Cam Newton: Rumble, young man, rumble!

Published 10:37 am Monday, February 8, 2016

A few weeks ago after the NCAA football national championship game I wrote about Dabo Swinney’s dance antics this past year; some he might still be doing in years to come.

Someone else whose dance-card looks bright right about now is Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

Thing is, to me, Newton doesn’t dance that much – maybe a couple of times this season I saw a little swag in the end zone – and besides, those first-down antics he does don’t count.

Speaking of ‘swag’, it’s defined in the Urban Dictionary as the millenials’ definition of what we old-schoolers used to call ‘cool’, or ‘style’. Newton’s got plenty of that. What he also brings to mind for me is what Muhammed Ali used to do in true celebratory fashion when talking about his boxing triumphs. He even had a mantra for it:

“Rumble, young man, rumble.”

You see, confidence can be contagious.

Confidence is what drives us to reach life’s goals we set and fulfill our destiny. Confidence is a state of mind that requires positive thinking and constant reassurance. Confidence is extremely important to our well-being and success.

And one of Newton’s defenders this week has been the man he burned for a touchdown three weeks ago: Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks.

“He hasn’t done anything wrong to anyone,” Sherman told a Seattle radio station. “He hasn’t done anything off the field or hurt anyone or committed a crime. He plays the game like a young kid’s supposed to play it. This is a game, this isn’t life, this isn’t government, this isn’t military or anything that serious. I think people are taking it out of perspective.”

J.J. Watt, the Houston Texans defensive lineman who chased Cam around Bank of America Stadium during week-two of the season, has always come to Newton’s defense.

“If Cam scores, he deserves to dance” Watt said. “Football is a game, it’s supposed to be fun. It’s a game.”

And this is from a guy who celebrates sacking quarterbacks with a little dance move all his own.

No, we haven’t seen anything like Newton. On his way to leading his team to a 15-1 regular season mark the team has had fun and they’ve been fun to watch.

They have talked loud, danced loud and celebrated even louder.

Newton displays an intelligence, talent and charisma to become one of most unique quarterbacks in NFL history. If you’ve been paying attention then you know there is something different about Newton, and it starts with speaking his mind.

“I’m an African-American quarterback,” Newton said last week. “That might scare some people because my skill set isn’t like anybody else.”

Face it, the guy goes out there and plays as hard as he can, living the dream and treating it like that. He’s honoring the game in his own way.

Sure it’s over the top, but isn’t that greatness: unapologetically being yourself!?!

There’s a saying: ‘Respect your opponent, but believe in yourself,’ according to Newton’s coach, Ron Rivera. Maybe that’s because as the only Latino coach in the NFL, Rivera knows what it means to stand out.

There’s another part to the Ali mantra that Newton would be wise to understand before he trots onto the field at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday. The former champ always ended his sessions proclaiming:

“I’m young, I’m handsome, I’m fast, I’m pretty, and I can’t possibly be beaten!”

Maybe Cam ought to change that to: “Dab, young man, dab.


Gene Motley is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7211.