Instinctively, it’s the exact type of thing I’d want to see. A man cheering for his son who had overcome tremendous adversity in reaching his sport’s ultimate stage: in this case, the BCS Championship Game. Only now that it’s actually happening, it’s the very last thing I want to see. Because the adversity the son overcame was directly caused by his dad. But regardless of how I, or anyone else, feels about it, one thing is for certain: Father, Cecil Newton, will definitely be in the house tonight to cheer on his son, Cam, as he and his teammates vie for a national title.
Which means that Cam will not only be competing against the Oregon Ducks, but also against his old man. Again.
As you undoubtedly know by now, Cecil Newton is the man who NCAA officials say tried to cash in on his son’s athleticism, demanding money in exchange for Cam’s commitment to play football at Mississippi State. The NCAA, however, could not prove that Cam knew anything of his father’s actions, thus the sensational quarterback was cleared of any wrongdoing and managed to maintain his eligibility in spite of the scandal. Accordingly, the Auburn Tigers are now one win away from their first national title since 1957.
Cecil Newton almost did what no team has been able to do this entire college football season: stop his son. And in so doing, he nearly took the spotlight off of Cam’s incredible on-the-field accomplishments. One would think that was part of the reason Cecil skipped out on the Heisman Trophy ceremony (which Cam won in a landslide), as well as why he was given such limited access to the Auburn athletic program once the scandal became national news was to make sure that the spotlight was where it deserved to be: on Cam. But even in his absence, Cecil loomed large, his name mentioned repeatedly every time Cam was within sight of a camera. The only way Cecil could have played a larger role would have been if he had been alongside his son.
And tonight, he will be.
But I’m sure that Cecil won’t be a distraction for his son. After all, Cam has dealt with this scandal all year long. And Cecil certainly won’t be a distraction for the Auburn Tigers. They, too, have been dealing with this clown all year long.
But Cecil will most certainly be a distraction for me as I try to enjoy the game tonight. No doubt his greedy mug will grace my television time and time again. Which means I’ll be constantly reminded of the black cloud that has followed Cam Newton around since late October. The black cloud that threatened to wash out one of the most incredible seasons any college football player has ever had. The black cloud that arose from Cecil’s improprieties.
Cam has tried to put a positive spin on the entire ordeal. Last week, he told the Huffington Post, ”I look back at it and consider it a blessing. I think that whole process has made me stronger…I learned about so many people that are very close to me.”
One can’t help but wonder what Cam has learned about Cecil. Regardless, tonight Cam will have to share the spotlight yet again with his dad—the very man who was responsible for tarnishing it in the first place.