NESN Diary: Cam Newton, Snitching in the NBA Bubble (And Other Random Thoughts)

Cam Newton in New England is the content gift that keeps on giving.

The recently-signed Patriots quarterback has been an open book thus far, a drastic contrast to his predecessor Tom Brady. Newton has worn his emotions on his sleeve and showcased the massive chip on his shoulder, and boy, is it refreshing not only a media perspective, but as a fan.

Newton made plenty of headlines Tuesday after sitting down with Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Todd Gurley for a video posted to Beckham’s YouTube channel.

And I mean, just look at the quality of this content. Watch Newton sit here in this boujee mahogany room, pouring red wine into a glass from a carafe and puffing on a cigar in that outfit. Tell me this video doesn’t look like it was directed by Martin Scorsese or something.

Newton opened up about many topics like how the coronavirus impacted his free agency, learning the Carolina Panthers wanted to trade him via text message, the Black Lives Matter movement, his first reservations about playing for Bill Belichick and how he feels about replacing Brady.

The hour-long video also showed us that OBJ is still dying to play for the Patriots, but maybe more so because of the legendary head coach as opposed to Brady.

The best part about it, however, is listening to Newton talk about the disrespect he felt from the rest of the NFL for 86 nights when he was a free agent. Hopefully he wins the starting job so we can watch this man show every other team what they missed out on.

Scott Zolak, the former Patriots quarterback and current 98.5 The Sports Hub personality, though, believes Jarrett Stidham will be the starter. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore, however, thinks Newton’s chances of winning the starting job are better than that.

Here are some other random thoughts from the day in sports:

— In other Patriots news, Belichick was seen filming a Subway commercial in Connecticut, which Twitter got an absolute kick out of as the head coach scarfed down a sub.

The team also announced its preliminary protocols for hosting fans at Gillette Stadium, and it looks like it will be limited to 20 percent capacity for social distancing, if fans are even allowed. Of course, that’s much easier to do in the stands as opposed to on the football field, as pointed out by defensive back Jonathan Jones.

— The NBA apparently is full of snitches.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Tuesday reported that multiple tips have been placed into the league’s anonymous hotline put in place to report health and safety protocol violations on the Walt Disney World Campus ahead of the NBA’s return.

Some players have received warnings as the league attempts to ensure players are social distancing and wearing masks on campus. The Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler got busted on a noise complaint for dribbling a basketball in his room, and perhaps that’s how the league found out about Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes crossing the border to get some delivery food.

— The Boston Celtics made assistant coach Kara Lawson’s last day with the team memorable.

Lawson recently was hired by Duke University to take over the women’s basketball program as head coach, and before she departed the NBA bubble for Durham, the Celtics surprised her with an adorable gesture. They all wore Duke women’s basketball T-shirts and posed for a photo with Lawson, bringing her to tears.

Best of luck to the franchise’s first-ever female assistant coach in her future endeavors. I’d personally love to see her become the first woman to be a head coach in the NBA.

— The Boston Red Sox have a talented roster, but it’s no secret that the pitching leaves a lot to be desired. Especially with assumed ace Eduardo Rodriguez waiting to join the team after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

In the mean time, though, Nathan Eovaldi has pretty much locked-up the starting job for Opening Day. Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke all but confirmed that Tuesday, sharing how happy the team is with Eovaldi’s performances.

Additionally, five notable prospects are expected to join the team’s 60-player roster pool.

— Before the NHL resumes the league with the Stanley Cup Playoffs, teams will first play a collective 12 exhibition games, and the schedule was realeased Tuesday. The Boston Bruins will face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, July 30.

The Bruins have been back training at Warrior Ice Arena, but David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase have not yet been spotted at the practice facility. It’s likely because the duo spent quarantine in the Czech Republic during the NHL pause, but I know they’re both back in Boston (because I saw them out to eat in the North End) and hopefully will be cleared by Wednesday to rejoin the team.

It looks like the Bruins are happy to be skating together once again. Expect for Torey Krug and Connor Clifton, who got into a little playful scrap on the ice Tuesday. Check out some more notes from practice today.

— This isn’t exactly sports news unless you went to UMass Amherst and knew what she was about, but I’d be remiss not to give a quick shoutout to Joanne Keller.

Joanne, the beloved “omelet lady” who works in the Hampshire Dining Commons, announced her retirement from the school on Tuesday night. As a UMass student, Joanne gave me something to look forward to every single day. For one, her omelets were a delicious and healthy start to my mornings, but conversation with her in line was the best. Especially because she was the biggest UMass sports fan on campus.

On my birthday senior year, she even had my omelet ready to go when I walked in, complete with a candle. And she did this kind of thing for many people. Every school has an adored staff member like this, but she’s special. She’d literally have six skillets going at once while having a conversation with you, and she’d cook each one to perfection. I like to think Joanne is a big reason why UMass Dining remains the best in the nation year after year and she also contributed to Cale Makar’s great nutrition which is obviously the reason he was lighting it up as one of the most electric rookies in the NHL this year.

So if athletic director Ryan Bamford is reading this, please arrange an apron retirement ceremony. Joanne’s needs to be lifted into the rafters at the Mullins Center, where she loves to go to games and attend country concerts.

Tweet of the Day

Stat of the Day

Reason No. Infinity why we can’t wait for basketball to come back:

Video of the Day

We’re hearing a lot about what messages players will wear on the back of the jerseys, as well as those who will keep their last name on the back for the NBA’s return. My queen, ESPN’s Rachel Nichols had a great point about why the choice is so important, and how promoting the Black Lives Matter movement is not political.

More NFL: Jarrett Stidham (Not Cam Newton) Will Start For Patriots, Says Scott Zolak

Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images