The nobility of Cecil Newton’s struggle

I really thought I was done with Camgate (unless the NCAA suddenly decided to issue a new ruling, I suppose), but this Dan Wetzel piece is so appalling that I can’t help myself.  This is truly car-wreck-on-the-side-of-the-highway quality writing:

… Was he wrong to demand more from the establishment that had plenty to give? Was he misguided to look at the charade and say not this time, not with my son?

Is letting Cam play for “free” in the face of rampant profiteering really better than asking for some of the action?

It would’ve been easier, sure. Would’ve it been right? If your son was an actor, would you let him star in a Disney movie for free because Disney said so?

I mean, seriously, “not this time, not with my son?” Has Wetzel lost sight of who was pimping whom?

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28 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Media Punditry/Foibles

28 responses to “The nobility of Cecil Newton’s struggle

  1. Go Dawgs!

    Apparently Dan Wetzel has never heard of a “scholarship”, which apparently carries a large cash value.

    Of course, Wetzel is apparently skirting the real issue here. No matter what one’s opinion of the NCAA’s amateursim rules are, Cecil Newton is indisputable and absolutely a horrible person, completely wrong, and way out of line to demand “a piece of the action” FOR HIMSELF in return for Cam Newton’s services. And, according to the NCAA’s head-in-the-sand actions (and Wetzel’s fine column), that’s exactly what he did. Now, if CAM had asked for a “piece of the action”, certainly that would open things up to Wetzel’s debate (and it would also, quite indisputably, make Cam Newton ineligible). If you go through the column and substitute “Cam” for “Cecil”, the column makes a little more sense, and clearly, that’s what Wetzel really has in mind. He knows Cam cheated, and he doesn’t think it’s a big deal, but he can’t come out and say it for some reason.

    And, he points out that it’s great Cam forgives his dad and hasn’t let any of this tear the family apart. MAYBE THAT’S BECAUSE HE KNEW ABOUT IT THE WHOLE TIME.

    • Stoopnagle

      Here’s my only rub with your comment: If we assume that Cecil was “pimping” his son for cash that he intended to use for Cam’s eventual benefit (basically acting like the parents of any underage celebrity), then Cecil is essentially acting like any other red-blooded late boomer parent of a Millennial. He’s trying to negotiate the best deal possible for his son. He’s taking the ethic of the privileged classes with regard to college admissions and “merit” aid and applying it to athletics. This happens every day at colleges and universities everywhere. Is it really that different?

      I don’t see him as “selling” his son for his own benefit without any regard for Cam. I don’t believe he was going to take the $200K and spend it on Cecil by absconding to Cayman or some such. It’s perfectly believable he was going to continue to support Cam with it.

      He is just another edition of Craig James or Beck Campbell. His actions highlight a different problem, but it’s entitlement all the same.

      I’ll also serve up this last point re: scholarships. It’s true that full rides have a price-tag and a pay0ff in terms of lifetime earnings for most college graduates/attenders. The problem with translating that to athletes in revenue sports is, generally speaking, these athletes are not academically equipped to take advantage of the benefits. We know that the “mean” athlete would not be admitted sans their special talents. Institutions realize this as well, that’s why almost all major programs funnel these athletes into certain majors. At AU, it’s sociology (go ahead and check up on Cam’s major); at Georgia, it’s one of several majors in the College of Consumer & Family Sciences or College of Education; at Georgia Tech, it’s management (and a liberal amount of coursetaking at other institutions); and at… you get the point.

      The NCAA creates eligibility criteria based on hours toward degree, etc. and institutions adjust. They continue to accept athletes who they know aren’t academically capable, create special pathways through the institution for them, and profit handsomely from their exploits. If they finish or not isn’t (or wasn’t until APR – and even then you can always sprinkle your roster with athletes who will finish a degree) that big of a deal.

      We can get into laying blame for the lack of preparedness of these athletes if you like. Personally, I think you need only look at the SES of a family and the culture of high schools to see what is valued. It isn’t like middle and high schools are not passing these students along to the greater glory of their own athletic programs with the (often uninformed) consent of the students’ parents who, probably, aren’t aware that their children aren’t learning/being held accountable.

