Monday, November 15, 2010

The problem with Newton is his father

What should be a memorable and satisfying season for Auburn football has been tainted by the sobering accusations that Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Cameron Newton may have passed on attending Mississippi State because the school did not offer money requested by his father, Cecil, who has not exactly denied those claims.

Newton played last Saturday and was stellar in a 49-31 victory over the University of Georgia, passing for 148 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 151 yards and two touchdowns. He is one of the most dominant college quarterbacks in recent years but his father's greed may hinder a great career, just as it did with former USC running back Reggie Bush.

Kids coming out of junior college suddenly don't decide to ask for money to play. They get that idea from somewhere and in this situation, it was Newton's father who decided he was going risk his son's reputation by cashing in on his talents. It's not as if Cameron won't make enough money in the National Football League, he decided a college scholarship wasn't enough. He needed to be paid right now.

And his desire for indulgence could cost his son his reputation and Auburn University football wins. What gives him the right to do that? The parent is not on the football field taking those hits. And he is trying to rob his son's opportunity at a basic and enjoyable college life. He is on scholarship, which means he will live in nice quarters, won't be short of a meal and will have his books and tuition handled. In addition, he is probably the most identifiable Auburn athlete since Bo Jackson or Charles Barkley. And he singlehandedly resurrected a football program that had been reduced to the stepchild of in-state rival Alabama.

Auburn football is significant again, and Newton in the nucleus of that revival, but now it could all be destroyed by a headstrong father who believed he was intelligent enough to circumvent the system. He apparently hired a "representative," who contacted interested schools and said it would require more than a scholarship to attract his son.

Really? Did Cameron actually say that or was this the case of a money-hungry father looking to be compensated, perhaps to clear up a couple of debts while his son pays all the physical dues. Hopefully this is a case of a father perhaps associating with some seedy people who have decided to cause a stir with some exaggerations. Regardless, there is smoke to this fire and Cecil Newton is guilty of poor judgment if anything else.

The question why do parents anoint themselves responsible for capitalizing off their children's success? Instead of sporting a fresh Auburn baseball cap, sitting with the other parents and basking in pride, Cecil Newton tried to sell his son to the highest bidder, sacrificing his son's character and reputation in the process.

The money will be there eventually for Cameron Newton, but unfortunately his own father tried to jeopardize the two luxuries that all of us wish we still had, youth and innocence. Thanks Dad.