The Cam Machine & the WD-40

“I’m an African-American quarterback that scares people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to.” – Cam Newton

I failed mechanical drawing and I was lousy at algebra too, so if you’re looking for an explanation of how a “cam” works, I am the last person to ask. I know that when a camshaft starts to squeak, you need to get it lubricated or the engine falls apart.

Cam NewtonI also rode the bench for most of my collegiate sports career, so if you’re looking for an explanation of how a “Cam” works, I can only say things like, “Touched by God,” or “Superhuman.” I see men and women with that kind of athletic ability and as the expression goes, I can only shake my head.

I don’t know Cam Newton, never met him, but given all of the hype, scandal and unethical behavior that often surrounds sports, Cam Newton has never come to mind. His behavior has never registered with me as being eccentric, stupid, unethical or racially-motivated or any other type of cam-squeak the media thinks it hears.

Old enough to remember

My gray hair also reminds me that I have seen a lot of really ridiculous behavior among sports figures for quite a long time. It was not always bad behavior per se, just larger-than-life behavior.

Anyone remember one Joseph William Namath a.k.a. Broadway Joe in his ridiculous fur coat or pantyhose ads? How about that party animal of recent date, Jonathan Paul Manziel a.k.a. Football Johnny? Let us not forget everyone’s favorite number one draft pick, one Ryan David Leaf, a.k.a. “draft bust.”

My point is, if we’re looking for squeaks in the history of NFL quarterbacking, they are not all that difficult to find – and no, I have not forgotten guys like Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger or even the suspicions that still linger around Tom Brady.

BUT…whether the QB was Michael Vick or Johnny Manziel or even Joe Namath, the critics were visible, vocal and usually had something important to say. We knew who they were and they applied their own specific brands of WD-40 to every scandal mentioned.

So now I hear Cam Newton defending himself to “critics” and defending himself on the basis of race. I am both shaking my head and scratching my head because to date (always willing to admit my flaws), I have not read or seen one negative article written by any identifiable journalist on the topic of Cam’s behavior caused by him being an African-American quarterback. Sorry. Don’t see it, haven’t read it, don’t know where it’s coming from and most importantly, could care less.

What I have seen are intimations, suppositions, gossip and innuendo. I have yet to hear one credible person saying, “Cam Newton scares me because he is an African American QB who celebrates in the end-zone.” Here’s a hint: W-a-a-a-y before Cam Newton there were players celebrating in the end-zone, and w-a-a-a-y after he leaves it will be the same.

From an ethics point of view, I think the innuendos started because we are a society that must somehow stir pots and create controversy when they don’t exist. It goes along with another popular game: shaming. Why do people to this? Because it is easier to create tension and ratings than it is to sit down and solve our problems.

However I also feel much of this tension comes from sources far removed from most of us fans. I am willing to make a guess or two, though. If someone in the media, entertainment industry or PR machine has something to say, rather than intimate, stand up and say it, or shut-up.

What really scares us about Cam Newton? Maybe it’s because he is so damn good. Compared to Cam, most of us are bench-sitters. I have no idea who will win next Sunday, except for a handful of wealthy owners and sponsors. We, as fans, must honestly celebrate athleticism and ability, and recognize the unethical hype-sters for who they are.


For more info on Sports Ethics LLC:

Chuck Gallagher, President, (828) 244-1400






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