It’s not uncommon for NFL players to deal with trash talk, but it is out of the ordinary when its source is from someone who not only isn’t in the league, but isn’t even old enough to play there.
But a video that surfaced on Sunday shows 10-year NFL veteran Cam Newton exercising considerable patience and restraint with what appears to be a stuffy football camper. It is not known when and where the video was recorded, but it probably happened within the past year, given that the kid repeatedly used the chorus, “You are a free agent.”
The video, which comes from TikTok, shows the unnamed kid continuing to trash-talk Newton, calling him “a -“, saying he’s “poor” and repeating that he is – or is on. the point of becoming – a free agent. Newton tries to stop the child by saying several times: “I am rich” (which he is, having done $ 122 million more than 10 seasons in the NFL) before asking to see the player’s father. It is not known how the confrontation ended.
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Newton, you will recall, won the Blinn College Junior National Championship; the BCS National Championship in Auburn; the Heisman Trophy; became the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft; won the 2015 NFL MVP title; and took the Panthers to Super Bowl 50. While his year in New England was certainly below-par, that doesn’t reflect what has been an incredible amateur and professional career.
A Twitter account titled “Carolina Blitz” later released a statement from Newton; he defended his actions, saying he tried to put an end to the unnecessary back and forth with “the child” and to 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 child, unfortunately, remained stubborn.
Perhaps he would have done better to ask Newton what it takes to be successful at the highest level of the sport than to speak at close range. While Newton seemed to be taking the high road in the showdown, Twitter was far from obliging; several users criticized the child for the disrespect he showed in the brief clip:
you will have to forgive me. I grew up in a time when it was clear that teens who spoke like adults were treated like adults. I can’t imagine being that age telling CAM NEWTON he’s “ass”. Are you serious? https://t.co/dJJzXlgpoo
– bomani (@bomani_jones) February 21, 2021
Imagine a kid talking to a professional football player who was the No. 1 pick in his draft, an NFL MVP, and starting Super Bowl QB that way. What has he done to justify making fun of Cam as he gives 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 big guy like Cam, how to overcome adversity and be a league MVP that you have a 1% chance of doing. Smh.
AT AN EVENT, IT MUST NOT BE REACHED … to support you …? https://t.co/RNcBEyyccz
– Justin Simmons (@ jsimms1119) February 21, 2021
Honestly, Cam handled it pretty well. Someone else could have introduced this young man to Sir Left and Sir Right. I don’t know if it’s generational, but I come from a place and time where you don’t address adults like that. https://t.co/um3m6K6ybO
– Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) February 21, 2021
These new kids are trading their knowledge for laughs these days and jokes aren’t even funny. Soak up the game of a grown up don’t be a clown https://t.co/jZq2ex1JkG
– Charles James II (@CJDeuce_) February 21, 2021