Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been in the headlines lately not for his play on the field but for his conduct off it.
In October, Newton came under fire and lost endorsement deals when he bizarrely told a reporter from the Charlotte Observer that it was “funny to hear a female talk about routes,” after she asked a question at a press conference.
Newton later apologized for his “extremely degrading and disrespectful” comments, saying he had “learned a valuable lesson from this” and encouraged his young fans to “learn something from this as well.”
“Don’t be like me,” he said in a video message, “be better than me.”
Perhaps in an effort to show his followers just how far he has come, Newton posted the mugshot from his November 2008 arrest on social media earlier this week along with a heartfelt message about overcoming obstacles and the power of God’s mercy.
į ¢öñtëmplâtëd pöštįñg thįš âñd ëvëñ rëlü¢tâñt âböüt įt büt âš į thįñk âböüt mÿ lįfë âñd thë MÅNŸ thįñgš įm THÅNKFŪŁ för; į wâñt tö bë âñ Ø₽ËN böök šö pëöplë ¢âñ hërë mÿ tëštįmöñÿ âñd lëârñ fröm thë FŁÅ₩š âñd mįštâkëš į MÅDË❗️öñ thįš dâÿ 11/21/2008 į wâš ârrëštëd för â štölëñ ŁÅ₽töp âñd įm šürë ÿöür âškįñg ÿöüršëlf whërë įš hë göįñg wįth thįš štörÿ büt thë mörâl öf thë štörÿ įš thįš…. öñ thįš dâtë į THØŪGHT mÿ lįfë âñd mÿ ¢ârëër wâš ØVËR âñd thë fâ¢t thât į hâd šhâmëd mÿ fâmįlÿ wįth thë mëdįâ ¢övërâgë šürröüñdįñg thįš šįtüâtįöñ į vöwëd tö mÿšëlf öñ thįš dâÿ (9ÿrš âgö) thât "į wįll ßË ßËTTËR fröm thįš šįtüâtįöñ" whât ÿöü müšt lëârñ fröm thįš štörÿ įš thįš; įf ÿöü lįvë ÿöür lįfë lįštëñįñg tö whât ØTHËR pëöplë ârë šâÿįñg whât ÿöü šhöüld dö ÅND NØT ŸØŪR Ø₩N; šhâmë öñ ŸØŪ! į ¢âñ höñëštlÿ šâÿ tö ÿöü tödâÿ thât NØöñë gâvë më â ¢hâñ¢ë tö šü¢¢ëëd döwñ bâd įñ mÿ šįtüâtįöñ âñd įf į wöüld hâvë lįštëñëd tö thöšë pëöplë thât šâįd į €ÅNT, ₩HØ KNØ₩š whërë į wöüld bë tödâÿ. šö įm ËXTRËMËŁŸ THÅNKFŪŁ FØR GØDš mër¢ÿ, grâ¢ë, âñd FÅVØR övër mÿ Ł1FË; šö įf į ¢âñ dö įt wįth mÿ ¢įr¢ümštâñ¢ëš šürëlÿ ÿöü ¢âñ dö įt âñd ßË ₩HÅTËVËR ŸØŪ ₩ÅNT TØ ßË wįth HÅRD ₩ØRK âñd ₽ËR$1$TËN€Ë❗️ -1ØVË šįdë NØTË: âñd pëöplë wöñdër whÿ į plâÿ thë gâmë thë wâÿ į dö, â¢t thë wâÿ į â¢t, drëšš thë wâÿ į drëšš, âñd ëvëñ Ł1VË thë wâÿ į Ł1VË bë¢âüšë įñ šömë pëöplëš ëÿëš "įm ñöt šüppöšëd tö bë hërë" büt įñ mÿ ëÿëš įm ñöt göįñg tö hâvë ÅNŸ rëgrëtš wįth thë šë¢öñd ¢hâñ¢ë GØD hâš gįvëñ më❗️ "(bâll šö hârd) įm šhö¢këd töö ĪM $Ū₽₽Ø$ËD TØ ßË ŁØ€KËD Ū₽ TØØ įf ÿöü ëš¢âpëd whât į'vë ëš¢âpëd ŸØŪ'D ßË 1N ₽ÅR1$ GËTT1NG MË$$ËD Ū₽ TØØ" -JÅŸż #iWmW -1OVE #šhįñëTHRŪthëŠHÅDË #1FįČÅNdö1TÿöüĆÅNtö #frömTHËčöñćrëtëWHØkñëwÅflöwërWØŪŁDgröw #įŪŠËmÿ1NFŁŪËNČËtö1NŠPÏRË
“I contemplated posting this and even reluctant about it,” Newton wrote on Instagram. “But as I think about my life and the many things I’m thankful for, I want to be an open book so people can hear my testimony and learn from the flaws and mistakes I made.”
As the Charlotte Observer reported, Tuesday marked the nine-year anniversary of his arrest for stealing a laptop while he was the backup quarterback at the University of Florida. Newton was charged with felony counts of burglary, larceny, and obstructing justice on November 21, 2008. A police report said he threw the laptop, valued at $1,700, out of his dorm room window, and he was suspended from the team while being held in jail.
Though the charges were ultimately dropped, Newton admitted in the post that he thought his life and career were over in that moment, but he promised himself that he would emerge a stronger, better man.
“The moral of the story is this… on this date I thought my life and my career was over and vowed to myself on this day (9 years ago) that ‘I will be better from this situation,’” he shared. “What you must learn from this story is this: if you live you life listening to what other people are saying you should do and not your own, shame on you!”
Fans and pundits alike were quick to praise the QB for so boldly opening up about his transgressions. Many agreed that posts like this have “ripple effects” that “make the difference” in someone else’s life.
“I respect you for doing this,” wrote T. Tyson.
“This is going to help some young man,” posted another fan.
Newton concluded his post by thanking God for the grace and forgiveness that has allowed him to triumph despite feeling like “no one gave [him] a chance to succeed.”
“I’m extremely thankful for God’s mercy, grace, and favor over my life,” he said. “So if I can do it with my circumstances, surely you can do it and be whatever you want to be with hard work and persistence.”
(H/T: Daily Mail)