Outkick the Coverage

Outkick the Coverage

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Jason Whitlock: Why Cam Newton Fighting at a Youth Camp is No Surprise

Jason Whitlock: “Cam Newton is not a leader. Never has been. Talent, the greatest resource in sports, powers performance and it undermines virtually everything else, most especially leadership. Talent cuts corners, it ignores details, it limits humility, it seeks attention and credit. Talent blinds. It's like a woman with perfect skin, large breasts, and a curvy waist. Talent intoxicates the beholder and its worshipers.
No one in football has ever had more talent than Cam Newton. He had Hall of Fame talent as a quarterback, a receiver, tight end, left tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker, inside linebacker, and safety. Newton will never make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame because he chose to play the one position that requires a modicum of leadership ability. That same shortcoming will curtail his success as a football coach. Coaches have to be leaders. It's not enough to have passion for the game and an affinity for helping kids, coaches must lead. Cam Newton cannot do that.  
On Sunday, while overseeing his 7-on-7 football team, Newton was involved in a brawl with two coaches from an opposing team and several others. Based on the video footage we've seen thus far, Cam appears to be defending himself from an unprovoked attack. Social media immediately jumped to Cam's defense... I'm not going to do that. 
 I'm not surprised two opposing coaches who previously worked with Newton attacked the former NFL star. Cam has the persona of a diva wide receiver. He loves to talk trash to the opposition, including to kids. Two years ago, a viral video captured Cam going back and forth with teenagers who were heckling him. Anyone who watched the video from two years ago shouldn't be surprised that things have escalated. When a coach, even a multi-millionaire coach, exudes an in-your-face attitude, it should come as no surprise that someone got in Cam's face. He invites it.  
Respect is a two-way street. Cam doesn't respect the position he holds in the sports world. He never has. He wanted to reinvent the quarterback position and what leadership at that position looks like. It worked until the moment it quit working. It quit working long before Newton's talent fully diminished. At 34, he's out of the game prematurely. He's reinventing himself as a podcaster and 7-on-7 coach. Podcasting fits Cam's personality -- he knows how to draw attention to himself. He's clueless about being a coach. Coaches don't talk trash to opponents, coaches lead with humility and a stoic manner that resembles Tom Landry. They're unflappable.  
On Saturday, the day before the brawl, Cam’s 7-on-7 team lost to Top Shelf Performance in a game that the event organizer, Nehemiah Mitchell, described as ‘heated’ and ‘filled with trash talk.’ Two Top Shelf coaches attacked Newton on Sunday. Maybe Newton was trying to share Bible verses when the coaches approached him, or maybe Newton had climbed down in the verbal mud with the two men envious of his wealth and status. What we know for sure is Newton rejects the burden of presenting himself like a traditional leader. He's part of the new fad in coaching, a model that centers the outsized personality of a former superstar athlete.  
Newton is Deion Sanders-light. The same people who worshiped Coach Prime spent much of Sunday defending and celebrating Cam Newton. The worshippers went as far as blaming kids for not properly respecting Newton. Never mind that two other football coaches attacked Newton first. See, it's much easier to blame the kids. The real blame falls at the feet of grown men who place themselves in leadership positions while still behaving like children. Deion got away with it and turned the disaster of ‘Prime Prep’ into being the face of college football. At this rate, Cam Newton is five years from being named Auburn's head football coach. That's where we've gone with leadership.” 

Jason Whitlock of Blaze TV’s Fearless discussed the recent viral footage of NFL free agent quarterback Cam Newton involved in a fight with a large group of men at his youth football camp over the weekend, with Whitlock saying it’s no surprise that Newton’s ‘diva’ personality evoked such a rash and confrontational incident with an opposing coach. 

In the cell phone footage, Newton is seen shoving, grappling, and swinging on a group of men who appear to be instigating the brawl – which we would later find out were two opposing coaches at Newton’s 7-on-7 youth football camp who apparently had taken exception to something Newton had said. At one point, a third individual even jumped into the scuffle and tried to land a punch to Newton’s head. 

It was later reported that the incident was spurred by ‘trash-talk’ between Newton and the two men whose 7-on-7 teams had squared off with one another earlier that day, with one of the men saying that Newton had ‘disrespected’ him. 

Check out the segment above as Whitlock says the ugly incident highlights Newton’s lack of leadership, saying some of the same shortcomings he had in the NFL are responsible for the hostility Cam met at this youth camp, and adding that Newton’s lack of respect for his position, in this case as a coach, turned out to elicit a damaging consequence much like the way his NFL career ended.  

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