For all the chatter about how much some people dislike Cam Newton for his elaborate celebrations, how many people actually do? It’s a popular and controversial talking point, yes, but is it possible that it’s been overplayed? At least a little bit?
“Well, I think that there are a lot of fans that really like him,” FOX and NFL Network analyst Charles Davis said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “The ones that don’t, it’s not so much the fans, but there are plenty of us – media members – that write about it, talk about it, those things, and it kind of gives voice to it. Not kind of, it does. It gives a lot more voice to it.”
Davis called three Panthers games this season, including the Nov. 15 game in Tennessee, when Newton drew criticism for an elaborate – and lengthy – dance that he performed after scoring a touchdown.
“I was on the call of the game, so I’m one of those voices,” Davis said. “ My issue was never with Cam’s dancing, because look, I think BJ will tell you this: That stuff gets added to your game when you consistently are excellent with what you do. The better player you are, the more you kind of get away with. If Cam was a really average player and (maybe got) an occasional first down and he’d do that elaborate (first-down celebration), someone would have clobbered him by now. But because he’s consistently great, you kind of get room to do your thing. So when he did the dance in Tennessee and Avery Williamson, the linebacker, took offense, my thing was as a former defender, it was, ‘Look, you scored a touchdown. We got it. But at some point, land the plane.’ Because when Cam broke into that dance, guys, I felt like I was watching dance fever. It went on and on. And all I said was, ‘This is what really upsets people. It just keeps going.’ (It’s) not so much that he danced. Him giving balls to (fans) is fantastic. I wasn’t timing (his dance), but it’s a feel thing.
“As a former player,” Davis continued, “you’re embarrassed, No. 1, that he scored. And I know he says ‘Well, don’t let me score.’ Well, that makes it too trite. There’s a respect factor both ways, and they respect the heck out of his game. Do your dance, move on, and don’t totally disrespect the other guys. I think for most people, it’s (become) more than that, and it’s too bad. Aaron Rodgers (does the) Discount Double Check. I’ve seen Tom Brady sprint the full length of the field and get in other guys’ faces and then head-butt his own guys. We can go on and on. Everyone has their different things, but Cam is a lighting rod. It would be disingenuous to say that race isn’t a part of it, but a lot of it, it’s not just race; it’s culture and what people say about respecting the game and how we play it. Ask the baseball guys, when the Latin players hit home runs and do their stuff, that’s a big culture gap that baseball has. It’s two cultures clashing together. That may be part of what’s going on with Cam, but the bottom line is, he’s the best player in the league right now. Everyone’s got to deal with it.”