      Throw on top of all that the practices of “greyshirting” and oversigning and, as a parent, I’d be wanting some guarantee as well. Still, is Cecil slimy? Well, is he a self-annointed bishop? Yeah. No doubt. I don’t like him at all. But if I were the parent of a VHT athlete, would I “trust” coaches and institutions at a major program to do right by my son? Cecil probably views Cam’s experience at UF differently than the rest of us, again, just like any parent of a Millennial tends to do: his precious could do no wrong, so it’s Meyer and the lot who “ruined his life.”

      Anyway, rant over.

      I still hate Auburn and hope they burn.

      • Go Dawgs!

        Well, you and I actually agree here, I didn’t do a good enough job of expressing myself. I don’t think that Cecil was just trying to keep all the impermissible benefits for himself. I have no doubts that Cam was going to benefit as well, which is why I still maintain it’s downright laughable that he’s bearing none of the “burden” of the NCAA’s ruling. I still think Cam knew what was going on. And even if he didn’t, unless Cecil Newton really WAS just going to take the cash and run off to Grand Cayman without him, he was going to benefit one way or another. Reggie Bush had a room at that free house his folks were living in, after all.

  2. BMan

    It’s as though Wetzel thinks that Florida took advantage of Cam for making him play “for free.” And somehow that exonerates Cecil (and Cam) for taking some righteous stand against the establishment and saying “not my son, not this time.” Bloody jayzus, Wetzel comes across about as stupid as Cecil (and Cam) are dirty.

    If Cecil wanted to pimp his kid out, he should have taken him to Canada. They pay people, and it’s all within the rules.

  3. Interesting point of view. I’m going to assume that Wetzel makes a decent living with his sportswriting, whereas the blogging and other writing I’ve done puts, on average, maybe fifty bucks a month in my pocket. So with that in mind, I’m going to break into Wetzel’s house and take his TV because I don’t have one at the moment.

    After all, the establishment clearly has plenty to give. Just “looking for some of the action” is all. I’m sure Dan’ll understand.

  4. baltimore dawg

    so i take it you haven’t seen bissinger’s nauseating piece in the daily beast today: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-12-12/heisman-hypocrisy-cam-newton-his-father-cecil-and-the-ncaa/?cid=hp:mainpromo5

    the pimp-whore-john narrative is obviously firmly entrenched in the echo chamber of professional sports writers.

    • That reminds me why I try to avoid reading his stuff as much as possible.

      What I don’t get about complaints like his and Wetzel’s is why they’re not directed at the proper target, the NFL.

      • baltimore dawg

        “What I don’t get about complaints like his and Wetzel’s is why they’re not directed at the proper target, the NFL.”

        Because the outrageous “plantation system” metaphor only makes sense for bissinger and his ilk if the ncaa clowns are the “masters.”

        • Normaltown Mike

          Buzz has apparently tuned into college sports for the first time in his adult life (his greatest work was on prep sports).

          He claims MSU would’ve made millions by inking Cam and appearing on ESPN (which is grade A bullshit). Yet in the exact same story he states that Auburn was playing for “a payout of nearly $20 million that will be divided between the two conferences”. Which is big cheese? School makes millions or the conferences pool it and split it? One smacks of lone wolfs the other of a union, which is it?

          Then its the same tired stories about how the schools “profit” off the super star athlete. Yawn. If you want to talk about stealing, lets do features on Pat Summitt and Geno Auriemma and how they steal from football players to play those silly girl games. Let’s have an ESPN 30 at 30 about Reese Hoffa (Georgia) and Rulon Gardner (Nebraska) and how they toiled in a sport with no financial payoff, received no academic breaks and all this was made possible because the football team makes big money and how evil this is.

      • “That reminds me why I try to avoid reading his stuff as much as possible.”

        I saw the headline with a teaser on yahoo the other day and just laughed.

    • Bissinger could basically just repeat the words “I HATE EVERYTHING” over and over for 15 column-inches and the net effect would be the same.

      This doesn’t apply just to the linked Daily Beast article, mind you; from what I know of the man it could apply to everything he’s written or uttered in the past five years or so.

  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    Dan Wetzel, the humble journalist, is speaking truth to power. I stand and doff my hat to him.

    What a bunch of bullshit.

  6. Normaltown Mike

    What’s with the “babe in the woods” story that’s been attached to Cam and Cecil?

    Cecil played college ball at Savannah State. His older son played college ball at Tennessee State and even got a sniff in the NFL. Cameron had a full ride at a top notch school with an offense patently made for his skills. The Newtons know all about the rules of the NCAA and the payoff coming from the NFL.

