Nashville Tennesee Titans fan Rosemary Plorin attended Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers with her fourth-year daughter. On Monday, she sent us this note she wrote to Panthers quarterback Cam Newton:
Dear Mr. Newton,
Congratulations on your victory in Nashville today. Our team played well, but yours played better. Bravo to the organization of the Panthers.
This game turned out to be my nine year old daughter’s first live experience in the NFL. She was surprised to see so many Panthers fans sitting in our section of the stadium; that doesn’t happen a lot at fourth-grade football games. And she was excited that we were close to the end zone, so we would be close to ‘the action’, especially in the second half.
Because of where we sat, we got a close-up view of your driving in the fourth quarter. The chest swells. Pelvic thrusts. The arrogant displays and taunts “in front” of players and fans of the Titans. We have seen it all.
I refuse to believe that you don’t realize that you are a role model. You get paid millions of dollars every week to play hard and be a leader. In the off season, you are supposed to make appearances, support charities, and inspire young children to play your sport and all sports. With everything the NFL has been through in the past few years, I have no doubt that they have indicated that you are, by virtue of your position and your choice of career, a role model.
And because you are a role model, your behavior stands out as behavior in the stands. Some of the Panthers fans in our section started taunting the hometown fans. You’ve been booed by many Titans fans, with a few offering informative, but not necessarily family-friendly, suggestions on how you might change your behavior.
My daughter immediately sensed the change and started asking questions. Won’t he be in trouble for doing this? Is he trying to drive people crazy? Do you think he knows he looks like a spoiled child?
I didn’t have good answers for her, and honestly, in an effort to minimize your negative impact and what otherwise was a really fun day, I turned her attention back to the cheerleaders and the mascot.
I could tell she was still thinking about it as we boarded a shuttle bus back to our car. “I guess he doesn’t have kids or mom at home to watch the game,” she added.
I don’t know about your family life Mr. Newton, but I think I’m safe to say that thousands of kids are watching you every week. You have amazing talent and an amazing platform to be a role model for them. Unfortunately, what you have molded for them today is selfishness, arrogance and lack of sportsmanship.
Have your coaches and mentors modeled for you, Mr. Newton?