Cam Newton wears the number one on his football jersey. Newton is a Heisman Trophy winner, NCAA champion, an NFL number one draft pick, and an endorsement deal goldmine. With all of these things comes pressure.
Cam Newton has been under major scrutiny since the Panthers’ embarrassing home loss to the New York Giants last Thursday.
This should be of no surprise to anyone, since Newton was under similar scrutiny before he ever played one game in Charlotte. Former Panthers quarterback, Steve Beuerlein was one of Cam Newton’s biggest detractors after he was drafted, along with WFNZ sports talk radio personality and former Panther, Frank Garcia.
Somehow with all of the negative commentary, Newton managed to have a stellar rookie season.
By the end of the season, the rookie quarterback had rewritten the record book in Charlotte and many more in the NFL (including most passing yards by a rookie with 4,051, previously held by Peyton Manning with 3,739; and most rushing touchdowns by a QB with 14). Newton joined Steve Smith in 2001 as being the second Panther rookie to be named to the Pro-Bowl. On February 4, 2012, Newton was named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. (Wikipedia)
But in his sophomore season, Newton is faced with new criticism. An opinion editorial cartoon appeared in the Charlotte Observer depicting Newton as a Hello Kitty t-shirt clad player. That cartoon has gained national attention placing Newton even further under the microscope. Newton has been called “spoiled”, “sulky”, and “immature”. His ability to lead and decision-making have been questioned.
So how might a twenty-three year old professional athlete handle such a firestorm? It has been reported that Newton is seeing a sports’ psychologist. Newton denies the reports. But it may not be such a bad idea.
When you are an athlete of Newton’s caliber, the talent and fame are both a blessing and a curse. Many athletes have failed to handle the pressure of all that career in the spotlight brings.
Often fans and others look at athletes in an almost inhumane manner. For many sports writers and media in general, these men (and women) are merely objects on a playing field. However, the athletes are merely human beings with a special talent that affords them a lifestyle that many merely dream of having. But with that lifestyle comes the overwhelming criticism and overwhelming expectations.
Dwight Hollier, former Miami Dolphin middle linebacker and current licensed professional counselor in Charlotte, spoke with the blog YourBoyfriendsBestGirlfriend.com about the added pressures many athletes feel when faced with the ups and downs of their careers, how it could lead to depression, and the stigma of receiving therapy. Mr. Hollier also talked with ProFootballTalk blog about the NFL’s push to provide counseling and other services to athletes as part of the league’s Player Engagement Program.
The program offers athletes assistance in the following areas:
|Career Development||Financial Education|
|Career Transition||Player Assistance and Counseling Services|
Cam Newton is probably not at the point of needing therapy. Many see nothing wrong with his attitude toward the game. Fans still root for his success. The cheers and jeers he receives are all part of the game. However, at some point it may become too much to handle.
Do you think Cam Newton is under undue scrutiny?
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