As the hype for Super Bowl 50 builds, so too will the intensity of the discussion around the on-field actions of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
Newton, the odds-on favorite to win the NFL’s MVP award, has drawn both praise and criticism for his elaborate end-zone celebrations, which begin with a series of dance moves and invariably end with the quarterback handing the football to a child in the stands.
At the very least, Newton can count Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall among his supporters.
In a Wednesday night appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore,” Marshall spoke out in support of Newton’s on-field persona and attempted to address the source of the criticism surrounding the quarterback.
“When you look at it, it’s a generational thing and I just stick to that,” Marshall said. “I don’t think it’s racial. I just think there’s a box we put our quarterbacks in and we say: ‘This is how you’re supposed to be. This is how Peyton Manning did it. This is how Joe Montana did it . . . so you do it the same way.’ ”
Newton addressed the issue during his weekly media availabiltiy on Wednesday.
“I’m an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing they can compare me to,” Newton said.
Marshall knows how it feels to be criticized from all angles. The receiver experienced a slew of highly publicized legal issues before publically admitting his diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.
Since then, Marshall has become one of the league’s most visibly active players in ancillary media, making regular appearances on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.”
Marshall left Newton with a simple message.
“He’s been a great voice for us, and he’s doing some amazing things,” Marshall said. “I love it. Keep doing it. Keep dancing.”