NFL player admits liking team from city he’s from

Getty Images

Oh boy, here it comes.

On the heels of a bunch of people getting their shorts in a twist over what Colin Kaepernick put on his head, another NFL quarterback has admitted — brace yourselves — that he’s still a bit of a fan of the NFL team other than the one he plays for, which happens to be from the city he grew up in.

During a Q and A with D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (who grew up in Atlanta) was asked how difficult it was to play his hometown team.

“It’s always a heavily critiqued game,” Newton replied. “I’ve always been a Falcons fan, and I’m still a Falcons fan except for those two times a year.”

And we’re off.

Newton was growing up during the height of the Michael Vick-led Falcons, and his proximity makes it natural that he’d have a certain attachment. And it’s probably unrealistic to expect that attachment to stop when he got a job.

Newton’s the face of the Panthers franchise, was the first pick in the 2011 draft, and will almost certainly end up becoming (even more) rich thanks to them.

His job is to beat the Falcons. And he’s done his part toward that goal.

The Panthers split with the Falcons last year (losing ridiculously in the Georgia Dome in the last minute), and Newton played some of his best football against them. He completed 64.4 percent of his passes (up from his season mark of 57.7), with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 113.8 rating (86.2 on the year).

It’s not the first time Panthers fans have had to confront such cross-pollination from one of their stars. On the heels of receiving a $72 million contract from the Panthers, defensive end and Georgia-native Charles Johnson was spotted in a club wearing a Falcons hat (though the best part is that he was photographed with Dan Aykroyd, who may have had a drink that night).

A certain segment of the fanbase freaked out about Johnson wearing a hat that matched his outfit, and he told some of them to take a hike on Twitter.

Which was an honest and fair, if not polite, response.

Likewise, anyone who gets lathered up about Newton’s words needs to take a step back from their allegiance to the team for a second, and remember that the people inside the laundry mostly come from other places, existed as human beings before being drafted, and will continue to when their careers end.

50 responses to “NFL player admits liking team from city he’s from

  1. So I guess the Pouncey brothers grew up in a town called Free Hernandez?
    …that in New Mexico?

  2. Why is this a thing? Really, though. There’s plenty of players who aren’t on their favorite football teams. Aaron Ross admitted to being a Cowboys fan after being drafted by the Giants. This happens every year. Why is this just now turning into a big deal?

  3. as someone who called out Kaepernick for his hat, I am fine with this. of course players are fans of other teams. that is absolutely fine. just don’t wear that falcons hat, or falcons shirt, and we are good to go.

    you are an employee of a franchise in competition with 31 others. just wear the gear of your team for the few years you must do so, and then do whatever you want.

  4. As a sports fan I have no problem with athletes having opinions, but do you always have to share them?

    As a Panther fan this is the stuff that drives me crazy about Cam specifically when I try to defend him. His favorite team is his own personal opinion, I have no problem with that, good on you. But for Cam as the QB and hopefully team leader or captain for the Panthers someday wouldn’t some maturity prompt him to say ‘I am the QB of the Carolina Panthers, the Atlanta Falcons are a division rival’…

    net:net just because you can doesn’t mean you should

  5. This isn’t the same as the Kaepernick hat issue and doesn’t have that some do&$he feel to it. Cam Newton was just being honest in his hometown

  6. When I worked at Boston Market, we were not allowed to bring McDonald’s in on our break through the front door, we had to use the back. Same thing here. You can be a fan of other teams, but while you are in the employ of a different team, you are expected as a pro athlete to represent your team at all times.

  7. A QB should never ever admit to being a fan of a team within his own division. Eli is a Saints fan; Aaron Rodgers is a 49ers fan; Jay Cutler is a Colts fan– fine. However you cannot be the face of the franchise and admit to being fan of a division rival. Period.

    Cam Newton- all the talent in the world, good guy by all accounts, but man he is slow to pick up on how to be the leader of a successful franchise.

    I love being a Giants fan!

  8. As long as the paychecks clear, you should wear that teams hat.

    You can still do some charity in Atl. Live there. Whatever. But right now, you are a fan of the team that signs your paycheck.

