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Cam Newton to Tennessee Mom: “I am who I am”

Cam Newton in response to Tenn. mom: 'Everyone is entitled to their own opinion'

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton responded to criticism by a Tennessee mom who attended Sunday’s game against the Titans with her fourth-grade daughter. She asserted that his celebration dancing was not behavior of a role model, and Newton says we
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Panthers quarterback Cam Newton responded to criticism by a Tennessee mom who attended Sunday’s game against the Titans with her fourth-grade daughter. She asserted that his celebration dancing was not behavior of a role model, and Newton says we

As the Carolina Panthers (9-0) began their preparation on Wednesday morning for Sunday’s game against Washington, they weren’t about to stop dancing.

Fullback Mike Tolbert did the “hit dem folks” while stretching. Running back Jonathan Stewart did the dab.

Quarterback Cam Newton, at the epicenter of all the dancing talk in the NFL since Sunday, took a moment to do a popular dance from the rapper Drake’s “Hotline Bling” music video.

There were people who took offense and people who loved what Newton did Sunday in the end zone after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans. Newton wouldn’t say, but you can bet good money he won’t do anything differently after some backlash this week.

“What’s today? Wednesday?” he asked coyly on Wednesday. “I think we’re going to have to find that out on Sunday.”

Newton was in an unusually good mood with the media. He chalked it up to getting good treatment the day before – hot tub, cold tub and a massage – along with drinking more water instead of Kool-Aid.

What’s today? Wednesday? I think we’re going to have to find that out on Sunday.

Cam Newton, on whether he’ll be dancing this week

Or perhaps it’s because he’s 9-0 and coming off a convincing, 27-10 road victory in Nashville in which he completed his first 11 passes and accounted for touchdowns both rushing and passing.

“My thing is always trying to keep the ball moving forward. Yeah, we started pretty good, probably the best we’ve started yet,” Newton said. “But yet there was a lull in the middle of the game that we can’t make a habit of. Three-and-outs, a couple of sacks, missed opportunities, it can’t happen. We pride ourselves on being very prepared and having attributes of a great team.”

The Panthers return home this week against Washington, which ranks 21st in total defense but has as many sacks (26) as the Panthers’ vaunted defense.

There could be talk of Washington’s aggressive front seven, or how their defensive backs try for interceptions rather than pass defensed.

But instead, for the third consecutive day, the conversation was about Newton’s touchdown celebration dance that irked the Titans and their fans.

“Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. Everyone is. You can’t fault her for that,” Newton said of Rosemary Plorin, a Tennessee mother who wrote a letter to the Observer this week. “If she feels offended I apologize to her, but at the end of the day I am who I am. It is what it is.”

Of course no one in the Panthers’ locker room was offended. Even this week’s opposing head coach and quarterback had no issue with the dance.

Washington coach Jay Gruden said, in his opinion, if you score a touchdown in the NFL, you should be excited about it and celebrate.

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins added a touch of humor. After a come-from-behind win a month ago, a fired-up Cousins shouted out, “You like that? You like that!” to a group of reporters in the bowels of a stadium.

The five-second clip has been seen on Vine more than 23 million times, and it has become synonymous with Cousins in recent weeks.

“I know he has a lot more rhythm than I do, and that lends itself to having more freedom with your ability to celebrate,” said Cousins, who hadn’t seen Newton’s dance as of Wednesday afternoon. “I kind of am restricted to only a few things, which include yelling ‘you like that.’ If I had more rhythm I would love to be a little more creative. But unfortunately I don’t.”

Panthers defensive end Jared Allen said Newton deserves to be able to dance because of the work he puts in during the week. It’s not a fluke that Newton is leading an undefeated team, Allen said, so he can celebrate how he wants.

Allen has been doing his calf-roping sack celebration for nearly a decade and saw no problem with Newton’s dancing.

I mean, c’mon. He was dancing. This is not ‘Footloose,’ people. Dancing is not banned.

Jared Allen, on Cam Newton

“I mean, c’mon. He was dancing. This is not ‘Footloose,’ people. Dancing is not banned,” Allen said. “I’ve been on the other side of that. You have Jimmy Graham dunking on the goalposts celebrating. Guess what? You’re mad because they scored. You’re not mad about the dance.

“You hear it the other way when people are stone-faced with no emotion. They say, ‘oh where’s the emotion? Where’s the passion?” I think it’s a big to-do about nothing. I’m going to celebrate a sack because that’s like our touchdown. It’s so hard to get them that of course you’re going to celebrate them.”

While Newton’s teammates defended him, not all were willing to praise his dancing.

Second-year right guard Trai Turner rated Newton’s dance as a “six or seven” on a scale of 1-10. Turner said Newton softened his dance as the Titans’ players got around and that the quarterback needed to go harder.

But Turner was on the field helping Newton get into the end zone on that play. He could have dabbed or hit dem folks if he thought he could have done it better.

“Within those five or eight seconds that I’m blocking,” Turner said. “That’s my dab.”

Jonathan Jones: 704-358-5323, @jjones9

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