Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is always a topic of conversation among NFL fans these days, but that was even more true on Wednesday.
At his mid-week press conference, Newton sparked another round of conversation by saying race affects how he’s perceived. "I’m an African-American QB that scares people because my skill set isn’t like anybody else," Newton said.
While that is part of it, there’s also the fact that Newton’s brash persona rubs some people the wrong way. Charles Barkley, a brash and successful former athlete, said he totally understands why people would dislike Newton by the way he acts on the field.
Now add former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher to that mix.
Urlacher told USA Today that he’s not a fan of the way Newton celebrates all of the time and says he wishes he’d be more like Peyton Manning, who is widely applauded for being a classy competitor.
“I played defense so I don’t like when guys celebrate with dances and stuff. You know who I like the way he celebrates is Peyton. He kind of gives the guy a handshake and goes back to the sidelines. I think that’s a great celebration right there. You don’t see him dancing. You don’t see him doing all of that stuff. Even when he gets a first down he doesn’t do anything.”
That said, Urlacher wouldn’t mind if the Panthers won the Super Bowl, as Ron Rivera was his coach in Chicago.
“I’m a huge Ron Rivera fan, I played for Ron for three years in Chicago. Obviously Charles (Tillman) is there and Jared Allen, I’ve known Jared for a few years. I’d like to see Peyton go and win the Super Bowl and then retire because I’m such a huge Peyton Manning fan but at the same time you don’t get many chances to get back to the Super Bowl and so Carolina, you know you’d like to see them win as well.”
And to everyone criticizing Cam for his celebrations, well, he has a message: