It’s been easy this week to pile on Carolina Panthers second-year quarterback, Cam Newton. However the Charlotte Observer ran a cartoon in their Wednesday paper that might have been a little over the top, at least at this point in Newton’s career.
The cartoon depicts Newton performing his Superman touchdown pose, revealing a pink Hello Kitty t-shirt underneath. His thought cloud reading “I like to pretend there’s a big “S” on my chest.”
This cartoon is probably more in response to Newton showcasing his Superman pose last Thursday night after Carolina’s first, and only touchdown, against the New York Giants.
His trademark celebration could not have been poorly received by Panthers fans, who were witnessing their team being clocked by the visiting Giants.
The fact remains that Newton’s rise to stardom in the NFL happened sooner than everyone thought it would. Some pundits claimed that Newton would never be a viable starter in the league, most of which came before he ever took a snap under center.
Newton defied all odds in his rookie campaign; earning the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, breaking the record for most passing yards by a rookie quarterback, and becoming the first rookie quarterback to pass for over 400 yards in back-to-back games. Those are just a few of Newton’s accomplishments during his first season.
However, the Charlotte Observer chose to print a cartoon that mocks Charlotte’s biggest athlete ever.
Not only is he the city’s biggest star, he is its only star.
It’s not everyday that a professional athlete has kind words for the city he plays in, especially in a small market city like Charlotte. Yes, athletes praise the fans of a city, but Newton has gone out of his way to show support for Charlotte, making this cartoon even more ridiculous.
Newton had this to say about the city of Charlotte following a charity event in April, “There’s just so much on the rise, with what Charlotte is about to become. We have minor league baseball that’s up and coming. The Bobcats, a professional NBA team. NFL team. So it’s on the up and up is basically what I’m trying to say. This is the peak of time that you want to make an impact in the city. It’s not like Atlanta. It’s not like Miami. It’s not like Los Angeles. I understand that and I know that. But its one of many cities in the nation that is on the rise.”
Of course Panthers fans are frustrated with the way the first three weeks have started, and they should be. However, now is not the time to throw Newton under the bus. He’s the team’s franchise player, is only 23 years old, and has the potential to be great.
Hopefully this cartoon doesn’t cause him to walk once his contract with the Panthers expires. Great athletes never forget.