that’s why you’re in the NFL — to help us win games. No one cares if you’re black, white, straight, gay, Christian, Jewish, whatever it may be. When you step on that field you’re a member of, in my case the 49ers, or the Carolina Panthers, that’s your job. That’s your occupation.”

So is there a possibility Sam becomes a member of the Panthers? Sam could be selected as early as the fourth round in the draft, or he could fall to the seven or completely out of the draft.

A 4-3 defensive end at Missouri, Sam is somewhat of a tweener for the NFL and is projected to be a better fit at outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, so Sean McDermott’s 4-3 defense may not be the home for Sam.

A handful of teams, including the Patriots, Packers and Browns, have publicly said they would welcome Sam. A Panthers spokesman told me recently the team is not expected to release any statement regarding Sam.

By the way, Kaepernick and Newton interviewed together while promoting Cartoon Network’s Hall of Game sports awards show. The two quarterbacks hosted the event, which took place this weekend and airs tonight at 7.

--Jonathan Jones

Posted by Observer Sports on February 17, 2014 at 11:00 AM | Permalink


I can't comment on the video since it won't play for me. But I can comment on the photo.

What the ? is Kap dressed like that for and yes I am still pizzed at the last game

Posted by: Rooster Tail | Feb 17, 2014 11:57:45 AM

No thanks I don't want the media circus this guy will bring that will have NOTHING to do with his on field football ability

Posted by: BUCKGUY | Feb 17, 2014 12:04:02 PM

Bravo Cam & Colin!

Posted by: kim | Feb 17, 2014 12:13:46 PM

I agree with Donny Wood and Steve Urkel.

Posted by: Pachy | Feb 17, 2014 12:34:52 PM

If Cam would say he had a problem with it, then ESPN would have a field day. If you want an actual opinion go ask somebody retired. I agree with what Larry Johnson (Hornets) said about it. Sam should be required to dress elsewhere. If I would be arrested for hanging out in the women's lockerroom at the YMCA then Sam should be forced to dress elsewhere.

Posted by: Jason | Feb 17, 2014 12:49:47 PM

Ok, then it's official. Sam goes to the Panthers or the 49ers. Cool. Why share your life style publicly? We don't care what sex you like or want. This is something you chose to accept, so deal with it. Play ball and shut up. If you do not feel comfortable with it, then it must be wrong. If you are comfortable with it, then why tell everybody? That's your agenda, we don't care about other's sex preferrences. Folks do not have to accept what you stand for. In this world you will never please everyone, no matter who you are.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 17, 2014 12:56:21 PM

"Browns have publicly said they would welcome Sam." In related news, Sam announces he is returning to Missouri.

Posted by: Panther Phil | Feb 17, 2014 1:18:50 PM

Guys like Jason above just assume every gay dude in America is attracted to them and that something so terrible is going to happen if they share a dressing room.

It's going to be ok Jason.

Posted by: Terry | Feb 17, 2014 1:19:21 PM

The fact is that the locker room is no different from any other workplace environment. You're protected from any unwanted attention, sexual or otherwise, by commonplace rules forbidding harassment. We've just seen what has happened with the Dolphins when those rules are violated.

Any player who's somehow afraid Sam would demonstrate an untoward attraction to them is a homophobe, pure and simple. That would be the very LAST thing a gay athlete would do. Anybody who doesn't get that needs to grow up.

The other fact is that simple statistical probability says that a certain percentage of guys in the NFL, or any sports league, are gay and are just still voluntarily stuck in the closet. Nothing happens and most of their teammates probably don't even know. Why would it be any different if an openly gay guy was there?

Posted by: archie | Feb 17, 2014 2:23:49 PM

i think he came out so he can live his life without worry. maybe he wants to be able to walk around the streets with his significant others and not have closed minded people pointing and talking. everyone knew he was gay already. its not a big deal. let him play where ever. i bet if he helps win your team a super bowl you wont be saying anything bad about him.

Posted by: J | Feb 17, 2014 3:07:17 PM

But seriously, we should look at adding Jonathan Martin. He'll have something to prove and he would fill a major need for the Panthers.

Posted by: John | Feb 17, 2014 3:13:10 PM

I cannot agree with CAM. I will not be a supporter of any team that heralds gay players like trophies, and fans who applaud same. Gay lifestyle is a perversion. I do not support known perversion.

Posted by: William Teal | Feb 17, 2014 3:16:04 PM

Happy the Panthers haven't made the official stupid statement of saying he'd be welcome here. Shouldn't even be addressed.

