Momservation: If you want to be a good role model to my kid, then lose like you enjoyed it for a change.
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Reading time: 3 minutes (or just longer than Cam Newton’s postgame Super Bowl 50 interview)
I really want to like the guy. I really do. But Cam Newton just isn’t doing himself any favors.
I like how he learned from early college mistakes at Florida and resurrected himself into a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Auburn. It models what I try to teach my kids:
We’re all going to make mistakes, but if you learn from them to do better and be better next time it’s not a mistake at all.
I like how Cam Newton obviously works hard and is a team player. You don’t become the only player in the modern era to be awarded the Heisman Trophy, win a national championship, and become the first overall pick in an NFL draft within a one-year span as well become NFL Rookie of the Year, a 3-time Pro Bowler, named to the NFL All Pro First Team in 2015 and be the 2016 NFL MVP without hard work, dedication and sacrifice. A great role model for these family philosophies:
Anything worth doing is rarely easy, but if you leave nothing on the table you’ll have no regrets.
If you give your best you can achieve the best.
I like being witness to Cam’s amazing feats of athleticism. It’s fun to watch someone who is so good at what they do. Which is great example of this belief:
To give anything less than your best is to waste your gifts.
Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.
I love that Cam Newton has started a Carolina Panthers tradition of handing over touchdown footballs to little kids in the stands. Why hoard these as trophies when you can share the wealth? This is where I think Cam shines the most as a role model:
Don’t underestimate the power of simple acts of kindness.
No one gets anywhere without help from someone else. Pay it forward.
Now here’s what I don’t like about Cam Newton that is keeping him from being the sports hero and role model that he has the potential to be:
He needs to elevate his character to match his impressively growing stats sheet. All the preening and game-stopping showmanship is in poor taste. The true greats of the game (*cough* Peyton Manning *cough*) don’t toot their own horn. It is not what we should be teaching our young athletes who look to emulate the pros. This is:
Be humble in your achievements.
Let your actions speak louder than your words.
Work hard in silence. Let your success be your noise.
And Cam Newton, now five years into an NFL career and 26 years old, needs to grow up. You can’t blame mistakes on youth and inexperience anymore. So when the admitted sore loser has a petulant showing more suited for a five year-old than a pro athlete at the postgame interview for Super Bowl 50, there is no excuse. When a hooded, scowling, terse, and unprofessional Newton abruptly left his short interview with the press a sample headline read: Carolina Panthers Quarterback Prematurely Walks off Podium. It should have said, Immaturely Walks off Podium.
The worst part for me in my quest to want to like and root for Cam Newton to do well in the NFL? Hearing my 16 year-old son and aspiring college athlete say he thought there was nothing wrong with Cam Newton’s postgame behavior. He thought the star quarterback’s behavior was justified because a good athlete should be upset when they lose.
“He was mad they lost. What’s wrong with being upset when you lose?”
Nothing. But there’s a classy way to show it. A mature way to show it. A good sportsmanship way to handle it. A good role model way to show how it’s done.
Cam Newton lost an opportunity to elevate himself with the true sports greats by modeling this for all the young athletes who aspire to take a page out of his successful book:
It’s easy to be a good winner. It’s harder to be a good loser.
Real winners are gracious losers.
Good players inspire themselves. Great players inspire others.
Win with style. Lose with style.
But mainly, Cam had this missed opportunity to be a great role model: