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Salk: I’ve learned enough about Cam Newton to stop defending him

Cam Newton said it was "funny" to hear a female reporter talk about running routes. (AP)

I am extremely disappointed in Cam Newton and, more than that, I feel betrayed.

I know it’s not his fault that I defended him against a lot of (what I thought were) unfair or even prejudiced criticisms. He didn’t ask to be defended and I did so without truly knowing him or his character. But I thought people were treating him unfairly coming out of college and I wanted to believe that he could be a different type of quarterback, that he could take a different path where he danced, talked and dabbed his way to success.

Newton expresses ‘regret’ for sexist remark to reporter

Instead, he wilted in the Super Bowl and made excuses afterwards.

But even that seemed like something he could overcome. It was his first time struggling in front of the entire world. He wasn’t prepared for failure. He had put so much pressure on himself that he didn’t know how to deal with it going awry.

I was ready to forgive.

But in the last week Newton has said two of the dumbest things I’ve heard. First, he suggested that Colin Kaepernick had made the “ultimate sacrifice” with his protest. Look, I sympathize with Kaepernick and I think his protest has probably cost him his career. Agree or not with him – or his methods – it was brave of him to risk so much on something he feels this passionately about. But the “ultimate sacrifice” has been reserved for veterans or first responders who have given their life in service of freedom or our protection. To suggest that Kaepernick’s sacrifice of his career rivals those that lost their lives is tone deaf at best and truly insulting at worst.

But now Newton thinks it’s funny to hear a female reporter use the word “routes” while asking a question about football?

I don’t understand why it’s funny. I don’t understand why he would verbalize his feelings. And I’m done defending Cam Newton.

We don’t need to compare the relative fairness or struggles that various groups of people have gone through. It’s not about that. But it does seem relevant to suggest that any qualified person should have the right to do their job without being singled out based on their color, creed or gender. And Cam is entitled to his own thoughts, feelings, and (mis)perceptions. He’s even entitled to verbalize those thoughts. But I’m not going to defend him and I hope his sponsors take notice of his words.

Cam might recover from his Super Bowl nightmare – and last year’s ensuing hangover. He might reclaim his image. And maybe someone else will play quarterback with his style. But I think I’ve learned enough about him the last two years to stop defending him. Too bad.