Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has thrown, ran and danced his way to the Super Bowl where the Panthers will meet the Denver Broncos, but most of his antics have not been perceived well among fans across the league.
Newton acknowledged Wednesday at one of the first pre-Super Bowl press conference the shortcomings he’s had to face ever since entering the league in 2011. His style of play on the field as drawn much criticism, even going as far as one fan wanting to ban Newton from Seattle’s CenutryLink Field for grabbing a “12th Man” sign after the Panthers win over the Seahawks.
“I am an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to,” Newton said, via the Charlotte Observer.
Despite the petitions to ban him from a stadium and a scathing letter earlier this season written by a Tennessee Titans fan to the Observer detailing the disgust she had for him because of his celebrations and possibly scarring her 9-year-old daughter , Newton said he “could care less what you say” about him.
“Whether you win, lose or draw, people are going to talk,’ Newton added.
Carolina coach Ron Rivera told reporters he was confused as to why people are still polarized by the fun-loving Newton. Rivera has been Newton’s coach since Carolina drafted him out of Auburn University with the No. 1 pick of the 2011 draft.
“It’s funny we still fight that battle based on what? All he’s done when came in his rookie year … he had a dynamic rookie year. He was NFL (Offensive) Rookie of the Year. He’s been in conversations for awards. This year’s he’s in the conversation for MVP,” Rivera said.
“I still don’t get why he has to be criticized. And maybe there are some people out there who are concerned with who he is, which I think is terrible. I really do.”
Newton has led the Panthers back to the Super Bowl. It’s Carolina first appearance in the big game since Jake Delhomme quarterbacked the team to the title game in 2004 and lost to the New England Patriots.
Should the Panthers defeat the Broncos in Santa Clara, Calif., Newton would become just the third African-American quarterback to win the Super Bowl.