Why Cam Newton got my vote for the Heisman Trophy

In our post-game of the SEC championship Saturday night, my CBS colleague Tim Brando said that his Heisman vote was going to Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton. He said he was casting the vote “reluctantly” because he wished he knew more facts about the controversial case involving Newton’s father, Cecil, and the extent to which the father may have solicited money in the son’s recruitment.

I’ve read others who have written that they won’t vote for Newton because the father, according to the NCAA, had committed a rules violation by discussing a play-for-pay deal for the son. The NCAA  ultimately decided that the violation did not rise to the level of suspending Cam Newton. A lot of people, including four BCS conference commissioners (ACC, Big Ten, Pac-10, Big 12) publicly expressed disagreement with that ruling. SEC commissioner Mike Slive and incoming NCAA President Mark Emmert have defended the ruling based on the evidence and based on the the NCAA rules, which don’t have a by-law to address this specific case. We can safely say that one will be written in the future.

I respect those people who disagree with the ruling. But if they believe that Newton is the best player in college football this season–and at this point there is little debate on that–I would hope that they obstained from voting as their form of protest. Because if you feel Newton is the best player and you vote for somebody else because of how this case FEELS, that is not fair to the kid or fair to the process.

Now do I wish I knew more? Do I wish all of my questions had been answered? Sure. There is an uncomfortable feeling that more information could come out down the road on this case. Based on what the NCAA said last week this case is still open. Could we still have a Reggie Bush situation? It’s possible.

But I just don’t think we get to make decisions of these kinds based on our FEELINGS. Or at least we shouldn’t. We have to base them on FACTS. And the facts are that the NCAA has looked into this case and determined that Cameron Newton had no knowledge of what his father was doing and that Auburn University, where the son attends school, also had no knowledge of or participated in such talks. You can chose not to believe those findings. That is certainly your right. A year or two from now you could be proven right.

But which is worse:

A) Giving Newton the trophy and then having to take it back when the facts on the ground change? Or

B) Punishing him before all the facts are determined only to discover there is no evidence of cheating? You can go back and say you’re sorry but what good does that do?

I’ll take column A. It won’t be any fun going through another Heisman giveback if it happens. But at least there was a process that had to be followed. If that happens, as embarrassing as it would be, at least the decision was based on facts instead of how people felt about the process.

A guy came up to me the other day and told me he couldn’t vote for Newton because “I know what the facts say but it just LOOKS bad!”

I told him this was not “Dancing With The Stars” where you can vote against Bristol Palin because you don’t like her mother’s politics. Please tell me that the discourse on college football’s biggest award is being conducted on a higher level.

Anway, here is my Heisman ballot, submitted on Sunday:

1. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn:  The first player in SEC history to rush for over 1,000 yards (1,409) and pass for over 2,000 yards (3,998). He ran for 20 touchdowns and threw for 28 more. He even caught a touchdown pass.

2. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon: Led the nation in rushing with 1,682 yards (152.91 ypg) despite missing one game on suspension. He scored 21 touchdowns rushing.

3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: Completed  71.01 percent of his passes for 3,506 yards, 33 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Last season Moore threw 39 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. In three years Moore is 38-2 as Boise’s starting quarterback.

The Heisman ballot only has three slots but here are four more I would have added:

4. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech: Taylor has been magnificent this season and if the Hokies had not started 0-2 he would have gotten stronger consideration for the Heisman. Taylor threw for 23 touchdowns and only four interceptions and was the driving force behind Virginia Tech’s 11-game winning streak.

5. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State: This guy is a freak of nature just like Calvin Johnson was for Georgia Tech. He had 102 catches for 1,665 yards and 18 touchdowns. He led Division I-A  in receptions per game (9.27) and receiving yards per game (151.36).

6. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: This guy will be the No. 1 quarterback  taken in the NFL Draft. He led the Pac-10 in total offense with 438 yards rushing and 3,051 passing. He averaged 8.72 per offensive play. He’s a big reason Stanford is 11-1 and going to the Orange Bowl.

7. Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada: He is the West Coast version of Cam Newton. Kaepernick was No. 9 in the nation in total offense with 1,184 rushing and another 2,830 passing. He ran for 20 touchdowns and passed for 21 more.

So who did I leave out?

Have a good weekend.

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975 comments Add your comment

AltamahaDawg

December 10th, 2010
9:10 am

Scam Newton

December 10th, 2010
9:10 am

Cam Newton, Cecil Newton, Auburn…the whole thing is a fraud…a deserate attempt from a 2nd tier program to become relevant after what Florida, and especially Bama pulled off in the years prior…cecil newton not in attendance at the SEC Championship game…he won’t be at the Heisman either and Cam starts his post game press conference (his first interivew in over a month) by reading from a perpared statement…that’s all you need to know…the truth will ultimately come out…it alwasy does…

lovelyliz

December 10th, 2010
9:11 am

SO domestic violence is fine but something your daddy might have done is unforgivable?!?!?!?

Zach

December 10th, 2010
9:11 am

You people are crazy. What is going on in this world? I understand what fans read this blog, but listen to yourselves. What if the NCAA continues their investigation for the next year, two years, five years follows every lead and questions every person and finds nothing? Are you still going to say that this 21 year old is a bad person and shouldn’t win any award when he is clearly the best player in CFB?

Half of you are bringing up stuff that happened at UF? So now the Heisman is life long judgement contest? What if he had a conviction for stealing in high school? In middle school? What if he shot someone 10 years after he won the award? Should the all powerful Heisman Trust, and you people, have the right to deny or take away his award?

I respect the fact that people have opinons, however, have dignity and don’t subject yourself to unwarranted conclusions that you have developed in 2 minutes of thought after watching Sports Center.

Steve

December 10th, 2010
9:13 am

Enter your comments here

J

December 10th, 2010
9:13 am

It cracks me up how people act like no other athletes (and that didn’t go to SMU in the early 80’s at least) have EVER been paid by boosters. As long as money has been made from football, players have been getting paid. And if you believe that NONE of the other Heisman candidates have received any banned extras for their performances, then come & see me, I have some toxic waste that cures all ailments. I’ll sell it to you at a reasonable price.

Sorry!

December 10th, 2010
9:13 am

The funny thing is if you listen to the interview Cam gave with ESPN he says “he did no wrong” and then proceeds to say ‘I’ve did no wrong anywhere that I have been” So we all know he is lying about the second part because at UF he knowingly bought a stolen laptop and was caught cheating numerous times. So if he is going to lie about that then I don’t believe anything that he says.

Some Folks are Above the Rules

December 10th, 2010
9:14 am

Zach,

Let him have the stupid award. It doesn’t mean anything anyway. It should just be re-named the Reggie Bush Award.

RIP CFB… It was great while it lasted.

Spellchecker

December 10th, 2010
9:14 am

Tone, your UGA education is showing through. I believe the word is “abstain” instead of “obstain.” That said, I do agree with your points and enjoy your columns and blogs.

Tom

December 10th, 2010
9:15 am

Zach — in short, the answer is NO. GA fans are such miserable human beings and have nothing else to focus on except for their mediocre football team. To deflect the focus off of their miserable season, they go after the best team. Logic does not apply to them.

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/19/20101210/img/psp-correction-college-fb-a-81a80cc46992.html

GoalieLax

December 10th, 2010
9:19 am

“Vacated” will soon join Archie Griffin as the only two time winner of the Heisman

I guess Tony doesn’t care much for the integrity part of the Heisman criteria

SuperB

December 10th, 2010
9:19 am

One more time: When Cam Newton called his recruiter at Mississippi State to apologize for not being able to sign with his no. 1 choice, did he say (paraphrased) “The money was too good at Auburn.” This was reported on Nov. 9 by ESPN.com I think. Can someone clear this up?
Thanks.

