An angry Seattle Seahawks fan has already closed his petition to ban Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton from ever returning to the CenturyLink Field.
Seahawks fan Andrew Tilton had started the petition to stop the ‘unprofessional, unsportsmanlike’ MVP favourite from ever playing in Seattle again, only to end his mission after a week.
The unrest came in response to Newton throwing a Seahawks flag, albeit with a beaming smile, while celebrating Carolina’s 31-24 win in their Divisional Round matchup with Seattle.
Tilton and his petition’s 2313 supporters somewhat misinterpreted the likelihood that, rather than trying to offend Seattle, the quarterback was simply celebrating an impressive win in what was considered one of the toughest Divisional Round matchups to predict that weekend.
Newton’s imitation of his clinical throwing arm with a 12th flag also sparked Seahawks fan Sarah to deem him ‘Mr. Classless’ in a letter proposing how he had disrespected Seattle’s famous 12th man.
What was he expected to do? His reaction to an opposition flag being flown in his face was one that all should expect. In no way was it a lack of sportsmanship, nor was it arrogance.
Is he being picked on?
It’s not the first time Cam Newton has been criticised for supposedly over-elaborate and offensive celebrations.
He was pulled up for his dance celebrations against the Tennessee Titans back in November when his ‘Dab on them folks’ move following a touchdown resulted in an unhappy fan writing in to suggest the quarterback’s actions were used to taunt his opposition.
The poor guy is just dancing! Panthers Tight End Greg Olsen was quick to come to his defence at the time, recognising how so many other players are able to celebrate in similar ways to Newton without being pulled up for it- giving the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Odell Beckham Junior as examples.
It seems to be a matter of fans picking and choosing who they like and who doesn’t bother them. His dominance this season in the NFL is perhaps the primary trigger as to why he is so often put down. The reaction by players and fans is generated by frustration towards the way he has run rings around practically every single team.
Celebrating a touchdown is a big part of what brings out the passion and determination in the NFL, which is why criticism of Cam Newton’s celebrations are ridiculous.
His smile from ear to ear when throwing the Seahawks flag acknowledges his sheer joy and expresses just how much he enjoys the sport he plays and how important his team is to him. His team had just beaten a strong contender for a place in the Super Bowl- the only team he wanted to think about at that time was his Panthers. It was in fact a great show of loyalty and leadership, as are his celebrations.
The spotlight belongs to him in Carolina and he plays to the wishes of the Panthers fans every week. To define him as ‘classless’ must be considered classless in itself. I think fans are missing the way he hands out the ball to young fans after scoring a touchdown and the work he does for his Cam1Newton foundation to help children.
He is doing what he does because he loves the game. His potentially life threatening car crash in 2014 has granted him the right to celebrate everything he achieves without query. As I have grown to become a big NFL fan over the past year or so, I can vouch for the fact that his personality shines through and is crucial in putting American Football on the map.
I love what he does and do not have a problem with the way he presents himself. He doesn’t deserve some of the criticism he is getting. If he does lead his side to Super Bowl 50 glory, it is deserved for the way he has carried his team at times this season. It will certainly be interesting to see him line up as the new breed of star quarterbacks against the legend that is Peyton Manning.