The subject of Cam Newton’s wardrobe is in the news again.
This time thanks to former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia, who was heavily critical of Newton’s pregame outfit before his stinker of a game on Sunday, arguing that bringing more attention to yourself when you’re not playing well is a bad look.
Whew, Jeff Garcia been waiting a long time to get this off his chest about Cam Newton. pic.twitter.com/clx5IEGn9x
— Moneybagg Yo(hannes) 🇪🇷 (@AronYohannes) October 26, 2020
Garcia’s take, and the seeming agreement from his co-host and former 49ers safety Donte Whitner, drew the ire of many, who argued that Newton’s wardrobe choices shouldn’t have anything to do with his play on the field. Others went a step further, arguing that there is an obvious racial bias coming into play here.
Another former 49ers quarterback, Steve Young, was asked about this bizarre story when he joined “Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks” on Wednesday, and argued that the reason so many former players have had issues with Newton’s wardrobe choices over the years, has to do with a perception, real or imagined, that his mind isn’t on the team.
“Think about Ryan Fitzpatrick right now,” Young began. “He does that thing with the chest hair, but he does it in a way that gathers the guys in the locker room. Everything he does you can see the locker room loves it. And Cam, if what he was doing the guys in the locker room were going, ‘That’s great!’ But, and this is why you get the reaction, the guys in the locker room are going ‘Bro, we need your focus on the field, we don’t need your focus on the postgame press conference wardrobe.’ Then instead of gathering it separates, and it’s subtle.
“He might be able to do the same thing in a different way, in a spirit of gathering the guys around him. And if you’re not the kind of guy that gathers the people around you with whatever you’re doing, you’re going to make your job significantly more difficult. Like Tony Romo taking Jessica Simpson to Mexico. You can do it, but it’s going to make your job harder.”
Young compared Newton’s situation to Deion Sanders, who joined San Francisco in 1994, and had a reputation has a “me first” guy. Young said it was never a problem for Sanders because he was great, but also because he was an excellent teammate. The public image never got in the way of the team.
Young isn’t convinced the same is true for Cam.
“In some ways I think maybe that’s the emotion you’re getting from Donte, from Jeff, from others. It’s ‘Dude we’ve been in locker rooms, we’re telling you that doesn’t work.’
“He should be one of the all-time greats. His numbers are really, really good. He should be there when we list top 25 guys that ever played, and maybe this is a piece to that puzzle, of the subtlety of why not. You can see the emotion from players and ex-players of what it looks like to them.”
Listen to the full interview below.