    If Cam had so much faith in his abilities, he wouldn’t need to get paid for his one and done summer school and fall semester at Auburn. Further, if Cam was a good person, he wouldn’t steal a laptop, spray paint it, log in to the UF system, throw it out his dorm window and lie to police. That’s the action of a punk.

    The reason Cecil was lookin for money is because he’s a bum. Anytime I meet some self appointed “bishop” or “pastor” I keep my hand on my wallet because of characters like Cecil Newton.

    • Go Dawgs!

      Thank you. Even though they may lack spending money for dates, as the age-old complaint about the NCAA always says, the lives of these guys are pretty charmed. Room and board (and man, do they get a LOT of great board at the training tables or dining halls) and a free education at a great university (or Auburn) is a pretty sweet deal. Add in the fact that you’re probably going be a very big man on campus with all of the attendant benefits, well, it can be a great three or four years.

  7. Bissinger is just trying to be a firebrand, saying that Newton’s crime was that he “didn’t ask for enough.” This is completely consistent with Buzz’s personality and the shock value he goes for. The surprise — both to him and to everyone else — is that Wetzel, who fancies himself a serious journalist, wrote the same article.

    The whole system is nutty, the people involves are all pretty slimy, and guys like Wetzel and Bissinger are more interested in an angle and bomb throwing than making actual sense.

  8. JoeE

    “And if the NCAA doesn’t care to enforce its own rules, then what are they really worth?”

    He’s got a point here.

  9. Scorpio Jones, III

    Like quarterbacks, rather than tailbacks, being the spotlight of an offense, there are views of the NCAA other than mine.

    I accept that to some folks the whole college football megillah is a hypocritical farse, and, in fact, it is hard to argue against that view at times. This seems to be one of those times.

    If I was Cecil Newton and could negotiate a substantial amount of money for my son to play football at some school for a year, then my son would move on to the NFL, and that because paying for pay is only illegal to the NCAA, the only penalty would be to the school dumb enough to participate and get caught, judge me if you want to, I might say, but I don’t live in your world.

    Because the simple truth, as someone pointed out earlier, is that the NFL does not care one whit whether Cam Newton played ball in college for money or not.

    Especially now that, obviously, nobody could prove anything about Newton coming to Awbun.

    If I were Cecil, I might take the attitude that my son would ultimately not be hurt, that he would lead Awbun to their own version of the promised land, and then become a multi-millionaire by the beginning to the next football season.

    And if at some point the NCAA shreds Awbun like a combine running through a corn field, well, I might say, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

    And I am sure Reggie Bush and his parents would agree.

    Is it any wonder rational, intelligent folks view football fans as the lunatic fringe?

  10. Ausdawg85

    Hopefully, none of you watched the Heisman presentation. I caught a replay snippet late last night and heard Cammy explain how Blinn was such a wasteland, but he decided to treat it like a “professional” and gut it out for two years.

    Student-athelete indeed. And BC got a championship knowing they had “hired” a gun. It’s all so sadly disgusting, which made a great lead-in to “Pony Excess”…at least cheating then had some charm?!

  11. gastr1

    Yo, Dan–
    If my kid were offered to star in the Disney movie with a near guarantee of a very, very well-paid gig on the next one you best damn sure bet I would say yes in a New York minute. Ever heard of an internship??

  12. slive sux

    The end to cfb as we know it, and dan missed the story.

  13. Bryant Denny

    How about just following the rules?

    If the rules don’t suit you, take your skills somewhere else or work to change the rules.

    Yes, I understand that some may not like how the economics of college football play out, but cry me a river. It’s not like these kids are being recruited to work in a cotton mill against their wishes.

    All this ends justifies the means stuff is getting old.

  14. almightytmc1

    “Not with my son!”
    Sound like a really bad Lifetime Cahnnel movie with Valarie Bertonelli and Lindsay Wagner.
    Danny boy has lost it. In the liberal think tak utopian society, it would be nice if everyone could get what they thought was fair. Apparently, no one to Dan Wetzel that is a realistic world things a re a tad bit different.
    Maybe Dan will figure it out the next time a cop gives him a ticket and says he has to pay it… The rules are there for a reason.

  15. almightytmc1

    Jeez my typing is atrocious today.
    Anyway.
    Dan, put the super bong down and back away slowly.