Last week, New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton expressed his displeasure with the way his former team, the Carolina Panthers handled the end of the player and team’s nine-year relationship. Clearly, he isn’t alone in finding the Panthers at fault for their handling of the situation. Hall-of-Famer and current co-host on FS1’s Undisputed, Shannon Sharpe agreed with Newton’s take.
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How Cam Newton Got Released From the Panthers
During the summer of 2018, David Tepper, a hedge fund founder and businessman worth more than $11 billion bought the franchise. He came in with new plans for running the organization that didn’t include long-time head coach Ron Rivera or Newton. This is normal in football.
However, the Panthers’ new owner nor its general manager Marty Hurney, who had been with the team on an interim basis since 2018, told Newton what their ultimate decision would be until the end, and it wasn’t done in the most personal way.
Coming off several injuries and poor play during that time, the Panthers couldn’t find a viable trade partner for Newton during the pandemic when no team could verify how healthy he would be, and thus Carolina decided to release him.
Sharpe and others find no issue with this decision as football teams have the right to do what is best for them. However, the Panthers’ decision to notify Newton via text message that he was being released rather than with a phone call, in-person meeting, or even over a Zoom teleconference was what raised eyebrows.
Cam Newton’s Take on the Situation
Newton talked about this gesture in a recent video:
What Shannon Sharpe Said About the Panthers’ Handling of Newton’s Release
Sharpe tackled the subject during a conversation with his co-host Skip Bayless. He believes Newton deserved better than this from the Panthers. Note Sharpe discussing his experience when he was released by the Baltimore Ravens in 2001.
.@ShannonSharpe on the Panthers telling Cam they were moving on via text:
"Cam Newton deserved better than this. 9 years as the face of your franchise, he deserved an in-person call. You can move on, but you owed him more than that." pic.twitter.com/ajWYottpjZ
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) July 15, 2020
Newton is the most valuable, popular and polarizing player to ever suit up for the Panthers franchise. He won a league MVP with the team in 2015, the same year he led them to a 15-1 record and an appearance in the Super Bowl.
His QB record with the team is 68-55-1. While it’s fair to think Newton’s best days are behind him, it’s hard to imagine a player who has been so significant to an organization would be dismissed without at least receiving a phone call.
In addition to his contributions on the field, Newton had established himself as quite the philanthropist in Charlotte. The stories of his giving in the community are all positive.
Because of the way he played the game, with tons of heart, and the manner in which he entrenched himself in the community, calling him up on the phone and explaining it to him would have been the classy thing to do. Unfortunately, the Panthers took the alternative route and may have stained their reputation with players in the future.
Newton’s Redemption Song With Patriots
Heading into the 2020 season, Newton has an opportunity to make the Panthers regret their decision. If he can take the reins with the Patriots the way many believe he can, the payoff could be huge for the player and team.
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