Auburn University quarterback Cam Newton is a day away from finding out whether he’ll claim the Heisman Trophy. Even though Newton is the best football player in football some writers are opting not to vote for him. Some writers have stated publicly that they will boycott Newton by not placing his name on top of the ballot.
We’ve all heard it: Newton’s father, Cecil Newton, reportedly had attempted to secure Mississippi State to pay $180,000 in exchange for his son to commit to the school.
As a result Cam’s father has been restricted from attending Auburn events. He won’t be present in New York tomorrow.
Then there is the recent suspension of Cam Newton by the SEC that was kept quieter than Jimmy Hoffa’s whereabouts.
The following day the NCAA stepped in by reinstating the embattled quarterback so he could play in the SEC Championship Game.
Don’t you think it is rather interesting how the SEC can make such a swift decision and keep it on the down-low from the media?
Furthermore, how the mighty NCAA--who typically takes their sweet time--can make a decision faster than Usain Bolt runs 100 meters on reinstating Newton the next day.
After all the dust settles on Saturday, I say give Newton his Heisman Trophy and let the chips fall where they may.
I wrote a previous commentary suggesting the controversy surrounding Newton is actually a mask to cover up a bigger issue in collegiate sports, and that’s the notion of whether college athletes should be paid.
As these Bowl games commence there will be tons of money exchanging hands from networks, conferences, universities and ultimately the programs who participate. None of the money will go in the hands of the most vital part of the athletic equation, the athlete.
To me this isn’t about whether Newton took money: It is about providing athletes with a stipend over the table so they will be less likely to consider getting money under the table.
Moving on, sports writers like Mike Bianci of the Orlando Sentinel and Michael Bradley of the Philly Post express vehemently that they will not vote for Newton even though he is clearly the best player in college football.
Bianci issued the following, “That’s right, it says the pursuit of excellence with 'INTEGRITY'. And, yet, here we have Cam Newton, a player who left the University of Florida amid allegations of academic fraud and after he was found with a stolen laptop computer and threw it out the window when police arrived; a player whose recruitment is being investigated by the NCAA and the FBI; a player whose father Cecil, according to the NCAA, tried to sell his son’s services to the highest bidder (but, um, Cam supposedly knew nothing about it)."
Not to be outdone, Bradley suggests, “My vote this year is a vote for the trophy. It is designed to protect the Heisman and what it means. If doing that deprives Newton of a spot among the award’s list of luminaries, so be it. I just can’t allow the trophy, which has been sullied in the past year by revelations that 2005 winner Reggie Bush had received more than a half-million in cash and prizes from a prospective agent, absorb another body blow.”
Writers like Bianci and Bradley are entitled to their opinion but their logic is seriously flawed.
What Newton did off the field at Florida is irrelevant. All that matters is what he has done on the field at Auburn this season.
Also, it was revealed Newton’s father solicited money from Mississippi State--not Cam Newton. Up to this point Newton has been cleared by both the SEC and NCAA to play football, right?
Last time I checked, the Heisman Trophy goes to the best player in college football each season. It is not given based on a player's aggregate career. It is not awarded to the best citizen or the most intelligent player, right?
Based on the latter, I cannot see any logical reason why Newton should be left off any ballots or boycotted. In my opinion it is merely misplaced anger of illogical sports writers like Bianci and Bradley who fail to attack the real issues in collegiate athletics like paying athletes.
Furthermore, I think this situation is a matter of there being different strokes for different folks with respect to media coverage and the administration of justice.
It is rather hypocritical for mainstream writers to jump on Newton like a trampoline when someone like Bruce Pearl admits to lying to NCAA investigators in covering up the array of violations he committed as the Tennessee Volunteers basketball coach. Despite the lies he still coaches, yet former Indiana University coach Kelvin Sampson was fired for doing far less than Pearl.
Where’s the media coverage?
The same media has not vilified the likes of Kentucky Wildcats basketball coach John Calipari. Calipari has consistently had allegations swirl around programs he coaches. Calipari has already forfeited two Final Four Appearances (UMass 1996 & Memphis 2007) due his wrongdoings.
Again, where is the media coverage?
Even though I am a die-hard Louisville Cardinals fan I cannot leave out Rick Pitino. I like Pitino but I must keep it real; he brought a level of shame to the university and his family because of the brief rendezvous he had with a woman in a restaurant. Then he had the audacity to tell the media to leave him alone and surprisingly they did.
The media and the NCAA are quick to shame athletes for what I consider to be minor infractions. Former Oklahoma St. and current Dallas Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant was declared ineligible must of his junior year because he lied about having a meal with Deion Sanders.
The media was also tough on Georgia Bulldogs wide out A.J. Green this year. He was suspended four games by the NCAA this season for selling the jersey he wore in the Independence Bowl last season for extra money.
So, the likes of Pearl, Calipari and Pitino essentially get a pass for their collective indiscretions yet that same media crucifies Bryant for eating a meal and hammers Green and Reggie Bush for getting paid.
In the words of Chad Ochocinco, child please!
If the media was more diverse in its coverage perhaps it could lead to more equitable reasoning and administration justice between the athletes when compared to collegiate head coaches.
Bottom line: Cam Newton is the best player in college football. Give him his Heisman Trophy and simply let the chips fall where they may.