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“I’m too blessed; too be stressed.”
– Cam Newton.NORTH CAROLINA (BASN) — He’s 6-foot 5 and 255 pounds. He can run. He can throw. And he has a smile that could light up a room.His name is Cameron Newton.
Many people, in fact, considered him to be better than Tim Tebow, better than Vince Young, better than Herschel Walker and even better than the legendary Bo Jackson.
Because after a 24-0 comeback victory against Alabama in the 75th Iron Bowl in Tuscaloosa, and a SEC Championship winning performance against South Carolina on December 4, in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, where he completed 17-of-28 passes for 335 yards and six touchdowns, he became the front runner over LaMichael James, Andrew Luck, and Kellen Moore to win the Heisman Trophy.
And then, on Saturday Dec. 11th, after living under a media microscope for one year, fighting accusations, they finally announced his name. Cameron Newton was the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner.
But as he nervously stumbled and strutted through his acceptance speech, his beloved father was absence.
Why? Because many people felt he should stay away from the national televised event since his controversial confession to the ‘pay-for play’ scandal involving his talented son and Mississippi State.
During a pre-Heisman interview, Newton side-stepped the questions about the “pay-for-play scandal involving his father Cecil, as if it was a linebacker on the football field ,while stiff-arming all accusations of his knowledge of the plot for a $180,000 payment.
“This situation made us stronger.” confessed Newton.
“I respect him as a man and respect him more for being my father. This guy, who has my best interest. If I call Cecil Newton, he’ll pick up the phone and we will have genuine conversation. ..I love my father unconditionally”
Despite Newton’s unconditional love for his father, many people, in the room, were still upset when they saw him holding up his new bronze Heisman Trophy even though he had gained over 4,000 yards of total offense and scored 49 touchdowns this season.
“How could they let such a polarizing figure into this sacred fraternity of football players?” many people thought.
That type of thought process, in fact, led many sports writers to protest his nomination because they sincerely felt that further investigation by the NCAA would prove that he was guilty as charged and within a couple of months would have his Heisman repossessed just like Reggie Bush.
“He is the best player in college football but the Heisman just this year put in an integrity clause in their mission statement in response to the Reggie Bush fiasco last year.” said Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel.
“Everybody knows he was arrested in Florida with a stolen laptop and threw it out the window when the cops arrived. And everybody knows, it has been reported by FoxSports.com that he was about to get kicked-out of Florida for academic fraud.”
Bianchi said. “And everybody knows, his recruitment is being investigation by the NCAA and the FBI and his dad put his service up for the highest bidder.”
Yes, in the age of Reggie Bush, the Heisman Trophy Award had become an award about integrity and not football. Cam Newton, in effect, had become the “political football to be kicked around by the press.”
Oddly, he had also become the face of corruption that had destroyed the sacredness of the college athletics due to this on-going investigation.
According to the Webster’s Dictionary, the word integrity means state of being complete or whole; uprightness; and honest.
As a result, many sports writers questioned Newton’s uprightness and felt he was unworthy of this prestigious award.
CBS Inside College Football analyst Aaron Taylor, however gave a little forgotten Heisman history to those sports writers trying to be the moral police for the game by reminding them of what happened in 1971.
“In 1971, Johnny Rodgers, from Nebraska, plead guilty to arm-robbery of a gas station, later went onto to win the Heisman. So when we talk about integrity issues, we may want to do some fact checking to get the story straight.”
Yes, this hidden history may have set Cam Newton free, but it still made others really angry. Because despite those facts, Pat Haden, Athletic Director of USC, still refused to recognize Newton’s notoriety as well as his eligibility in the shadows of the Reggie Bush scandal.
“In the Reggie Bush case, when the parent (did) something inappropriate the kid and the school suffered…I was always told the parent is the child.” Haden emphasized. “That’s what we’ve been telling our kids. If the parent does something inappropriate the child suffers the consequences.”
While Haden criticized Newton’s Heisman nomination and his father’s get rich quick scheme, Paul Finebaum, of Paul Finebaum Radio Network, defended the young quarterback from College Park, Georgia.
“I think, Pat should put a pacifier back in his mouth. I think he is whining an awful lot about nothing. We are dealing with NCAA.” replied Finebaum.”They make it up as they go along. We know that.”
“We have seen it a million times. I think this was legal and political decision. It helped all the big networks, who broadcast the SEC games. Namely, CBS.
It helped the Heisman trust from another embarrassment.”
Finebaum also felt that many people were simply overacting and that Newton shouldn’t be punished for the sins of his father.
“It’s no question, his father was in charge. His father made the decision for him to go to Auburn. In this particular case, Auburn didn’t do anything wrong. At least there is no establish facts that Auburn did anything wrong. Mississippi State was the school in question.”
“And I think that’s one reason the NCAA ruled in Cam Newton’s favor.” he explained. “Because Auburn shouldn’t be penalized for something they were not involved with.”
“You can’t rob this player, his dream of winning a Heisman, his team winning a national championship because of something his father did. There are no facts established here that Cam Newton knew about it.
So, you can’t punish him for that.”
While Newton’s eligibility will be debated, his overall knowledge of the “pay-for-play” scandal questioned, and his Heisman Trophy marked with an asterisk, he must remember that all of these trials and tribulations he is facing are simply transportation to get him to his destination.
And his final destination is the BCS National title game against the Oregon Ducks on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona at 8:30 on ESPN.