Warren Moon Comments on Cam Newton Criticism Ahead of Super Bowl 50

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2016

NFL draft prospect Cam Newton shares a laugh with former NFL quarterback Warren Moon, right, during a football workout Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Chris Park)
Chris Park/Associated Press

Cam Newton, despite posting MVP-worthy numbers while leading the Carolina Panthers to a 15-1 regular-season record and a berth in Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos, has continuously faced criticism for his touchdown celebrations and general demeanor.  

Former quarterback Warren Moon doesn't understand why those criticisms remain so intense and prevalent, as he told Mike Garafolo of FoxSports.com:

That's the thing I don't understand. How come they just can't let it go? If he hasn't done anything (recently) that's been against the law or anything that would cause negative publicity, isn't out in the world doing something wrong except for just dancing after a touchdown, I mean what is the big deal? He's worked toward maturity in the last five or six years he's been in the league and has done positive things to erase a lot of that negative stuff from when he was 18, 19 years old. I just don't know why people can't let all of that stuff go.

You'd think he raped like five pastors' daughters over the last five years and he's getting away with it the way people are talking about him.

The negativity from Newton's past Moon alluded dates back to his college days. As Garafolo noted, Newton was arrested for allegedly stealing a laptop while he was enrolled at Florida—he ultimately transferred to Auburn—and his father was accused of asking schools for money in exchange for Newton's commitment. 

Moon believes, then, that the backlash against Newton stems from that history, his status as a nontraditional quarterback and the fact that race plays a major part in the public's perception of the quarterback.

"Some people aren't going to like him because of his skin color," Moon noted.

Part of the vitriol aimed at Newton surely can be attributed to his touchdown celebrations, from the Dab to his pantomime of ripping his shirt like Superman. For some fans, those histrionics have no place in the game. Moon himself has suggested Newton should tone down the celebrations, per Garafolo. 

For others, of course, football is meant to be fun, and Newton is just enjoying himself. He includes his teammates in many of his celebrations, he gives footballs to children after he scores, and it doesn't appear to be a distraction for him or his teammates, who continue to win.

Moon believes Newton's maturation has been as impressive as the improvements he's shown on the field.

"He's been unbelievably humble," Moon told Garfolo. "You listen to his interviews, he talks about his teammates and team all the time. Yes, he does bring attention to himself, but it's a celebration of him and his team. That is his personality; he's a very outgoing, fun-loving guy."

And he might be a Super Bowl champion in a week, too.