Cameron Newton is dumb. Not in the, “Hey, look at the dunce at the back of the classroom who keeps failing spelling tests” kind of dumb, but more in the, “I can’t believe he let that story leak” kind of dumb.
It’s a special kind of stupidity that is most associated with athletes and celebrities. For all of you who don’t follow college football (shame on you), Newton is a quarterback at Auburn University and a prospective Heisman Trophy candidate. And did I mention he’s dumb?
His story was already weird — kicked out of the University of Florida for stealing a laptop, he went to junior college and then back to Auburn to post up some crazy numbers on the football field. Then the story got even crazier. Apparently a former football player was acting as a manager for Newton and was demanding money from schools in exchange for his services. What kind of money? How about 200 grand, is that something you’d be interested in? Or, in the case of Mississippi State, apparently 180 large would’ve covered it.
Now let’s examine the problem, because obviously Newton isn’t going to be the first high profile athlete busted for trying to sell himself to the highest bidder. If you think that, you’re a naïve little princess who’s up way past her bedtime. But from what I’ve heard and read, he just might be the dumbest. Hiring an ex-player to go to boosters of a school and ask for money upfront was a bad life choice. Couldn’t he just ask for a small payment upfront and then the rest later? Would columnists and concerned citizens be as upset if the figure was 5000? That sounds reasonable, right? Hell, I’d pitch in a few bills just to see him play. It’s not like he’s cheating on the field — he’s a legitimate player. Just a dumb one.
I know Auburn paid someone. Everyone denies it, but let’s be real, someone got paid — otherwise this wouldn’t be an issue. Some old alumnus who lives in Alabama and runs a string of barbecue restaurants probably forked over the money. The sad part is that the story leaked. Even if I know all the good players are on the take, it’s much more romantic for me to think that they’re sacrificing years of their life to play a game they love. For free.
Ultimately, this story doesn’t matter. It’s just another bead on the string of college football players getting busted for wanting to get paid. The problem is that with every new story, there seems to be a growing realization by fans that, “Oh yeah, these are human beings who spend more than 20 hours a week doing something that we pay to watch, they should probably get a cut of that cash.” There’s even a court case coming before the Supreme Court about whether the NCAA players’ likenesses can be used in video games if they don’t pay them.
Hopefully they’ll get the message eventually and pay up. It’s only fair. As for Newton, he’ll survive. He’ll get drafted next year and get his money. In the meantime, I leave you with a quote from the brilliance that is Newton: “When God be blessin’, the devil be messin’.” Amen.
Maystrovsky is an alumni of the class of 2010.