New­ton not try­ing to please ’ emall

Tal­ented QB “scares peo­ple”

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Steve Reed

char­lotte, n. c. » Carolina Pan­thers quar­ter­back Cam New­ton sug­gested for the first time Wed­nes­day that race might play a fac­tor in why he has be­come a light­ning rod for pub­lic crit­i­cism.

“I’m an African- Amer­i­can quar­ter­back that scares peo­ple be­cause they haven’t seen noth­ing that they can com­pareme to,” said the 6- foot- 5, 245pound New­ton.

The No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft out of Auburn, New­ton has his share of de­trac­tors who don’t like how he plays, his cel­e­bra­tions or his abun­dance of self- con­fi­dence.

New­ton, a lead­ing league MVP can­di­date putting up record- break­ing num­bers, said he learned a long time ago that he can’t please ev­ery­one.

“Peo­ple are go­ing to judge and have opin­ions on things I don’t have con­trol over,” New­ton said.

The stout and speedy New­ton is beat­ing teams with his arm and his legs, throw­ing for 35 touch­downs and run­ning for 10 this sea­son. He has helped lead the Pan­thers ( 17- 1) to their first Su­per Bowl since 2003. Carolina plays the AFC cham­pion Bron­cos on Feb. 7 in Santa Clara, Calif.

New­ton ac­knowl­edged be­ing leery of talk­ing about how oth­ers may per­ceive him.

“I think it’s a trick ques­tion,” New­ton said. “If I an­swer it truth­fully it’s go­ing to be ‘ Aw, he’s this or that.’ But I will say it any­way.

“I don’t think peo­ple have seen what I am or what I’m try­ing to do.”

New­ton said he hasn’t changed, and has pre­vi­ously re­sponded to his crit­ics.

“I said that prior to me be­ing in this sit­u­a­tion,” New­ton said of be­ing mis­un­der­stood. “But when I said it then it was like, ‘ Oh, he is im­ma­ture,’ or, ‘ Oh, he’s young and this that and the third.’ I felt a cer­tain type of way then, and I feel a cer­tain type of way now— noth­ing has pretty much changed. They talk about ma­tu­rity. They talk about skill set.… The only thing that has changed ( about me) is that we’re win­ning now.”

Pan­thers coach Ron Rivera doesn’t be­lieve New­ton should have to fight per­cep­tions about race.

“I think he has al­ways strived to have that sep­a­ra­tion,” Rivera said. “I don’t think he wants to be known as an African- Amer­i­can quar­ter­back; he wants to be known as a quar­ter­back. I think that is what drives him, to be able to tran­scend those bound­aries, which I think is great.”

Rivera, who is His­panic, said he has bat­tled that no­tion to some de­gree him­self.

“It re­ally should be about your mer­its more than any­thing else,” the coach said. “More about what you have ac­com­plished, what you have done.”

Carolina Pan­thers quar­ter­back CamNew­ton jokes with team­mates dur­ing prac­tice Wed­nes­day. Chuck Bur­ton, The As­so­ci­ated Press

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