A video of Cam Newton getting taunted by a teenager at his football tournament went viral on Sunday, designed to present the free agent quarterback as getting angry with a kid taunting him.
In the video you can see Newton walking the sideline when the teen taunts him for being a free agent, which he smiles and quips back saying “I’m rich.” At this point the kid doubles down, saying “you’re about to be poor.” Instead of escalating the situation, Newton simply asks “where’s your daddy at?” and “where’s your pops,” indicating he wants to speak to the heckler’s father.
The swift judgement of Twitter was in full force. Some loved the idea of Newton getting “triggered” by a teenage, while others, including Charles Johnson, his former teammate in Carolina praising his poise.
But, the story doesn’t end here. After hours of festering and speculation about Newton’s reaction, the quarterback posted a second video of the scene — this time showing him approaching the heckler later, and trying to turn it into a teaching moment.
It might not have had the result Newton wanted, but you can’t blame him for trying. He approaches the kid again, not to reignite the beef — but to talk to him about football. Newton asks what his team’s record in the tournament was, more specifically asking what he did to help his team.
The teen, obviously embarrassed about being called out, dances around the question and tells Newton to “check him out on YouTube.” Even after other coaches on Newton’s team try to escalate, Newton tells them to back off — saying that he’s just trying to have a conversation with the kid.
I think the point Cam was trying to make was that it’s incredibly easy to mock other people, but far more difficult to be introspective about their own failings. Here’s a quarterback who was at the top of the NFL before injury, and has been struggling to put his career back together since. Taking shots at him now while he’s struggling is incredibly easy, but asking yourself “why is my team 1-2 if I did everything I can?” is more difficult.
This is exceptionally on-brand for Newton. Spend any amount of time learning anything about the quarterback and you’ll see that he has a peerless record for trying to help young people. This extends beyond the photo ops too. Whether it’s an organized event for charity, or addressing a heckler at a youth tournament HE organized, Newton will always try to do what he can to help kids.
Unfortunately the message didn’t really get conveyed. The coach of the heckler interjected and didn’t want the conversation to continue. I have to feel like this was a missed opportunity to really teach this kid a lesson.