  9. This is normal, but you’re part of a multi-million dollar brand now. In the business world you catch flack and lose business when you support your employer’s/client’s opposition. Real life examples I’ve seen in the sales world:
    You can’t pay for a biz lunch with your Amex if your client is Visa.
    You can’t bank at Wells Fargo if your client is BofA.
    You can’t drink Coke if your meeting with Pepsi.
    You don’t rent a Toyota if you’re in town to see Honda.

    Obviously, you can do these things, but there will be consequences to your business, so you change your behavior to fit the needs of your employer/client. NFL players won’t get this, but their agents will and should prepare them prior to the draft.

  10. I doubt anyone has a problem with a guy saying he grew up as a fan of another team. Probably 99.9% of players aren’t drafted by the team they grew up rooting for.

    But saying you are a fan except for two games you play against them? Probably not the best way to express that especially if it’s a hated division rival.

    Let’s put it this way, I as a Pats fan would be mad if a guy on my team who grew up a NYJ fan said this. Not mad he grew up rooting for the NYJ, mad he continues to root for a division rival at all publicly outside the two games he plays them.

  11. Maybe he should have said that he’s a Panther’s fan for every game of the season. I suppose these guys don’t understand that their team’s fans are the ones ultimately paying the bills (and the salaries of every other team in the league) too!

  12. how don’t ppl see a problem with this!! if he were a packer and said I’m still a bears fan they would burn his house down in green bay lol

  13. Who cares if he still likes his childhood team? If I were to have made it into the NFL, I seriously doubt I would drop, no I know I wouldn’t drop the love I have for the team I grew up watching, the Buffalo Bills.
    As a matter of fact, I am willing to bet that Newton’s Atlanta Falcons have a huge part in his drive to succeed and eventually make a career for himself in the NFL. So basically, the Falcons pushed Newton in the right direction, right to where he is today.

  14. So what. Like the article said, they are humans. They grew up watching the sport, had their favorite teams and show some loyalty. I respect that. Did the Panthers really think Cam grew up a Panthers fan? Or SF think Kaepernick grew up a 49ers fan?

  15. High profile people that are less than intelligent should not express their opinions publicly. The more they speak the higher the likelyhood that they’ll embarrass themselves.

  16. I don’t see a problem with Cam being honest. He wasn’t wearing Falcon memorabilia. He simply spoke regarding his background. Rodgers, Cutler, Romo, and Eli must have done the same. Otherwise, how would we know their favorites.

  17. I’ve always been rather indifferent about Cam Newton, he hasn’t given me a reason to like or dislike him, so I really don’t care about him one way or the other. That being said, good for him to have the cojones to say what I wish more professional athletes would say…”I’m a _____ fan and I always will be, no matter what team I play for.” If people think that a player, any player, would throw a game because he’d rather his favorite team win than himself win, then they need to get their head examined. And we all know that is the root of people’s problem with it, even though no one will come out and actually say it.

  18. .

    Tom Brady grew up a 49ers fan. It has had little negative effect on his career to date.


  19. If Rodgers grew up being a Vikings fan and wears a Viking cap, I would first have a good laugh, then second I would email Wilf asking him to get him on the team. Ponder that.

    But seriously, if that is all you have to complain about, you must be having a good life.

    The world didn’t come to an end. Lighten up.

  20. Good on him. At least he’s a fan of his hometown team like a normal football fan and not some front runner.

    Anyone up in arms over this should go take a nap. You don’t swear some blood oath playing for these teams, and they’ll get rid of you as soon as they want.

  21. People in this country are just too think skinned these days.

    Oh noeesss !! A player likes the team he grew up being a fan of ! Sky am falling !!!!!

    I’d say there are far more things to worry about these days in the US than a player wearing his childhood team’s hat or logo once in a great while.

  22. Yeah, I have a problem with this – 2 of them, actually.

    1) That he’s a fan of a division rival. As Panther fans, the Bucs, Falcons and Saints have given us many reasons on many occasions to hate them passionately. With the Falcons, it’s mainly the post-game comments in the 2 Panthers-Falcons games from their QB and small, weird-shaped kicker.

    2) That he said he’s a Falcon fan except 2 games a year. You gotta be kidding me. As a Panther fan, I want all 3 of the division rivals to go 0-12-4 (that is, lose every game except the games amongst themselves, which ideally would end in 0-0 ties). I was a Raiders fan before the Panthers existed, so I still have a ton of Bronco hatred in me. But when Denver is playing Atlanta, New Orleans or Tampa, GO DONKEYS! Absolutely any success by any of these 3 teams is a bitter disappointment. So he’s a Falcons fan except the 2 Panthers-Falcons games? Great, we have a Falcons fan lining up behind center when Seattle comes calling in week 1. This is not a comforting thought.

    I suppose some will say that this makes me shallow, petty and small. Fine, I can live with that.

  23. “small, weird-shaped kicker”

    I have no idea what this means as I don’t follow the NFC South, but this has me smiling. There has to be a ridiculous back story here.

  24. Joe Montana is still a Steelers fan. And none of us should have a problem with that.

    Of course, Joe didn’t talk about it during his San Fran career, but what difference does it make?

  25. Alternatively: NFL player admits liking team from his own hometown.

    Just in case you prefer to write as if the English language is one that you are familiar with…

  26. No one should give this guy flack and media talking heads not withstanding.

    If they’re going to do so it’s likely because they want to brag that they were right during his draft time.

    This guy has no character issues.

    The guy listed below does
    “Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge stemming from a fight outside a bar.

    According to the Bryan-College Station Eagle, Manziel pleaded guilty Monday to failing to identify himself to police. He’ll have to pay the maximum fine of $2,000 and $232 in court costs. Prosecutors said that as part of the deal, another misdemeanor charge of possession of a fake driver’s license would be dismissed, along with a disorderly conduct charge.”

  27. Maybe he just thinks Charlotte (the town) is an Atlanta wannabe but he has to play where he’s told.

  28. You cannot root for a team in your own division 14 times a year…Even if you win the head-to-head matchgups, why would you not want them to lose every game?

  29. No big deal. If I were an owner of another team I would still be a Steelers fan for life!

  30. I recently went to a CVS drugstore and pulled out my Rite-Aid card. I was escorted out by security.

  31. Did a Vikings fan just say that Panthers’ fans should be more worried about our QB play?

    Dude I think you should take a long look in the mirror if you really think the Panthers quarterback position is something to be worried about as opposed to whoever is behind center up in the Siberia of America.

  32. Leave Cam and Kaepernick and every other NFL player alone. Rick Spielman is a Magician claims to be a Viking`s fan, but given that he is one of the first to comment on any story pertaining to the Green Bay Packers, he is really a life long Packers fan and none of you have a problem with him.

  33. I learned this lesson many moons ago with Dan Marino, who is my favorite NFL player of all time, and I am a Dolphin fan.

    And while Danny is still a Dolphin in his heart, he was a Pittsburg kid growing up – he’s from Pittsburgh and even stayed home for college at Pitt. He always had an affection for the Steelers…cooincidentally, I’m also from the Pittsburh area, so I get it.

    Cam Newton wasn’t born in a Panthers jersey, let’s use some common-sense here. Folks, this is OK.

  34. theboondoggles says:
    Jul 15, 2013 3:55 PM
    “small, weird-shaped kicker”

    I have no idea what this means as I don’t follow the NFC South, but this has me smiling. There has to be a ridiculous back story here.
    Let me try to explain it again (exactly why was my previous post vaporized, nothing offensive in it).

    After Atlanta came back to beat us in week 4, Matt Ryan screamed a few obscenities at Panther players. When we beat them late in the year, Panther players said what Ryan said to them. The Falcons kicker said, “Well, you’ll be watching us on TV in January!” Panthers DE Greg Hardy (who many fans think can be superstar, but also think he’s insane) was asked about it. He said, “I couldn’t believe the kicker was running his mouth. He’s so small and weird-shaped.” Most of the trash-talk used to be directed toward the Bucs, then the Saints when Roman Harper blasted Steve Smith after he had scored that TD. The rivalry with the Falcons is just now heating up. And that’s why some of us are disturbed by our QB saying he’s a Falcons fan except for the 2 weeks he plays them.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.