THE SPORTS DOCTOR- Auburn's creed: Turned upside down by Cam Newton
Pollyanna is one of my favorite movies. Little Hayley Mills brings sunshine to a grouchy and hard-hearted town. She looks for and sees the best in people. It's a philosophy to which I've always subscribed and believed to be true, but it gets hard sometimes.
Judging from the warm reception Auburn quarterback Cam Newton received after evidence of his academic cheating and recruiting violations surfaced, it is obvious that what my husband has long told me is true: I'm in the minority.
Most people don't care if college athletes lie, cheat, steal, rape, do drugs, skip class, beat up their girlfriends, and generally grind common decency under their heels. Win, whatever the cost– that's what most people believe– and Pollyanna that I am, I don't understand why.
I'll be blunt: Cam Newton and every college athlete like him makes me sick. Newton was caught cheating three times at the University of Florida-three. He stole another student's paper, put his name on it and turned it in. When his treachery was discovered and he was given a second chance to write the paper, Newton bought a paper off the internet and turned it in. When he was caught for that, do you think he was man enough to face Florida's Student Conduct Committee? No. He ran. He transferred to a junior college to escape disciplinary action. He tucked his cheating little tail and ran.
Why is soliciting money taking center stage? Why weren't heinous academic infractions enough to turn Cam into a pariah? Didn't that junior college see his transcripts? And Mississippi State– why did it take Cam Newton's father's demanding $180,000 to make them back away from the table? They never should have come to the table in the first place. Based on his history at Florida, any academic institution should have been sickened by the sight of Cam Newton.
Any school that knew Newton's history at Florida and offered him admission should be admonished and any that offered a scholarship should lose its accreditation, especially Auburn. If Auburn knew of it, the school is unforgivably complicit in Newton's mockery of his fellow students, his professors, and academics. Here's a bit of the Auburn Creed, "I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully. I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellow men."
What a joke.
An even bigger joke is that Cam Newton's history of cheating has been mentioned only as an aside to a story about the money. Even as I write this, Cam Newton is grinning at me from the sidelines of the Auburn-Georgia game, and students who worked their butts off to get admitted to Auburn and parents up to their necks in debt sending their kids to school are holding signs that read "don't hate on Cam."
Head coach Gene Chizik is not just playing Newton, he's defending him, calling him a "phenomenal kid." Gene Chizik, a graduate of the University of Florida, is petting and preening and defending a coward who defiled the honor code of his own alma mater.
I am sickened by Cam Newton and everyone who aided and abetted him, and if that's Pollyanna-ish, I'm glad. The day corruption in sports doesn't turn my stomach is the day I lose my self-respect. Win, win, win– there are more important things.
No matter what he does on the field Cam Newton is a liar, a cheater, a coward, and a loser. Cam Newton's behavior at Florida should have been the key that locked the door of every academic institution with an honor code. If Auburn didn't know about the cheating when they admitted Newton, they darn well know about it now, and Newton should be expelled immediately. But Auburn shouldn't forget to ask for their money back.
Juanita Giles lives on a farm in Charlotte County with her husband, son, and many dogs.