You can’t stop Cam from dancing


Patrick Pace, sports columnist. Photo credit: Cam Lesslie

Cameron “Cam” Newton is the consensus favorite to win the 2015 NFL MVP Award this season, and he and his team, the Carolina Panthers, will be playing the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl on Feb. 7. These are remarkable accomplishments, but what makes them even more special is that Newton is doing this while being himself, and not letting the critics change him.

Newton started as a 5 star recruit out of high school, and from there accepted a scholarship to the University of Florida. In 2008, during his sophomore year he was brought up on felony charges for stealing another student’s laptop. He then transferred and enjoyed successful seasons at both Blinn Junior College as well as Auburn University. It seems as if he has been scrutinized more than most players since that first incident.

While enjoying a season at Auburn in which Newton won both the Heisman Trophy and a BCS Bowl Championship, most headlines focused on whether or not he was receiving improper benefits. Because of this, almost no one that I knew was rooting for Cam to win because they thought he and his family were “cheaters.”

Newton was drafted first overall by the Panthers, and many thought he was not smart enough to be an elite NFL quarterback. However, in his rookie year he passed for 4,051 yards and 21 touchdowns, and rushed for 706 yards and 14 touchdowns. These feats had not been accomplished by any other rookie quarterback in NFL history. He won the Rookie of the Year award, and has consistently had great individual seasons ever since.

This year, the Panthers sit at 17-1 overall, and Newton has thrown for 35 touchdowns and rushed for 10. Every time that he scores a touchdown, he picks up the football and gives it to a young Panthers fan in the crowd. He has looked mature in interviews, and gives back to children whenever he can through his charity, The Cam Newton Foundation. However he is still looked at negatively by many people for, above all things, dancing.

Newton is known for his upbeat celebrations. He celebrates big plays by doing a dance known as “dabbing.” This simple dance has brought him mostly negative attention. This dance has made some people so upset that just recently, Seattle Seahawks fans have started a petition to ban Newton from their stadium.

Newton was also chastised by a Tennessee mom who attended the Panthers-Titans football game this season and saw him celebrate a touchdown in the end zone. She said that his “taunting” was immature, and that he is a role model to many people and should act as such. Many players and analysts have said that they feel as if he should not dance, as well.

However, Newton says to all of his critics that if they do not want him to dance, all they have to do is stop him from scoring. Just as the defense can’t stop him from making big plays, the critics can’t stop Cam from enjoying his time in the league.

Patrick Pace can be reached at [email protected], or @PatPaceSports on Twitter.