Thursday, March 31, 2011

Willfully oblivious

Copyright CBS Sports
Responding to the scathing criticism former Auburn University quarterback Cam Newton has garnered leading into the NFL draft on April 28, Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon – Newton’s personal mentor – refuted the denunciation of his star pupil by claiming, "A lot of the criticism he's receiving is unfortunate and racially based. I thought we were all past this. I don't see other quarterbacks in the draft being criticized by the media or fans about their smile or called a phony. He's being held to different standards from white quarterbacks. I thought we were past all this stuff about African-American quarterbacks, but I guess we're not."

Moon is responding to the analysis Newton received from Pro Football Weekly scout Nolan Nawrocki. The rough stuff is as follows:

"Was arrested in late November and charged with felony charges of burglary, larceny and intimidating a witness, informant or victim after stealing a laptop computer from a student's dorm room and throwing it out the window when police arrived at Newton's for questioning.  Charges were dropped upon his completion of a pretrial diversion program.  Reportedly transferred rather than face possible expulsion stemming from three incidents of academic cheating, including two as a sophomore when he put his name on someone else's paper and purchased a paper online, attempting to pass it off as his own work. … Was declared ineligible for a day leading up to the SEC title game — Newton's father, Cecil, allegedly enlisted an agent 'runner' to initiate a pay-for-play bidding war for Cam's commitment.  It was reported that Cam's desire was to play for Mississippi State, but he allegedly succumbed to his father's decision (Auburn) based on a six-figure payment. … Very disingenuous — has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup.  Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them.  Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement that continually invites trouble and makes him believe he is above the law — does not command respect from teammates and always will struggle to win a locker room. … Lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness — is not punctual, seeks shortcuts and sets a bad example.  Immature and has had issues with authority.  Not dependable."

Clearly there is a lot of baggage with this particularly gifted prospect.  Further a great deal of evidence has to be overlooked to make the considerable leap from accountability and sketchy connections to charges of racism, which makes identifying actual racism even more confounding when emotion and double standards are favored over comprehensive truth.

Moon's charge is more than a convenient diversion.  It's also reckelss.

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