Some Folks are Above the Rules

December 10th, 2010
9:19 am

Saddam Hussein won every election in a landslide. He might have been lacking in morality and integrity, but there was no doubt among the electorate that he was the best leader on the ballot.

Wells

December 10th, 2010
9:20 am

I agree with Zach. I have seen the things that have come out about Newton when he was at Florida, but that was two years ago. There’s nothing that has occurred when he was at Blinn or Auburn that show he’s still the same guy that was at Florida. What if him going to Blinn was his wake up call as he had to watch Florida on their way to another National Title and he would have been apart of that team.

Everyone wants to talk about integrity, but I have yet to see someone mention that he goes to an elementary school every Monday to read to students. Now everyone who wants to throw stones out here, how many of you volunteer your time on your day off? When did we become a society that does not want to see a person over come set backs or mistakes that occurred earlier in their life?

Integrity plays a part in the Heisman trophy winner’s character it’s not the end all. This is mostly a football award for the best football player. Now I believe every can vote the way that they want to, but as Tony said I think it would be awful if the NCAA ruling stayed the same and this guy did not get the trophy.

I don’t think writers who have never played should be voting anyway. I have yet to hear an actual Heisman recipient say that they weren’t voting for him. Those are the votes that should actually count. Not some goofy writer looking for a way to get his name in the headlines.

David

December 10th, 2010
9:20 am

I’d vote for Cam Newton because he is the best player this year. I believe he should’ve been suspended for Alabama game and/or Oregon game because other players across the country have been suspended and/or banned for lesser crimes. And even if he were suspended, I’d still vote for Cam.

JB

December 10th, 2010
9:22 am

A race car driver wins a race using illegal fuel. A sprinter wins a track meet using steroids. A golfer wins using an illegal ball. A democrat wins counting dead folks votes. Cam will win the Heisman by pay per play. People hate cheaters. Accepting money didn’t make him a great player, God Did. I hope for the Sake of the SEC, not Auburn, non of it is true, But like Clinton with Monica, you can waggle that finger just so long………..And then poof, the proof comes along.

Paul N Destin

December 10th, 2010
9:23 am

The voters were placed in a tuff position for sure. Cam is the best player. This trophy is the least of the problem once all is known about the Auburn program. The 5 SEC MNS will be forever looked upon with a different view once this process is complete. The sooner this process is complete the better for the SEC so we can go forward and try to repair the damage done but it will take awhile folks. You will not be hearing much from the Auburn folks once the process is complete.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
9:24 am

Wow, more Newton stuff huh?

Steve

December 10th, 2010
9:24 am

Dawg fans……you have a lot of hate…wow!!! It is amazing how you want to get all high and mighty..so pure…want to discuss if Cam was the perfect student-athlete. Wow, Auburn whipped your butts, and everyone else that came in their way, and you just can’t stand it…so you whine. Regardless of the claims…all the rules, the standards of the game (same field dimensions, same size of football, same refs) were the same…and they BEAT everyone fair and square on the field!!! grab you whiny buckets, your stuffed dawg, elephant, gator and go cry somewhere else!!

THEGAME

December 10th, 2010
9:24 am

All of these folks saying that Auburn paid Newton to go there, then I guess I can say UGA paid Alec Ogletree to go there. I have no evidence but I will say it since he has been convicted of stealing and he is form Newnan.

anythinggoesinAL

December 10th, 2010
9:25 am

This whole thing is Fu$@ing disgusting.NO way will I ever see Auburn in the same light with the rest of the SEC EVER again.They make me want to vomit!

Lawrence

December 10th, 2010
9:26 am

When Georgia or Alabama win, their fans make some people want to throw up. When Auburn wins, their fans make everybody want to throw up.

USC GAMEC0CK

December 10th, 2010
9:26 am

You left off MARCUS LATTIMORE….

but I understand that you are still pissed thinking of him running up Georgia’s gut…over and over!!

joe

December 10th, 2010
9:27 am

Andrew Luck seventh. That makes it a joke. Your article should have been written as follows.
because I am a homer. Article over.

