Cam Newton is one of the NFL's best players this season, if not the league's best player. The Panthers are 9-0 and Newton's 366 rushing yards lead all quarterbacks. In his latest act Sunday, Newton led the Panthers to a 27-10 road victory over the Titans.
For one Tennessee mother, the result did not matter. Newton lost the game.
In an open letter addressed to Newton via The Charlotte Observer, Rosemary Plorin of Nashville documented her Sunday experience sitting "near the end zone" at Nissan Stadium with her 9-year-old daughter.
"Because of where we sat, we had a close up view of your conduct in the fourth quarter," Plorin writes. "The chest puffs. The pelvic thrusts. The arrogant struts and the 'in your face' taunting of both the Titans' players and fans. We saw it all."
Let's see if that's true.
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) November 15, 2015
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) November 16, 2015
That is Newton doing "The Dab" and "Hittin' Dem Folks" dance moves. One could make the argument Newton taunted the Titans. Is this worthy of an open letter to the quarterback's local newspaper?
Plorin claims that Newton's celebrations caused Panthers fans to join in taunting, directing trash talk at the hometown fans. According to Plorin, her daughter was mortified.
"My daughter sensed the change immediately – and started asking questions," she writes. "Won't he get in trouble for doing that? Is he trying to make people mad? Do you think he knows he looks like a spoiled brat?"
Wow, that is a loaded analysis for a fourth grader. Again, this begs the question, is Newton wrong to express emotion in the heat of the moment? After navigating around ginormous defenders for a few dozen yards, is an unleashing of feelings wrong?
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) November 15, 2015
Plorin also talked about Newton's job as a role model:
"I refuse to believe you don't realize you are a role model. You are paid millions of dollars every week to play hard and be a leader. In the off season you're expected to make appearances, support charities, and inspire young kids to pursue your sport and all sports. With everything the NFL has gone through in recent years, I'm confident they have advised that you are, by virtue of your position and career choice, a role model."
This is where Plorin drops the ball. Newton's football career took him through three colleges before landing in Carolina. In five NFL seasons, Newton has been a fixture of the Charlotte community. His Cam Newton Foundation is a non-stop off-the-field endeavor.
Expressing emotion on an NFL field, not in the form of head-hunting or cheap hits, does not foil Newton's appearances as a role model.
One day before Plorin's letter, The Charlotte Observer's Jonathan Jones wrote about the other side of the story. As Jones says on Twitter, "I wrote a column on how and why Cam Newton is dancing like a young, successful black man."
Here's a tidbit:
"Of course Newton’s dances are a form of self-aggrandizement. There is an inherent 'look at me' nature to any celebration – white or black player, quarterback or otherwise.
But perhaps unwittingly, Newton is introducing a culture foreign to a good portion of Charlotte. Historically, there's resistance when that has happened. Sometimes it’s followed by acceptance."
Meanwhile, Newton's strategy is to get the ball in the end zone. When he does score points, he likes to celebrate with his teammates. Even if that means "dabbing" on opponents.
I think it's impossible NOT to like Cam Newton. He's cool. (It is OK to not like the hour-long end zone dance) pic.twitter.com/L5j0H4W3FU
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) November 16, 2015
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.