Cam Newton has to be hearing the “haters” and the “doubters” more than ever.
The Patriots quarterback sounds like he’s channeling the noise in the right way. But it remains to be seen if he has enough for his approach to translate on the field. If he does, he’ll have throwing coach George Whitfield Jr. to thank, among others.
But for now, Newton’s message for the “hate” sounds like a hollow rehash of the many workout videos he posted in 2020. Whitfield got him going again in a recent Instagram story, which you can watch above. Whitfield’s question to Newton was, essentially, ‘How do you process haters?’
“It’s simple: feed your focus, feed it,” Newton said. “If hate ain’t in my focus, I don’t feed it. I feed off of it, but I don’t feed it, it’s two different things. When I sense, or when I dwell on hatred, that’s the product that’s going to come out – rage, anger. But that’s the hatred using me, not me using the hatred. So I want to process that and make that fuel me. I don’t dwell on what a person has said, what this person has said, she said. I just use it to my advantage and I feed what I want it to feed.”
There’s certainly a good chance that Newton improves upon the 2020 season, when he threw only eight touchdown passes for the Patriots with an 82.9 passer rating. He remains likable and easy to root for when you come out of his press conferences. If people criticize him despite playing well, or rag on him about trivial details like his Superman celebration, his hats, his shoes, it’s not even worth his attention.
But it’s not the true root of the “hatred.” The “anger” in question came mainly from Newton’s inability to throw the football or command the Patriots offense at even a serviceable level. After trudging through nearly a full season of Newton’s physical and mental inconsistencies on the field, the criticism is more justified than it was a year ago.
That’s why this latest message falls flat. The Instagram videos mean nothing until Newton proves people wrong on the field in real games. And while Newton may be facing a legitimate competition with rookie Mac Jones for the Patriots’ starting quarterback job, Bill Belichick seems ready to give him every opportunity to keep it.
But ignoring the noise is only half the battle. For Newton, the goal is to take away the noise’s right to exist.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.