There was no shortage of gems that came from Cam Newton’s interview on the I Am Athlete podcast. Likewise, some of the reactions from local Boston media have been nearly as interesting.
Case in point, NBC Sports’ Tom Curran sat down with colleague Phil A. Perry to discuss Newton’s interview. As usual, Curran was the rawest of the two with his take.
He dropped several eye-opening, anti-Newton-return lines during the podcast. Perhaps the most insulting came when he called the 2015 NFL MVP “a red zone fullback who can throw.”
I’m not sure there’s a less flattering way to describe a starting NFL quarterback. Take a listen to the interview. The section begins at the 8:20 mark of the video.
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The Respect Level for Newton is Low Within the Traditional Patriots Media Group
It seems everywhere you turn, at least when it comes to the media and foul-mouthed teenagers, Newton has become the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL. Curran also described Newton’s appearance on the podcast as a “charismatic plea by a desperate guy.”
No one in their right mind–including Newton himself–would describe his 2020 season as a great year, but all things considered, was it really as bad as it has been portrayed?
It seems most people with a mouthpiece and a platform acknowledges Newton didn’t have the best receivers. They also somewhat acknowledge the impact of him catching COVID-19 after signing late in the offseason and having limited time to learn a new offense. Even with these facts established and universally recognized as less-than-ideal impacts on 2020, it still appears Newton’s critics never give him the benefit of the doubt.
Curran and Perry spent most of the interview discussing Newton’s misfit for the Patriots. Still, both acknowledged New England would be a playoff team and AFC East contender if he returns and the organization surrounds him with better weapons.
Quite honestly, this exposes the level of spoils that exist in Patriots Nation, and the short leash many members of that group and the local media had on Newton. This sort of mindset is likely beyond comprehension for other NFL fanbases.
Patriots fans have won so much over the past 20 years; merely being a playoff team with a chance to win the division is viewed as unacceptable. Most fanbases would kill to have that scenario as a realistic possibility. As Newton said during the interview, “I’ve never been a favorite.”
His signing in New England was met with mounds of criticism, and despite getting off to a strong start in 2020, it didn’t take long for the darts to come when things started going bad–even with the positive COVID test.
Players Seem to View Newton Differently
The hosts of IAA (Brandon Marshall, Chad Johnson, and Fred Taylor) are no longer in the NFL, but it is safe to say their opinions of a player are much closer to the current group of NFL ballers than media guys and girls who observe from the outside.
To a man, those three massively support Newton. Marshall made his stance on Newton clear during a segment on The Rich Eisen Show the following day after the interview ran on YouTube.
That’s not to say to one group is always right, and the other is wrong. However, some level of credibility has to be given to players’ opinions regarding believing or not believing in one of their peers.
Even Patriots captain Devin McCourty voiced his support for Newton returning as the team’s quarterback in 2021.
We’ll likely have some indication about what the Patriots are going to do for the upcoming season over the next few weeks, but keep in mind, Bill Belichick didn’t allow the media or fans to sway him in 2020 when it came to starting Newton in 15 games.
Perhaps he’ll tune that group out again heading into 2021.
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