ESPN headhunters are likely kicking in doors at a Virginia elementary school this Tuesday in the hopes of finding and hiring the young columnist who recently published a thermonuclear take on Cam Newton in his school newspaper.
Atkins has redacted the youth’s name, but we’ll just call the writer “Nate.”
Nate has always liked the Carolina Panthers, but he’s troubled by the lack of continued development of the man under center. He’s not sure Newton is the guy for Carolina, and he’s concerned the quarterback has lost the locker room—which is the worst thing that can happen to any person at any job.
Turnovers are a huge problem for Newton, and Nate isn’t going to pull punches here.
“He gets intercepted a lot,” the young reporter writes.
Now, Nate knows the Panthers are a talented squad that’s struggled recently with injuries and off-the-field issues. Every misstep can’t be attributed to Newton—just most of them.
“The players on the team are pretty good,” Nate writes. “I will admit that maybe the team is responsible for some of the losses, but most of the time it is [Newton’s] fault.”
The next section is where Nate dumps 50 pounds of burning thermite in your eye. He knows it’s not a popular take, but it’s for your own good: Newton must bend the knee Tim Tebow couldn’t and move farther into the backfield.
“There is a spot for [Newton] on the team,” Nate writes. “That is as a running back. That would probably use his talents better.”
After reading this, I believe I have located our young columnist:
Yep, it all comes full circle when you realize this #HotTake is just the beginning of the writer’s 16-year plan to supplant and bury all signal-callers to step under center for the Panthers. It also makes sense when you accept that Newton was a banged-up pile of bipedal garbage for Carolina who maybe didn't get enough support from his team over the 2014-15 season. Heck, maybe the Panthers weren't that good in the first place.
“Now that I think about it…the Panthers were never a very good team,” Nate writes. “Maybe he is not the only bad player.”
And there it is: the heir apparent to the First Take throne and the scalpel’s edge of the next generation of sports #HotTakers. Nate's got to work a bit on his brashness—he’s not old enough to sling opinions with zero forethought, context and nuance.
Small steps, though. Nate is a writer with interesting opinions, but you don’t become a true take-ologist until you can paint in the broadest strokes possible.
Dan is on Twitter. He’d like to see Nate talk LeBron James with Skip and Stephen A.