Remember the Pro Bowl? Of course you don't! But CBS's Pete Prisco does, and he remembers Cam Newton being the only one of six quarterback in the game to actually face a pass rush. So now, after nearly a year of dogged reporting, Prisco's gotten down the bottom of things. It seems Cam Newton was mean to other players in Hawaii!
According to several players in the game, some from both teams, Newton's standoffish, diva ways made him enemy No. 1 in the eyes of some of the players.
"He was a total ——hole," one AFC player said. "Who did he think he was? He acted like the big s—-. Here he was at his first game and he acted like he was the star. Guys didn't like that."
The resort where players are housed is for them and their families only to prevent fan interference.
So when Newton turned down one player's request for an autograph and a picture for his kids at a function, it angered the player.
"Who the hell did he think they were?" said one player. "The only people around are families. He knew that. Yet he big-timed the guy by saying 'now's not the time.'"
Said another player: "It didn't matter who it was, he didn't care about anybody but himself."
It's a weird story, and not because it's not news—anonymous sources badmouthing a player is always news. Perhaps the only thing fans care about more than what players are like off the field is how they honestly feel about each other. It's this closed-off fraternity of media-trained players giving only the blandest of platitudes, and any real talk is welcome, especially if personal enmity translates to on-field violence.
No, more curious is the timing. A "let's bash Cam Newton" story would've fit right in over the summer, in the middle of a stupid flap about Newton doing paid autographs signings. It would've been relevant in October, when Newton was struggling and was accused of sulking on the sideline. Now it just appears out of the blue, while Newton is performing decently on a terrible team, but for the first time just playing football without any sort of controversy dogging him.
I'm sure the timing has a prosaic explanation—like, Prisco has been offhandedly asking players about Newton while focusing on more pressing matters, and he's finally gathered enough quotes to justify this piece. But without any more context, it comes across as an especially gratuitous shot at a player it's easy to go after. At least with the anonymous Tebow bashing, it was from players who had met him more than once.