Glad we rose above this media circus....now if only the Observer would show the class of the Panthers......

enough with these "types" of stories. Can we talk about sports????

Posted by: tony clifton | Feb 17, 2014 3:21:01 PM

Used to be that blacks were considered to be subservient to whites... You can stand against the progress of change and tolerance if you want, William, and you will have as much luck as standing against the waves of the ocean heading for the shore. The population of your position will continue to deteriorate over time into the minority. Never be afraid of change. Embrace it. Our entire existence is based on change. NOTHING ever remains the same.

Posted by: Steve | Feb 17, 2014 3:27:17 PM

William Teal sounds like a homophobic racist. Gey people are born that way, I don't believe it's a choice. If Sam can help us win games, I am all for it, but he has every right all the rest of us do. Don't be such a hater Willy Teal. You are an embarrassment.

Posted by: Dave | Feb 17, 2014 3:54:46 PM

Gay people are NOT born that way. It is a decision. Yet the NFL teams do NOT need added distractions. Circus that goes on with some teams shows with their lack of on field performance.

Posted by: par404 | Feb 17, 2014 4:14:02 PM

So, par404, when did you decide to be heterosexual?

Posted by: Chris | Feb 17, 2014 4:28:33 PM

Here's a little knowledge for you par404: Roughly 2-4% of any population group is homosexual. It cuts across all nationalities and races, and it goes back in history as far as we can see. This is what the biologists and historians and anthropologists all say. Furthermore, it's been observed in over 1500 different species of animals. Nobody knows why, but it must be necessary for some reason we don't yet understand. Someday we will.

So you're saying that around 10 million Americans and hundreds of millions worldwide, not to mention all those animals, are ALL lying about being born gay? Somehow YOU know this, you who are NOT gay?

Tell us something: were you born an idiot or did you actually have a choice in the matter?

Posted by: archie | Feb 17, 2014 4:57:03 PM

I do NOT want him on the Dallas Cowboys. We already have enough distractions with a murderer coming back, a clueless owner and a qb that is having back problems. Him coming to Dallas would give new meaning to other fan bases calling us, "Cowgirls." If it's not a BIG deal, why tell us. I am sick of this just shut up and play. One more thing, guys in the NFL aren't going to say how they really feel, because everyone is trying to be politically correct. I feel this way, when two men or two women can have a child without the benefit of the other, I will call God a liar but since I know that can't happen, He isn't a liar. It's wrong! In the meantime, we as fans don't need to know that Michael Sam likes men and the only reason why he came out was to beat whoever was going to tell it to the punch. Again, just shut up about your personal life and play ball!!

Posted by: Fonda | Feb 17, 2014 5:10:45 PM

Honestly, what else would you expect Newton or anyone else to say? I expect Sam to have a Nobel by the end of his first season. Would you want to be the one to day anything different?

Posted by: jaco | Feb 17, 2014 5:44:41 PM

Actually Fonda, an intelligent person might figure God doesn't have a problem with gay people since He made so many of them.

And I wouldn't call God a "liar". I'd call the dirty, ignorant men living in tents and mud huts who didn't know anything about modern biology or anthropology - you know, the guys who originally wrote the dead sea scrolls from their fevered dreams and vivid imagininations - THOSE guys were apparently the liars.

At least, that's what an intelligent person might say. You, obviously, have a different take.

Posted by: archie | Feb 17, 2014 5:51:22 PM

nice try archie.

what % of the population are murderers, rapists, and child abusers?

Does that mean we need to accept them?

you are utilizing a popular argument, but just because it is popular doesn't make it logically sound.

So who should be drafting?

Posted by: tony clifton | Feb 17, 2014 5:57:56 PM

tony - so you're equating being gay with murderers, rapists, and child abusers? Seriously? You think that's "logically sound"?What the heck is wrong with you?

I dare you to say that to a gay person, if you actually know any. You'd be picking up your teeth off the ground.

Posted by: archie | Feb 17, 2014 6:16:52 PM

If he can help Luke, TD, and crew get stops on 3rd down I don't care what he does if he doesn't break law. Kid could be a great citizen how knows. As far as any fan that will stop getting season tickets their are 10 ready to buy.

Posted by: jaymoney | Feb 17, 2014 7:03:43 PM


I think Tony's point is that that is what you are doing.

Show him the scientific evidence that they are born that way and that will calm him down.


Posted by: pantherblue | Feb 17, 2014 7:44:07 PM

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