Saturday, November 13, 2010

Because Auburn Men and Women Believe These Things

Samford Hall
Source:  Ed Packard
I expect the media will be in a frenzy today after the ironically numbered WSB television station (channel 2), released it's "exclusive story" that Cecil Newton, Cam Newton's father, talked about money when discussing whether Cam would sign to play at Mississippi State.

But this writing is not about critiquing the case that is being made against Cecil Newton or Cam Newton - or the conclusion that some have drawn about Auburn's involvement in a potential pay-to-play scheme.

This writing is about Auburn.  Auburn Men. Auburn Women.  The Auburn Family that is comprised of all who have walked through Auburn's doors as students, faculty, staff or supporters. 

We in the Auburn Family who have stood by Cam Newton and our coaches have been accused of being duped by Cam, falling victim to the scheming and machinations of this young man and his father. 

We are told that the opiate of Auburn football has lead us to create an unhealthy cult of personality around a player because he has shown us a path to the promised land:  a BCS National Championship. 

In less original terms, we have been accused of "drinking the Kool-Aid", a cultural reference to the suicides in Jonestown, Guyana, committed by followers of a man so committed to furthering his own personal and political agendas that he lead people to take their own life.  (As with many analogies and metaphors in politics and other human interactions, the meaning of the phrase "drinking the Kool-Aid" has been watered down the further its usage is removed from the source material and the more often it is employed in everyday life.)

While we in the Auburn Family love all of our athletes, we are not unlike the fans of all sports teams who have players that excel beyond expectation. 

When we see an athlete who performs on the field at the level of a Cam Newton ... or a Bo Jackson ... or, at other schools, a Mark Ingram, a Herschel Walker, a Vince Young, or a Tim Tebow ... we will naturally gravitate toward that player, rally around him and celebrate his contributions to the team and to our university. 

When we see that same athlete also perform good deeds in the community, as we have seen with reports of Cam Newton's contributions to Wrights Mill Road Elementary School in Auburn, we are inspired to even greater appreciation of him.

Does this mean we believe that Cam Newton or his father, Cecil, are above doing wrong, that we have bestowed sainthood on either of them?  Of course not.

Our reaction of solidarity in the face of these allegations - these very serious allegations - is based on a principle that has a long life in our society but which seems to have less currency with each passing day:  a person is to be considered innocent of wrong-doing until proof of guilt is presented, proof that convicts him or her beyond a reasonable doubt.

No one likes innuendo or smears or unsubstantiated allegations when one is the target of them.  We want the truth to be revealed and the truth to prevail.

I will not argue that the critics of Cam Newton or Cecil Newton should be valiant defenders of the Newtons.  The critics, the "haters" - to use the vernacular - have to find their own path.

I will argue that the critics of the Newtons should standdown and let the investigations in this case proceed to their conclusion.

And until the investigations produce proof of wrong-doing by Cam Newton, I will encourage the critics of Cam Newton to not judge the Auburn Family for its support of an Auburn Man. 

Even if that undesirable outcome is realized - and, if so, a price must be paid - do not be surprised if members of the Auburn Family stand ready to help Cam Newton, just as many generations of mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters have refused to shed their love of a family member, have refused to see their loved one as irredeemable.

As The Auburn Creed states:
"I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all."
War Eagle!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Ed, for your measured thoughts to the current situation at hand. You can deplore the actions of any individuals involved (if the situation warrants it) while offering support and a hand up. That's certainly what I'd hope for from my (ALL IN) family and friends if I was in a situation where I need guidance and help.