The first item in Peter King's latest MMQB column is about Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and "maturation." Specifically, it is about how one of the NFL's most important figures refuses to set aside childish things and instead wallows in a state of doltish adolescence. When, the reader is left to wonder, will Peter King finally grow up?
The column begins with King's recounting of a recent one-on-one with Newton. The two haven't spoken since February 2011, when King tweeted the following:
But the other day at training camp, Newton approached the writer—King is very clear about who approached whom—looking to make amends. In King's telling, this is a story about Cam Newton taking a big step, swallowing his pride, and being a man:
He got right to the point. He said most of the people close to him wanted him to never speak to me again. Ignore me. I was one of the haters, so don't deal with me; just deal with the media who were either fair—in their minds—or consistently supportive. "But I am my own person," he said. "I think for myself. I make my own decisions. I decided I wanted to talk to you to see if we could work this out. I don't want to walk the other way every time I see you. That's not what a man does."
Now here's King:
"I've thought about what I'd have done differently," I told Newton, standing there in the auditorium. But I said we weren't face-to-face, and maybe if we were I'd have cautioned him about it; I wasn't sure. But I just figured he'd say it to someone else at some point, and so I used it.
The real pity, in other words, is that they weren't face to face at the time, and that King didn't have a chance to "caution" him—presumably about offering up quotes that would only draw the baleful attention of the hopeless tight-asses who run football teams. This is a strange thing for a journalist to say. This is not a strange thing for Peter King to say.