Cam Newton quickly has become one of the most polarizing figures in sports.
The Carolina Panthers quarterback is the favorite to win the NFL MVP for the 2015 season, and he has the Panthers in Super Bowl 50. But his play often was overshadowed by his touchdown celebrations, and some fanbases, like Seattle Seahawks fans, have taken things to the extreme as a result.
And Newton believes he knows why.
“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 told The Charlotte Observer.
He added: “Whether you win, lose or draw, people are going to talk. Now the true fans — they know what’s up. They’re going to be supportive whatever happens. … But people are going to judge and have their own opinion on certain things that I don’t have control over nor does anybody else.”
The former No. 1 overall draft pick threw for 3,837 yards with 35 touchdowns during the Panthers’ 15-1 regular season, and he leads all playoff quarterbacks with a 113.4 passer rating in the postseason. Yet fans are writing him angry letters.
“It’s funny we still fight that battle based on what? All he’s done when he came in his rookie year … he had a dynamic rookie year,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “He was NFL (Offensive) Rookie of the Year. He’s been in conversations every year for awards. This year he’s in the conversation for MVP. I still don’t get why he has to (be criticized). And maybe there are some people out there who are concerned with who he is, which I think is terrible. I really do.
“You think in this time, this day and age, it would be more about who he is as an athlete, as a person more than anything else. Hopefully we can get past those things.”
Thumbnail photo via Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton