It’s not unheard of for NFL players to deal with trash talk, but it is out of the ordinary when its source comes from someone who not only isn’t in the league, but also isn’t even old enough to play in it.
But a video that surfaced Sunday shows 10-year NFL veteran Cam Newton showing considerable patience — and restraint — with what appears to be a mouthy football camper. It’s uncertain when or where the video was recorded, but it likely occurred in the last year, considering the child repeatedly used the refrain, “You’re a free agent.”
The video, which originates from TikTok, shows the unnamed kid continue to trash-talk Newton, calling him “a—,” saying he is “poor” and repeating he is — or is about to become — a free agent. Newton attempts to shut the kid down by repeatedly saying, “I’m rich” (which he is, having made $122 million over 10 seasons in the NFL) before asking to see the player’s father. It’s uncertain how the confrontation ended.
Newton, you’ll remember, has won the junior college national championship at Blinn College; the BCS national championship at Auburn; the Heisman Trophy; became the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft; won NFL MVP in 2015; and took the Panthers to Super Bowl 50. While his one year in New England certainly was subpar, it doesn’t reflect what has been an overall incredible amateur and professional career.
A Twitter account titled “Carolina Blitz” later released a statement from Newton; he defended his actions, saying that he tried to end the pointless back-and-forth with the “child” and talk to their father. The account also showed the aftermath of the initial incident, with Newton trying to turn it into a teaching moment. The kid, unfortunately, remained obstinate.
Perhaps he would have been better off asking Newton what it takes to succeed at the highest level of the sport instead of talking smack. While Newton seemed to take the high road in the confrontation, Twitter was less than obliging; several users criticized the kid for the disrespect he showed in the brief clip:
you’ll have to forgive me. i grew up in a time when it was clear that teenagers talking like adults got treated like adults. i can’t imagine being that age telling CAM NEWTON that he’s “ass.” you serious? https://t.co/dJJzXlgpoo
— bomani (@bomani_jones) February 21, 2021
Imagine a child talking to a pro football player who was the No. 1 pick in his draft, an NFL MVP and starting Super Bowl QB this way. What has he done to justify mocking Cam as he’s giving his time to these young athletes? https://t.co/PsEKz5rw41
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) February 21, 2021
He tried to be funny in front of his friends instead of asking a great like Cam, how to overcome adversity and be an MVP of a league that you have 1% chance of making. Smh.
AT AN EVENT HE DOESNT HAVE TO BE AT..to support yall..? https://t.co/RNcBEyyccz
— Justin Simmons (@jsimms1119) February 21, 2021
Honestly, Cam handled that pretty well. Somebody else might have introduced that young man to Sir Left and Sir Right. Don’t know if it’s generational, but I come from a place and time where you don’t address grown folks like that. https://t.co/um3m6K6ybO
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) February 21, 2021
These new kids trade knowledge for laughs nowadays and the jokes don’t even be funny. Soak up some game from a great dont be a clown https://t.co/jZq2ex1JkG
— Charles James II (@CJDeuce_) February 21, 2021