Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon has made more waves than the thing in the sky after which he is named with his recent remarks regarding possible racism in the criticism of quarterback Cam Newton.
Moon’s comments have been limited, with quotes to Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com and a couple of Twitter messages.
On Friday morning, Moon visited with KTAR in Phoenix.
“I just think it has racial overtones,” Moon said of the Newton criticism. “I’m not going to say it’s totally racial. I just think they just keep piling on. I don’t understand why they keep piling on. Because this is a guy that’s a very special talent that has done some very special things and they just keep trying to cut up every part of his game. There’s no way a guy could be as successful as he’s been whatever level that he’s been on and have all these different flaws that they’re talking about right now.”
Um, Tim Tebow resembles that remark.
“It really baffles my mind to come out with all these different things that they’re talking about,” Moon added. “How come they’re not talking to his offensive coordinator or they’re not talking to his head coach or they’re not talking to players on his football team? They’re talking to General Managers who probably had 15 minutes with him inside of a room at the Combine but they’re not talking to the people that were with him every day of his career at the University of Auburn to get their sense of what type of person that he is. And those are the people that I’ve talked to about Cam Newton. I’m not only going off of what I know of Cam as far as the time that I’ve been around him, I’m going off of what I’ve talked and asked questions about myself.”
In fairness to Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly, whose biting critique of Newton seemed to crossover at times from draft expert to spurned lover, Nawrocki told PFT Live on Thursday that he speaks to a wide range of people. It’s possible that Nawrocki spoke to teammates and/or coaches who were willing to be more candid when their names weren’t attached to the criticism — and when they knew they were talking to someone who wasn’t in Newton’s camp, like Moon is.
As to the “an entertainer and an icon” line, Moon acknowledges that it was an unfortunate remark.
“I think it did hurt him and I think he understands that it hurt him and if you listen to him on the NFL Network he apologized for coming out and saying the things the way he said them,” Moon said. “He felt like he didn’t say things in the proper way, but he knew exactly what he meant by what he was saying. He just didn’t say it in the right way. He does want to be a very special player. He wants to be one of the greatest players to ever play the game before it’s all said and done and there’s no reason to not have goals set like that. He did some very special things in college, some things that have never done before. And he wants to do the same thing at the next level, but you just can’t say those things before you actually do them. So he understands that he’s got to be very careful about the things that he says in the media. He’s still a young guy, he’s still learning with all this media attention that he’s getting, and he’ll get better at it as he goes along.”
So who’s the best quarterback in the draft, according to one of the best quarterbacks of all time? “I think it’s Cam Newton, I really do,” Moon said. “And if you talk to most coaches and General Managers around they’ll say the same thing. Yes, he does have his red flags because of some things he got involved in when he was a young guy. And yes that recruiting scandal is still out there as far as what actually happened between Mississippi State and Auburn, and I think that story will come out in due time. And I think I know the real story of it but it’s not for me to talk about it right now.”
Intriguing. Moon thinks he knows “the real story,” but he’s reluctant to talk about it “right now.” That makes us wonder whether “the real story” conflicts in any way with the explanation that Newton has been giving to the teams with which he has met.
“If you judge Cam Newton on what he’s done on the football field, what you think he can bring to the table for your organization, and then you need to spend time with him if you want to get to know him and know what kind of person he is, that’s the only way you’re gonna really find that out,” Moon said. “You can’t just go off of some of the things that he might have done that were immature at 18 years old. We all did immature things that we’re not proud of, but hopefully we mature from those things and that’s what they have to see. Will he mature from these things and become better? I think he’s already shown that he has.”
We’re waiting for more evidence to show that Newton has matured. He hasn’t said much since his Scouting Combine media session and NFLN interview. We’ve invited him to join PFT Live, and we’ve also previously invited Moon. We’re going to renew the invitation to both men.
And if Moon thinks talking to Newton is the best way to get to know him, why shouldn’t Newton talk to anyone in the media who’ll listen?