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Cam Newton is Deion Sanders lite
Prince Williams / Contributor, Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post / Contributor | Getty Images

Cam Newton is Deion Sanders lite

He knows how to draw attention to himself. He’s clueless about being a coach.

Cam Newton is not a leader. Never has been.

Talent, the greatest resource in sports, powers performance. It undermines virtually everything else, most especially leadership. Talent cuts corners. It ignores details. It limits humility. It seeks attention and credit.

Talent blinds. It’s like a woman with perfect skin, large breasts, and curvy hips. Talent intoxicates the beholder and its worshippers.

Respect is a two-way street. Cam Newton doesn’t respect the position he holds in the sports world.

No one in football has ever had more talent than Cam Newton. He had Hall of Fame talent as a quarterback, a receiver, tight end, left tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker, inside linebacker, and safety.

Newton will never make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame because he chose to play the one position that requires a modicum of leadership ability. The same shortcoming will curtail his success as a football coach. Coaches must be leaders. It’s not enough to have passion for the game and an affinity for helping kids.

Coaches must lead. Cam cannot do that.

On Sunday, while overseeing his 7-on-7 football team, Newton was involved in a brawl with two coaches from an opposing team and several others. Based on the video footage we’ve seen thus far, Cam appears to be defending himself from an unprovoked attack.

Social media immediately jumped to Cam’s defense.

I’m not going to do that. I’m not surprised two opposing coaches who previously worked with Newton attacked the former NFL star. Cam has the persona of a diva wide receiver. He loves to talk trash to the opposition, including kids. Two years ago, a viral video captured Cam going back and forth with teenagers who were heckling him. Anyone who watched the video from two years ago shouldn’t be surprised that things have escalated.

When a coach, even a multimillionaire coach, exudes an in-your-face attitude, it should come as no surprise that someone got in Cam’s face. He invites it.

Respect is a two-way street. Cam doesn’t respect the position he holds in the sports world. He never has. He wanted to reinvent the quarterback position and what leadership at that position looks like. It worked until the moment it quit working. It quit working long before Newton’s talent diminished.

At 34, he’s out of the game prematurely. He’s reinventing himself as a podcaster and 7-on-7 coach. Podcasting fits Cam’s personality. He knows how to draw attention to himself. He’s clueless about being a coach.

Coaches don’t talk trash to opponents. Coaches lead with humility and stoicism. They’re unflappable.

On Saturday, the day before the brawl, Cam’s 7-on-7 team lost to Top Shelf Performance in a game that the event organizer, Nehemiah Mitchell, described as heated and filled with trash talk. Two Top Shelf coaches attacked Newton on Sunday.

Maybe Newton was trying to share Bible verses when the coaches approached him? Or maybe Newton had descended into the verbal mud with two men envious of his wealth and status?

What we know for sure is that Newton rejects the burden of presenting himself like a traditional leader. He’s part of the new fad in coaching, a model that centers the outsized personality of a former superstar athlete.

Newton is Deion Sanders Lite. The same people who worship Coach Prime spent much of Sunday defending and celebrating Cam Newton. The worshippers went so far as to blame “kids” for not properly respecting Newton.

Never mind that two other football coaches attacked Newton first. It’s easy to blame the kids. The real blame falls at the feet of grown men who place themselves in leadership positions while still behaving like children.

Deion got away with it and turned the disaster of “Prime Prep” into being the face of college football. At this rate, Cam is five years from being named Auburn’s head coach.

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Jason Whitlock

Jason Whitlock

BlazeTV Host

Jason Whitlock is the host of “Fearless with Jason Whitlock” and a columnist for Blaze News. As an award-winning journalist, he is proud to challenge the groupthink mandated by elites and explores conversations at the crossroads of culture, faith, sports, and comedy.
@WhitlockJason →