Former NFL MVP Cam Newton found himself in a viral video over the weekend, but — while the video has received negative reaction — Newton wasn’t the one on the wrong side of things. The clip showed a young high school football player talking trash to Cam Newton, who played for the New England Patriots in 2020, and that player has since been criticized by many. This includes ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith, who even said that he might have “slapped him upside his head.”
A young high school player talked trash to Cam Newton
The player repeatedly told Newton that he was “about to be poor,” referring to his free agency situation. In the video, Newton asked to speak to the player’s father.
Newton later shared a video of a conversation he had with the same athlete. He also wrote this on Instagram.
“People often forget as athletes that are often seen on TV — loved by most, hated by some — we are real dads, real friends, real brothers, real sons, real human beings,” he wrote, per ESPN. “With that being said, when I attend tournaments all across the country with my all-star team, I have given my time, my energy and my expertise to these kids coming into our program for over 11 years and that is not what people want to hear or even want to see.”
He continued: “People want to see me arguing with another young man and to see me ‘get in my feelings.’ But the truth is this, I impact kids’ lives in a positive way. Make no mistake about it, I allow kids to realize their ‘out’ by using their football talents to get them to the next level and in most cases out of the hood.”
The player later issued an apology on Twitter, saying in part, per ESPN, “First and foremost I want to express my deepest apologies to Cam Newton, my entire [organization], and my coaches for my actions at the 7v7 tournament.”
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith sent a stern message to the player
The video has been a hot topic of conversation the past couple of days, and Stephen A. Smith recently addressed it on his ESPN show, First Take.
“That kid should be ashamed of himself,” Smith said on the Feb. 22 episode. “If I was his parent, he would have been grounded; he would have been punished. I might have slapped him upside his head — I’m not going to lie to you. That was a disgraceful, disgraceful display of behavior by that young kid.”
He continued: “Cam Newton is an individual that has been in the National Football League for 10 years … he’s a former league MVP; he guided the team to the Super Bowl. He’s earned over $100 million in his professional career, and despite what he accomplished and what he has achieved in his life, this man Cam Newton decides to be one of the sponsors for several teams for a camp you showed up to; to help you and the kids that were there with you. And you would disrespect him like that?”
Smith went on to discuss how this player is just a kid and that kids make mistakes, but his actions were still disrespectful.
At least the player apologized, though, so, hopefully, for his sake, everyone can move past this incident now.
Will Cam Newton play for the Patriots in 2021?
Although Newton took the time to coach in the tournament, he does have a busy offseason coming up, as he is an unrestricted free agent. And even though he had the worst season of his career in 2020, he doesn’t plan to retire.
“Hell no! I can’t go out like that,” he recently said on the I Am Athlete podcast, according to ESPN. “I hear all of that talk. My pride won’t allow me to do it. There aren’t 32 guys better than me.”
In his first year with the Patriots in 2020, Cam Newton threw for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.
He also said that he is open to returning to the Patriots, but given his poor play in 2020, it’s unclear if they are interested in bringing him back.
At one point, Cam Newton was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Hopefully, no matter what team he plays for in 2021, Newton can start to look like his old self again.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference