Former NFL most valuable player Cam Newton believes that he knows why he hasn’t been able to land another starting job in the league and it has nothing to do with his lousy play on the field, but rather his personal appearance.
The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback whose athletic prowess for the Carolina Panthers earned him the nickname “Super Cam” with his signature “dab dance” after touchdowns becoming a fad before his star dimmed, suggested that he’s been blackballed because of his dreadlocks, a hairstyle that goes along with his colorful wardrobe.
Newton, a 33-year-old free agent who last took a snap in 2021, sat down with host Josina Anderson on a recent edition of her “Undefined” podcast where he discussed his failure to land a job in the NFL, a quarterback’s league, despite his 11 years of playing experience.
“It’s been hinted and I’m not changing,” Newton said as to whether his hairdo was a deterrent to teams. “But yeah, people have hinted towards to say like, ‘Cam, we want you to go back to the 2015 clean-cut Cam,’ but that was a different me. Like right now, where I’m at, it’s really embracing who I am.”
Video: “People have hinted towards to say like, ‘Cam, we want you to go back to the 2015 clean-cut Cam. But that was a different me. Right now, where I’m at, it’s about embracing who I am.”
(via the Undefined podcast of @JosinaAnderson) pic.twitter.com/qC9tHAEq7n
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) May 5, 2023
“And the thing that is always mentioned is, ‘You know, Cam, you scarin’ people with how you look,’ and I would say, ‘Yo, like I’m not gonna name names, but there’s other quarterbacks that’s in the league that don’t look like me, but they got long hair,’ They don’t scare them, do they?” Newton added.
“I hope I’m not being blackballed for that, but I don’t think that’s the situation,” he added after the host suggested that it may be a racial thing. “My hair is deeply rooted in my culture and the people that look like me.”
Once one of the league’s top attractions whose electric game on the field was matched by his flamboyance off of it, the swaggering Newton was never the same after having his dream season turned into a nightmare by a ferocious Denver Broncos pass rush in Super Bowl 50 back in 2016 when he was stripped of the ball twice, both leading to scores in what would be a 24-10 loss for his team.
Compounding the ugly performance in Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium was the perception that Newton choked with the game on the line, failing to give up his body by diving on a loose ball after he fumbled it late in the fourth quarter with the Panthers within a touchdown of taking the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to Charlotte.
With four minutes left in Super Bowl 50, MVP Von Miller strip-sacks Carolina's Cam Newton, who appears to hesitate when attempting to recover his own fumble.
The #Broncos' TJ Ward recovers and, four plays later, Denver scores to salt away its third #SuperBowl title.
OTD in 2016 pic.twitter.com/SOvuzKigzt
— Kevin Gallagher (@KevG163) February 7, 2023
Newton’s career got off to a fast start in its early stages that had some predicting that the Hall of Fame was in the future for the former college football star who, after winning the Heisman Trophy and leading the Auburn Tigers to the 2011 NCAA title, was the number one overall draft pick for the Panthers, thrilling fans with his awe-inspiring play and winning the 2015 MVP award – the first time that a black quarterback scored the honor outright – and a spot in Super Bowl 50 with a chance to cement his legacy at a young age before things went south.
Following the debacle against Denver, he would struggle with injuries, inconsistent play, and a declining team that would eventually release him, then bring him back after a brief stint with the New England Patriots to replace the legendary Tom Brady.
Newton has been out of the league since his last meaningful game action in a 32-6 beatdown on the day after Christmas in 2021 against the Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He remains the Panthers’ all-time passing leader.
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