Cam Newton's rookie season consisted of breaking records, leading the Panthers and inspiring the region- but all the while he was also a target of the Saints bounty program as they looked to take the Carolina signal-caller off the field. While in Los Angeles shooting a commercial for Gatorade the LA Times managed to catch up with Cam and ask him his opinions on being a target. Newton handled the question the way he has handled everything in the NFL thus far- with class, humility and honesty. (Watch the video here).
"It caught me by surprise. But with me knowing some of the guys on the Saints, I know they are good guys [...] Like they say, where there's smoke there's fire."
In this case the 'smoke' Newton is referring to are the three roughing the passer penalties the Saints were charged with against him in 2011. During the heat of the season it was easy to write these off as typical late hits, but in the wake of the bounty scandal everything is and should be under a microscope. Cam could have been justified in going on a Chris Kluwe-like rant, but instead he kept his composure and talked frankly, giving his opinion on why the scandal was deplorable. We'll talk about that...
After the jump
Update: Per Joe Person this interview occurred prior to today's findings, not after
"If I'm a running back, if I'm a receiver, if I'm a linebacker, if I'm a DT, you always have to respect that other person's career because they're feeding families just like I'm trying to feed my parents. If you take those joints, those ligaments away by taking a cheap shot, it's bigger than one, little 'Yes, we took down their starting quarterback.' This quarterback can't even throw any more because you took a late hit on him. Yeah, it's 15 yards. But you're limiting this guy's whole career."
At the end of the day this is what it's all about, and what ignorant fans who defend the Saints are missing. Football is violent by nature, but that doesn't mean players should be turned into gladiators to be consumed for the entertainment of the masses. What New Orleans did in targeting players was beyond deplorable, because it showed absolutely no moral compass, rather it was a willingness to get an edge no matter the consequences that flies in the face of everything we know to be right.
In just one year in the NFL it's impressive that Cam Newton gets it... and it's a shame that for all the work he's done in the community, and all the good he has done Drew Brees is still willing to turn a blind eye and act surprised at the judgement of the NFL.
Finally, because it deserves to be re-emphasized: