Online Now 273

Phillip's blog: Newton's big night

For the first time since I met Cameron Newton last December, I saw him struggle for words. He stood Saturday night where every college football player dreams, on the podium accepting the Heisman Trophy.

Phillip Marshall, Senior Editor,

It’s the first time I’ve seen Newton have trouble controlling his emotions. How difficult it must have been for him not to see his father in the audience and for his father to not to be there with his son.

It was surely a Heisman Trophy announcement like no other.

ESPN, in its ongoing determination to validate its own reporting, couldn’t let it be a celebration. It had to be about his father, about the unproven allegations and accusations of the last half of the season. Once again, Newton handled it better than his tormentors.

Will he be criticized for thanking his father, who has been painted as some sort of horrific villain? Probably, but he did what was right. He spoke from his heart.

Newton was left off 12 percent of the ballots like he was left off the Football Writers Association of America All-America team. The morality police were out in force, I guess, those who don’t need evidence to assume he’s guilty or those who think he should pay for the sins of his father.

Florida made the remarkable decision to announce the hiring of Will Muschamp as head coach at the same time the ceremony was going on. I’ll give the Gators the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the word was getting out and they felt they had no choice. I wonder, but I won’t do what others did and assume their motives were bad.

As anyone who pays any attention knows, there is no comparison between what has happened or even been alleged with Newton and what happened with Reggie Bush at Southern California. Bush and his family got money and other extra benefits. There is no evidence anybody in the Newton family got anything. But Bush wasn’t put through anything in 2005 like what Newton was put through in 2010.

Of course, ESPN didn’t write the first story in 2005.

Already have an account? Sign In