Welcome to this week’s edition of, “Oops, I got that wrong too ...” Today we’ll spotlight misjudgment of Cam Newton by your friend, Tom.
I don’t know about you, but when the Patriots signed Cam Newton my personal jury was out.
Some of it had to do with the football. He hadn’t been the same player since his MVP season in 2015 and I never liked his wonky throwing mechanics. More of it had to do with my perception of the guy.
Why’d he need all that ... stuff?
The hats, the shades, the capris, the Superman histrionics, the in-game preening all while winning three playoff games in nine seasons ... he just didn’t strike me as authentic.
It felt like schtick. A well-crafted persona.
What about brooding on the bench Cam? Towel-over-head Cam? Didn’t jump on the fumble Cam? Patronize the female reporter Cam? Maybe THAT was the real Cam Newton, hmmmmm?!?!?!?!
You may be thinking, “Ummmm, Tom ... maybe you didn’t like him because he didn’t fit your definition of how a quarterback is supposed to act. You showing a little latent prejudice there?”
And maybe some of it was that cynical habit of finding reasons to not like people once they’ve been around a while and focusing on what pisses us off.
Whether it’s preening Cam or condescending Aaron Rodgers or overdramatic/shady Big Ben or stat-glutton/virtue-signaling Drew Brees, it’s like a quest to find the negative thing to fixate on.
I don’t think it’s just a “me” thing, but I do think I have a bad case of it. For instance, two golfers I love to hate: Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar. I think they’re too nice.
Anyway, I am here to say today that my jury is back in. I am very much enjoying the Cam Newton experience. I like the guy. And I will roll my eyes no more because I’ve learned the schtick ain’t schtick. It’s not just for the cameras or the branding. It’s him. It’s fun. The nicknames, the mangled syntax, the costumes, I like it all.
The guy is living life with a little bit of joy and trying to spread it around. Why do I need to be after him with a magnifying glass to see if it’s legit?
There will be a Sunday when Cam plays badly, the Patriots lose and he mopes or broods and looks absurd wearing a top hat and rose-colored glasses explaining why things went wrong.
That sour Cam will be replayed for days and the bait will be set. “See, he’s not so fun when it’s not going his way, is he? There’s your Cam Newton, everybody ...”
I’m not taking that bait.
Poet Maya Angelou once said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” I shoulda done that. I’m sorry I didn’t. Going forward, I will.