Peter King may have been mad as he'll be all year, during his training
It was a good time to visit - in the wake of bigtime signings and the
CBA, of which owner Jerry Richardson had a major part, and early in the
camp process for an energetic young team. Before the pads come on, and
while the young skill players can still run around in shorts (what they
do best at this point). Before technique matters, before a guy larger
than you is bearing his weight on your shoulders.
But King's goal was a snippet from Cam Newton, by all means the ongoing
biggest story in camp. Newton is a lightning rod, and always will be.
He's had a very good offseason, by all means, working hard and saying
the right things, but as King found out, Newton isn't always talking.
John Ellis, of the212radio, was within arm's reach of Newton snubbing
King. King was livid - he's a name national reporter in a sea of
content, one of the few old-guard print guys to have fully grasped new
media to continue his place in the conversation. Newton, rumored to be
unhappy about a pre-draft exchange where he'd said the now-famous
"entertainer and icon" line, walked by without saying a word.
"I was walking with Charlie Dayton to the parking lot after practice, and here comes Peter King, pissing and moaning about Cam", Ellis said. "He told Charlie that he came down here to get an exclusive and now he was being blown off."
I'm not always a fan of King's, but reading his MMQB column today I
notice that it could've been a fine pulpit for him to decry an immature
Newton and cause waves for a guy who has had character issues in the
past. He declined to do so, and spoke highly of the team and camp
environment in general. He praised Greg Olsen, working with a Juggs
machine. He praised the way things were run there, and talked about the
aura a personality like Newton brings, and how long he signed
autographs. Nothing about the snub.
That's professionality, and hopefully Newton notices and learns, rather
than feeling like he got away with one. Now's the time to build a
relationship, clear the air on something that caused neither any harm,
rather than drag on a grudge.
Newton's actions aren't the type that I worried about pre-draft (or
post-draft). The last thing I honestly expected of him would be to pass
up media. Is it that big a deal? Honestly, no. But, being a #1
overall means being a face of the franchise. It means building good
will, not squandering it.