If you don’t like Cam Newton because you don’t like the Panthers, or Auburn, or the SEC, or any other random team, league or entity associated with the former Heisman Trophy winner, that’s one thing. But if you don’t like Newton because of his megawatt smile and celebratory behavior, well, you need to do some soul searching – unless you’re willing to admit that you dislike a whole bunch of other quarterbacks past and present.

“To be perfectly honest, I think (that anybody who is anti-Cam Newton or) that anyone who tries to act like Cam’s behavior on the football field is an issue for them is probably dealing with some small-to-high level of either subconscious or conscious racism,” CBSSports.com senior NFL writer Will Brinson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “Either that, or they’re dealing with their feelings as an Alabama fan – and maybe those things cross over. I just don’t think you can look at Cam Newton and see the way that he behaves on the field and actually find it to be a detriment to the NFL in any sort of way. Because there’s a guy about 10 or 15 years ago who did the same sort of stuff, and he ran around the field and he smiled and he fist-pumped and he grinned (and we said), ‘He’s just a big old kid out there having fun!’”

His name is Brett Favre.

“There’s nothing different that Cam Newton does than Brett Favre except that he is bigger, he is less defined as a traditional quarterback and he’s African American,” Brinson said. “If you’re getting beat by Cam Newton, if you’re on the other side of the ball and you’re annoyed that he’s having a blast beating you, I’m okay with that. But if you’re watching at home and you’re looking at Cam Newton and you think he’s showing disrespect to a game that is literally entertainment by being entertaining, then you have to look deeper inside yourself and figure out why.”

One most wonder, though, if the dislike for Newton is palpable or manufactured, especially given the potential storybook ending for Peyton Manning. After all, every hero needs a villain, and Manning, generally speaking, is as likable as a newborn puppy.

“I don’t think there’s a lot of people who dislike Cam Newton,” Brinson said. “He’s amazing. Physically, he is built in a way that no other human being we have ever seen play this game is built. He’s built like a linebacker or defensive end, more like a defensive end – except he is really good at throwing the football and running the football. The thing that gets me – and this is what bothers me about the ignorance that we see when we talk about Cam Newton – is that people have allowed this stupid debate about his entertainment and celebrations to cloud the fact that Cam Newton has developed better than any other quarterback in the NFL over the last five years.”

The Panthers are 22-2 over their last 24 games, including the playoffs. Newton has 50 touchdowns (38 pass, 12 rush) to just 11 interceptions in 18 games this season.

“The work he’s done to develop his footwork, to develop his mechanics, to develop his knowledge of the game – this guy is calling 70 percent of the plays at the line,” Brinson said. “He’s running this complex run game that the Carolina Panthers utilize. He’s become everything you would ever want to see from the physical person that he is, and what if he’s just scratching the surface? It’s terrifying. But it should be fun to watch. Just because of the physical limitations of human nature, I don’t know that we’ll see another quarterback built the way that Cam Newton is anytime soon.”


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