Cam Newton isn’t in the NFL yet but he’s already mastered the art of ducking the media.
“Every other draft prospect I saw stuck around and patiently answered questions – except Cam. He bolted toward an exit after signing a few autographs. I ran him down, told him I was from The Charlotte Observer and asked him to answer just a couple of questions. (The excellent broadcaster Mike Solarte from News 14, who is also here reporting on the draft, was right behind me with a cameraman in tow).
Cam said quickly, “I’m not doing any interviews.” Then he hopped in the backseat of a car that was revved up and ready to go.
Hmmm. It was very odd. I talked to one reporter who’s been going to these “Day Before the Draft” NFL media availabilities for about 15 years, and he said Newton is the only guy he remembers blowing off interviews.
(AFTERNOON UPDATE: I talked to an NFL source, who says that Cam Newton and his family did not accept any money or airline tickets from the NFL — as a number of prospects have not this year, instead preferring to let the NFLPA pay for their trips in a show of solidarity. So Newton did not feel compelled to play by the NFL “rules” in terms of doing interviews Wednesday, the source said. On the other hand, he was apparently the only one of the top draft prospects who did not accept a nickel from the NFL who came out and played with the kids — and you can bet those kids loved seeing him there and didn’t care whether he did interviews or not).
Not that Newton needs to talk to me to prove anything – he’s already made his case for the Panthers. But it does make you wonder what he will be like in the NFL when he just threw three interceptions and it’s time to face the music. I still believe Carolina should pick him at No.1, but it was somewhat jarring.”
You would think Newton would be willing to put on a great first impression this weekend considering the criticism that has haunted him … nope.
Good luck covering him in Charlotte, Scott.