Read the opposing argument from Bleacher Fan.
At what point does a whole lot of smoke mean something is on fire?
Maybe smoke becomes fire when a recruiting broker takes over. Maybe smoke becomes fire when accusations begin to fly about a player’s eligibility. Maybe smoke becomes fire when a player’s parents suddenly “luck” into a multi-million dollar house, or a huge financial gift.
Really, though, smoke becomes fire when speculation turns to evidence. At this stage of the Cam Newton wrong-doing investigation, speculation is still speculation. Because of that truth, Newton cannot be banned from anything yet, including the field, awards, and post-season play.
It’s a familiar refrain that you may have heard and read about before. Boy meets football, boy is good at football, boy is corrupted by football and is pulled into a universe of controversy.
But that familiar refrain is dangerous to buy into without hearing all of the facts of a case before rendering a judgment.
Bleacher Fan proved out in his argument that Cam Newton has a distinct pattern of corrupted behavior. Because Newton is a youngster, it is fair to assume that the people who surround him and influence his actions may also be corruptible.
But, the United States is a great country where innocence is supposed to be assumed… a simple rule that stands the test of time for a reason – it works. It applies in our judicial system, and it applies in our sports, too.
While Bleacher Fan brings up a great analogy from Band of Brothers, I’m hoping you’ll consider the movie Minority Report. In case the plot doesn’t jump to mind, the premise of the film is to explore what the world would be like if human beings were prosecuted for crimes BEFORE they have even committed any.
The essence of the Newton case is the same. Bleacher Fan – and others – are promoting the idea that simply because Newton MAY have committed some wrong-doing that we should all indict his actions and ban him from the field and the awards ceremonies. Like it or not, however, our culture must prevent that from occurring. If we ban people from activities based on what they MAY do, the slope becomes slippery and the concept of what defines an action deserving of a ban widens.
We have a strong cultural foundation here in the United States, of innocence until proven guilty. We cannot simply begin revising it based on circumstantial evidence and presumed actions.
Bleacher Fan notes that the allegations against Newton have not yet been proven false, and THAT, he believes, is enough of an argument to legitimately ban Newton from the field and the Heisman Trophy ceremony. Simply, that is not even close to enough evidence to punish Newton, and certainly not enough to punish the entire Auburn program.
It is possible that when the entire investigation is completed and all of the evidence is gathered that Cam Newton is totally innocent of all wrong-doing. Culturally we have to believe that, or the entire premise of our government and sports culture is compromised.
The Reggie Bush situation forced college football to lose much of its innocence. It is a shame, but it is a fact. It is a fact that fuels a renewed amount of sports cultural cynicism amongst fans and media. It is enough to distract us from what we know to believe is true… that people are innocent until proven guilty.
The wise decision – the Patriotic decision – is to let this whirlwind of allegations play itself out. Newton is either guilty, or innocent. Let’s allow the facts to decide, and keep the sports media out of the judge and jury role.