Cam Newton: Casting a Better Vision

superbowl50Okay, first of all I want to say that I called it. If you read my “about” page you will know I liked the Broncos for the Super Bowl when everyone around me said Panthers. I just had to get that out there…Von Miller and the Bronco defense were amazing, as I am sure we would all agree. It was nice to see Peyton end with a pass on the two point conversion.

At children’s church during our regular church service a couple of weeks ago, the pastor asked the kids who they would most like to be like. Being church, the correct answer for kids is typically, “God, Jesus or the Bible.” After several answers of God and Jesus, the pastor asked, “Okay besides God and Jesus, who else?” A little boy shouted out “Cam Newton!”

I think we can all agree that being a celebrity, whether it is an athlete or an entertainer, carries with it a heightened awareness by the public of their existence and in conjunction with that, a perception of who they are. Regardless of how close to reality that perception is, they are stuck with it. Some feel obligated to work at a perception that is not really them, because their fans expect it. That isn’t always easy. Others obviously don’t care and that is not necessarily a good thing either. Whether they like it or not, they are also role models, and I think that is a responsibility that goes along with celebrity status. The little boy that shouted out Cam Newton’s name is obviously looking up at him as a role model.

By reaching celebrity status, they are also forced to give up their “normal” lives. The onus of not being able to go anywhere without being recognized and approached by fans may sound attractive at first, but I am guessing it gets old pretty quick. While being a celebrity carries lots of perks and is often the result of very hard work and dedication towards a goal, when they achieve celebrity status it brings its own stresses. Cam found out in a big way what that means during and after the Super Bowl. He has not learned yet how to accept all situations on camera with grace. It’s a tough lesson but considering the stakes that were involved, I think we should cut the guy some slack.

It is easy to be gracious in victory, the truer measure of a man (or woman) is how they respond in defeat. But that also comes with maturity. Cam has a lot of great years ahead in the NFL. Everyone around me thought Carolina was a sure thing. It’s hard to keep your head on straight when you are a central target of Super Bowl hype. Yes, we all wished Cam would have done better in how he conducted himself. But he is human, like the rest of us – everyone of us falls short. Unfortunately for a celebrity, when they fall short it happens for the world to see. I think the best measure of Cam Newton will come in the months ahead as he responds to what happened. Grace and humility are a life-long process. I think we need to step back and let Cam learn the lessons of Super Bowl 50 with an expectation that he will. People respond to the vision others cast for them. Rather than focus on his failings at just one game, let’s respond with grace and cast a better vision for Cam and give him a chance. The rest will be up to him.

[image courtesy of vectorolie at]

Leave a Reply