Cam Newton blames JaMarcus Russell and Vince Young for criticism

Cam Newton: 'I blame JaMarcus Russell and to some degree Vince Young' for criticism

12/29/11 in NFL   |   Pat   |   5232 respect

In an interview with ESPN, Cam Newton made it clear who he blames for all the criticism that he received leading up to his NFL debut.

"I blame JaMarcus Russell and to some degree Vince Young. If you have the opportunity to make that kind of money doing something you love to do, why would you screw it up? I'm trying to be a trailblazer. If Baylor's Robert Griffin decides to come out, I want people to say 'He can be the next Cam Newton' instead of 'He's gonna be the next JaMarcus Russell."

Wait, what?

Most players will blame their critics for completely missing the boat on their so-called "analysis." Others will credit their success to hard work, and will thank their critics for inspiring them to improve. Cam's perspective is much different from most, and I'm sure no one was really expecting that response.

That having been said, he's right. In a sense, at least. Bomani Jones of SB Nation would disagree, and Bo's got a point too.

On one hand, the talking heads who, by default, compared Cam to fellow black quarterbacks Russell and Young were lazy, at best. Not all black QBs are created equal, and other than their position and the color of their skin, there was really no reason to compare Newton to Russell. Young, on the other hand, was a better comparison as a player, but anyone who has seen a Cam Newton interview should know that he shouldn't run into the character issues that we saw with Vince Young.

But is Newton wrong to criticize them? Of course not.

Vince Young and JaMarcus Russell had every opportunity to prove themselves as an NFL QB. Sure, maybe the Raiders were a bit dysfunctional while Russell was there. Sure, maybe former Titans coach Jeff Fisher never really gave Vince Young the same opportunity that some others have been afforded. But at the end of the day, they both had ample opportunities to prove their worth, and in the end, they both failed to live up to their potential.

Cam Newton, on the other hand, is already showing that he's willing to put in the hard work that it takes to be an outstanding NFL quarterback. He's not perfect, by any stretch. But we've already seen huge progress in less than one full year in the NFL, and it's obvious that he evaluates his own weaknesses on a regular basis and does what it takes to improve. His teammates believe in him, his effort is unquestioned, and he's showing that he can lead a team, even as a rookie.

Even at this early point in his career, Cam Newton has worked hard enough that he has earned the right to call out others who didn't do the same. Yes, that includes Vince Young and JaMarcus Russell. However, lazy journalists might want to remember that it also includes Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf, now Blaine Gabbert and a plethora of other white QBs who also flopped in the NFL.
Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview

4/13/12   |   WhoDat12   |   2252 respect

So I guess JaMarcus Russell can blame Andre Ware & Akili Smith for his criticism...

1/3/12   |   norburg427

I'm not a racist but great quarter blacks and white receives are rare, it is what it is. I think Cam should play for the Redskins, ask Doug Williams, it can workout!

12/30/11   |   cehjr3h   |   339 respect

Not only can he play but shows that he's an independent thinker too, You Go Cam.

12/29/11   |   Pat   |   5232 respect

 And no, today isn't "Cam Newton Day" on FanIQ. I swear, I'm done with him for now.