We already knew about Cam Newton‘s talent on the football field, but now we know about his other great gift: he’s great at making an ass of himself in interviews. Cam displayed this talent yesterday to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo!, who was happy to share the Heisman-winning QB’s less-than-humble remarks about himself with all of NFL fandom.
In one short interview, Cam managed to make not one but two statements that had the whole sports world talking and, more importantly, tweeting. First off, he said this about his future career:
"I see myself as an entertainer-slash-icon."
Modesty, thy name is Cam Newton. In the player’s defense though, it’s possible he just doesn’t know what the word “icon” means. It gets thrown around so much by the sports media, maybe he just thinks it means “somebody who is on ESPN a lot.”
As if the entertainer-slash-icon thing weren’t enough, Cam later unleashed this characterization of his one year as a starter in college football:
"I don’t want to sound arrogant but I did something in one year people couldn’t do in their whole collegiate careers."
No Cam, you don’t sound the least bit arrogant.
To be fair, the second statement is probably defensible on a strictly factual basis. It’s true that Cam had only one year as a starter in college, and in that one year won a national championship, something most players who stay in college four years never do.
The problem isn’t whether the statement has legitimacy though, it’s whether Cam had any business making it the way he made it. Memo to Cam: we’ll decide if you’re an icon, and we’ll decide if you deserve to be praised for what you did in college. You play, we judge. Get it?
Generally speaking, young players could benefit from learning to let their play do their talking for them. This is especially true of guys like Cam Newton who haven’t yet taken a snap as a professional (save your jokes about his being a professional in college). There’s this stuff called draft stock, and right now Cam’s main job is to make sure his doesn’t fall.
True, it shouldn’t really matter to teams what Cam said to some Yahoo! reporter, but that’s not the issue anyway. The real issue is that Cam is about to be interviewed by teams at the combine, and some of them might take a dim view of his bordering-on-delusional over-confidence.
Teams nitpick when judging talent ahead of the draft. And they should nitpick. After all, they’re the ones about to spend millions of dollars on said talent. If there’s any little nagging thing that makes you doubt a guy’s future value, be that thing physical or mental, it is only right for you to consider passing on that guy, whatever you think his potential upside might be.
I have no idea if Cam will help or hurt himself in his upcoming interviews, but I do know this: were I a talent evaluator, I would be leery of a guy who hasn’t made a (legitimate) dime yet but is already talking about being an icon. Especially if that guy is a quarterback who I am drafting to become the future of my franchise.
We won’t know until draft day, but there’s a chance some team will make up their mind about Cam from something he says, causing Cam to lose draft position and lots of dollars. I’m sure this wouldn’t dent Cam’s confidence, but it would have huge implications for the teams picking below whatever club elected to pass on Cam and his ego.
For the sake of argument, let’s say Cam falls all the way out of the top 10. That would put the Vikings, who pick 12th, into position to make their own call on him.
And what should that call be? Attitude aside, there are very good reasons for the Vikings to take a chance on Cam Newton. His physical gifts are impressive, and he has shown himself to be a winner. And with the team pushing to get a new stadium built, a star player like Newton at a flashy position like quarterback would be a great PR boost.
The Vikings I’m sure will talk to Cam themselves during the combine and try to get a read on him. Maybe they will be impressed by his confidence. Or maybe they will think what a lot of people seem to think of Cam in the wake of his Yahoo! interview: that he’s an arrogant doofus who will only flame out in the NFL.
Whatever Cam says in the interviews, I doubt he will actually fall to the Vikings. The Redskins pick two spots ahead of them, they need a quarterback and, as anyone but Tony Kornheiser will tell you, Daniel Snyder doesn’t really care if his players are giant pricks. Newton is right in Snyder’s wheelhouse.