It appears that Cam Newton can dish it out but can’t take it. Newton recently got his feathers ruffled by C’yontai Lewis, a high school graduate who is headed for the University of Florida in the fall. Lewis attended a 7-on-7 camp with Newton and sought Newton’s attention by giving him the “Gator Chomp” – mimicking an alligator’s mouth movement with his arms extended in front of him.
According to those in attendance, Newton took exception to the gesture, mumbling “so disrespectful” under his breath. To his credit, Newton was a good sport about it all, agreeing to take a picture with Lewis and giving him a signed jersey. It’s curious that Newton would be sensitive about something like this, as seems like it was all done in good fun. Considering Newton’s tendency towards bombastic gestures, you’d think he’d just laugh it off. Perhaps it was because the young man taunted him with the University of Florida. Newton left the university under a cloud of controversy.
Newton’s 2012 season was a tumultuous one as the Carolina Panthers started 1-6, and Newton drew heavy criticism for his lack of leadership and maturity. Newton seemed to rebound, catching fire, leading the Panthers to a 6-3 finish. This season will be a make or break one for Newton and he’s saying all the right things, but only time will tell if he’s serious about becoming the leader the Panthers need.
When we last saw Newton, he was exchanging pleasantries with 2-time NBA champion LeBron James after his Game 7 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. James repeatedly said of Newton, “That’s a bad boy right there.” Newton will need to channel his inner LeBron if he wants to lead the Panthers to the playoffs.