SlapAjacket

December 10th, 2010
9:27 am

JSNEAD! If SCAM is black, my scrotum is a space shuttle. Not everthing is about RACE. Unless you’re O J.

SuperB

December 10th, 2010
9:28 am

To Zach, Tom and the rest of you “Industrial Engineers,” (to engineering what chiropractic is to medicine,) the only reason Newton wasn’t thrown out of Florida was he quit school before the next semester started and he could be charged with plagiarism. Does any intelligent person (Zach and Tom sit this one out,) think Cam didn’t know his Dad was peddling him to the highest bidder?

Also, since GT is in the ACC you will always be subservient Zach and Tom: that means inferior) to the SEC in every sport but basketball.

gdawginkalamazoo

December 10th, 2010
9:29 am

I like that idea of giving him Reggie Bush’s old Heisman. Then if anything does come up later he sends it back in for the next candidate that has a shady past. Use the real ceremony for the kids who have worked hard to do things the right way in life.

Bama

December 10th, 2010
9:29 am

Give him the Heisman, he deserves it. If there is dirt it will eventually come out. Auburn will go ahead and win the National Championship, and I am ready for that to be over with. I am ready for September 2011 to get here so the new season can start and things will be back to normal as The Crimson Tide will put some serious beatings on their 2011 opponents including the defending National champions!!!

Satchmo

December 10th, 2010
9:30 am

On the field of play he’s the guy, later in life he will revealed to us , his true self.

Shad

December 10th, 2010
9:31 am

When all the investigations are finished, it will be UGA that gets probation or the death penalty, not Auburn.

Shane

December 10th, 2010
9:31 am

I have been more disappointed with Tony (and Paul Finebaum) during the past few weeks than anyone reporting on this story. Heads are buried in the sand. They have gotten way to big and need to stand up for their friends in high places. Above all, these guys normally had some dignity in sports reporting. Now, I’m not so sure. Did you even see Newton’s interview last night on ESPN? It was a sham and a disgrace. I think he was caught in a lie. I was telling my kids last night that I’m just not so sure I’ll be watching the national championship game this year . . . just too dirty.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
9:32 am

New NCAA bylaw? Great, that’s all we need. What’s it going to say? That a player is ineligible if his dad asks for money but doesn’t get it, without his knowledge, from an institution other than the one he attends? Doubt many people are lining up to do that. The rules are already sufficient in my opinion.

What people are struggling with in this particular instance, me included, is the belief that Cam was in the dark. I don’t buy it for a second based on everything I’ve heard and read from the young man about how close he and his father are. If you recall, Cecil originally said that Rogers was acting on his own trying to get money for himself and Cecil “didn’t know.” When the pressure was applied Cecil admitted that he was in on it but that Cam “didn’t know.” In the ESPN interview, Cam first talked about how close he feels to his father and said that he wasn’t going to say what his father did was right or wrong then, seemingly realizing he slipped, said “or even if what he did was true.” The Newtons have clearly been coached in the art of denial.

That said, feelings aren’t enough to convict. Do I believe that he’s guilty? Yeah, I think so, but I wouldn’t want Cam or any other kid’s career compromised without proof that he himself did something wrong.

vannie

December 10th, 2010
9:33 am

If Newton played for UGA, you would all be in his corner, so grow up and get over it.

Tony is a PIG

December 10th, 2010
9:33 am

Tony, I have always respected you and your character, but not any more…

gdawginkalamazoo

December 10th, 2010
9:34 am

USC GAMEC0CK, next year and the year after is Lattimore’s year(s).

Dixie Redcoat Band

December 10th, 2010
9:34 am

We agree, it’s really hard to believe that $cam didn’t know the most rev. newton wasn’t $hopping this kid around!…pretty funny.

1eyedJack

December 10th, 2010
9:34 am

They need to start making those Heisman Trophys with a remote control self-destruct button.

Big Dawg Daddy

December 10th, 2010
9:35 am

“The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.”

