How to talk to your kids about Cam Newton

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As reported by the Charlotte Observer this morning, Rosemary Plorin of Nashville wrote a letter to Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton to communicate the impact that Newton’s fourth quarter touchdown and celebration had on her nine year old daughter, who happened to be attending her first ever NFL game on Sunday. The Plorins were sure to get seats close to the action, because like most kids, the end zones are the best place to sit because you never know when Cam or one of his teammates will pick you out of the crowd for the post-touchdown football giveaway. But the Plorins, unfortunately, got much more than they were expecting.

Because of where we sat, we had a close up view of your conduct in the fourth quarter. The chest puffs. The pelvic thrusts. The arrogant struts and the ‘in your face’ taunting of both the Titans’ players and fans. We saw it all.

As a father of two boys, I get where she’s coming from. We all obviously want what’s best for our kids, and we want to protect them from the ills of the world. Kids are smart, and they’re tenacious with their curiosity, refusing to allow blank space to exist within their comprehension of what’s going on around them.

My daughter sensed the change immediately – and started asking questions. Won’t he get in trouble for doing that? Is he trying to make people mad? Do you think he knows he looks like a spoiled brat?

All Mrs. Plorins is asking is for help talking to her daughter about Cam Newton, which is not only fair, but very admirable to admit when help is needed. As a parent, you can choose to address these tough questions head on, or you can deflect attention to other topics.

I didn’t have great answers for her, and honestly, in an effort to minimize your negative impact and what was otherwise a really fun day, I redirected her attention to the cheerleaders and mascot.

Great call. If I had an impressionable nine year old daughter with a desperate need to find a role model at an NFL game, I’d DEFINITELY prefer that she focus on the Titans cheerleaders instead of the dancing quarterback.
But I really feel like you missed an opportunity to teach your daughter some life-lessons by turning her attention away from dancing Cam. Newton is the quarterback, and quarterbacks are supposed to be leaders. Leaders demand respect just by being who they are, and they don’t need to be all “hey look at me” after every accomplishment. Does a surgeon dabb after a successful procedure? Does a lawyer hit them folks after a ruling goes in his favor? Of course not. And that’s why you want your daughter to have positive role models so she studies hard and gets into a good school where she can meet a doctor or a lawyer to marry. She’s DEFINITELY not going to be attracted to someone who looks like Cam Newton. You know, all showy and boastful, I mean. You want your daughter seeing someone who looks like Newton act like someone who looks like Newton (again, all showy and boastful) to see how much his teammates are turned off by his false charisma and personality and fabricated enjoyment of his job. I feel like if she’d seen that, she’d swear off anyone who looks like Newton (one more time, showy and boastful) for the rest of her days.

I could tell she was still thinking about it as we boarded a shuttle back to our car. “I guess he doesn’t have kids or a Mom at home watching the game,” she added.

I don’t know about your family life Mr. Newton, but I think I’m safe in saying thousands of kids watch you every week. You have amazing talent and an incredible platform to be a role model for them. Unfortunately, what you modeled for them today was egotism, arrogance and poor sportsmanship.

Right on. One small correction … he does have a mom, her name is Jackie, by the way, but I doubt she cares much about how her son behaves on a football field while “thousands” (millions) of kids are watching. She’s probably more focused on things like her son going back to Auburn over the off-season to finish his degree, or his life-changing charity work that he does for the kids of Charlotte and beyond. That’s just two talking points right there, but it’s a start in what you could tell your daughter about Cam Newton. Maybe she could even Google him. The internet is a much safer place than a football game.