Cam Newton might’ve received twice as many sacks than any other quarterback in the pro league over the course of his career, but still, the ATL native pushes through with a dab or a smile, now all the way to Super Bowl 50. But although he’s sustained the blows on the turf, he’s trying to deflect critics’ perceptions of his sportsmanship in the press room.
In a conference on his mindset going into the final game of the Panthers’ (18-1) season, facing up against the Denver Broncos, Newton said the 24/7 lens on his performance is because of his ability to stick true to his personality and discipline.
“Here I am, I’m doing exactly what I want to do, how I want to do it, and when I look in the mirror, it’s me,” he said. “Nobody changed me, nobody made me act this certain type of way and I’m true to my roots. That feels great. People are going to say whatever they’re going to say and if I’m in this world living for that person, ‘Oh this person is going to say this. This person is going to say that,’ then I can’t look at myself and say, ‘I’m Cam Newton.’
He also added that his race has played a factor. “I’ve said this since day one. 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.”
This isn’t the first time in recent months that the 26-year-old had to debunk his statements or actions on the field. After elated gestures or “hitting the dab” a few times after a successful play or touchdown against the Tennessee Titans, a concerned mother wrote a lengthy letter on how she failed to explain to her 9-year-old daughter what Cam’s expressions actually meant.
“Your behavior brought out like behavior in the stands,” the parent wrote. “Some of the Panthers fans in our section began taunting the hometown fans. Many Titans fans booed you, a few offering instructive, but not necessarily family friendly, suggestions as to how you might change your behavior.”
Newton later expressed that you can’t fault the mother for sharing her opinion. “If she feels offended, I’ll apologize to her, but at the end of the day, I am who I am,” he said. “I’m not doing it to be disrespectful to nobody, more so just doing it just to shine light and get people a smile and having fun doing what I do.”
Newton and the Carolina Panthers will seek to get their first Super Bowl ring in franchise history on Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. EST on CBS.