Excellence with integrity does not exist within the Newton Family. Shame on you for giving your vote based on performance alone.

jumbeauxtiger

December 10th, 2010
9:36 am

Tony, Patrick Peterson should be on your list. He is the best defensive player in college football as evidenced by winning the top defensive player and top cornerback awards in Orlando last night.

Newton is clearly the best player in college football and should win the Heisman.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
9:37 am

gdawginkalamazoo

December 10th, 2010
9:34 am
USC GAMEC0CK, next year and the year after is Lattimore’s year(s).

I have a feeling Trent Richardson might have something to say about that. He was knicked up this year but is pretty unbelievable when healthy. A kid that fast and quick shouldn’t get to be that strong.

Cecil the Seller

December 10th, 2010
9:38 am

Thanks Mr Tony for all of your support and “homer’ columns this Fall, we’ll be spending the booster money over the holidays!!

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
9:38 am

My opinion: Rather Cam took money to play or not he still get’s my Heisman vote if I had one.You cant deny what he has accomplished on the field in 2010.

gdawginkalamazoo

December 10th, 2010
9:39 am

Really the shame in this whole Cam thing is that it occurred. Cecil lied about it. Cam, no doubt has been the best college football player this season (the best on the books) and we have all this crap swirling around it. Without the crap I would be congratulating the kid. I am still impressed as hell with his season (his first and probably only).

P on GT

December 10th, 2010
9:40 am

You’re right. BUT, like everyone else, I wish I knew what Auburn knew when they declared him to be ineligible before the big game. I know the NCAA reversed the decision and declared him to be eligible, but that was partly due to the revenue they stand to make in the Bogus Championship System’s game against Oregone!
You’re right … Newton is to Auburn what Herschel was to Goergia and Horning failed to be to Notre Dame. And if Horning won it… why can’t Newton?

gdawginkalamazoo

December 10th, 2010
9:40 am

BAMA dude, I can agree with that. Richardson is even more impressive than Ingram IMO. Which is scary.

Worm

December 10th, 2010
9:41 am

Give him the trophy if-HE CAN PASS A POLYGRAPH!

RattlerMan

December 10th, 2010
9:41 am

Tony, you do realize that your admonition of Mr. Brando invalidates the very existence of the polls that are used to determine who plays for the mythical National Championship, don’t you?? You told Mr. Brando that he shouldn’t withhold his Heisman vote for Cam Newton based on his FEELINGS!!

The poll system used as a component of the BCS is ENTIRELY based on feelings!! I’ve heard you say repeatedly, “I think” or “I feel” with regard to why TCU or Boise St. (when they were still undefeated) didn’t deserve to be in the BCS Championship Game over a potential one-loss BCS school.

I like your column and I like your radio show with Wes; however, this column is tinged with hypocrisy and I think that you’re better than that!! No matter what/who someone is voting for, it is largely based on how that individual FEELS about the issue/person. Tony, I’m gonna have to give you a “C’MON MAN!!” for this column.

Yes, Cam Newton was deemed eligible by the NCAA; therefore, he is eligible to win the Heisman Memorial Trophy. But we know that his father broke an NCAA rule–that is an incontrovertible fact–on Cam’s behalf. So, if some Heisman voters want to withhold their vote based on this fact, that is their prerogative. GO BUCKS and ROLL TIDE!!

Kyle

December 10th, 2010
9:41 am

You are such a SEC homer you would vote for Satan himself if he played for one of your beloved conference schools. It is disgusting. Almost as disgusting as nicknaming yourself “Mr. College Football.” Jackass would be more appropos.

karma

December 10th, 2010
9:42 am

I say let $cam and Auburn get every possible award and title they can this year. It’ll just make the vacating process all the more sweet and comical when it happens!!!

Alphare

December 10th, 2010
9:43 am

Yes, based on his game performance, he deserves the trophy.

No, based on his integrity, he doesn’t deserve the trophy.

I’d say cut the trophy in half, give him half of it.