Cam’s “Dab” Dance Debate Is An Example of Old School Journalists With New School Objectives 

When you acknowledge BS and legitimize garbage, then we end up here.

Debating whether or not a touchdown dance (something that has been around since the NFL first hit a TV screen) which bothered some disgruntled Tennessee Titans fan is unsportsmanlike, is the epitome of stupid.That battle has been waged with many a player over many a decade and it is now a regulated and accepted part of a very emotional game, where players may do supernatural things, but are not robots. The NFL has never been shy about trying to control and contain the level of celebration a player shows on any given play. 

On the other hand, the NFL loves and benefits from that stuff. So do the fans — unless their team is the one getting dabbed on.

In the matter of Cam Dancing…or Dabbing…the media has become the blind leading the blind. The blind being social media, commentators such as Cris Carter and the need for once reputable newspapers such as The Charlotte Observer to now have to create “tabloidish” nonsense news in order to sell papers and survive in a changing journalism landscape.  

It all started with a TD celebration against the Tennessee Titans, which explained beautifully.

Cam Newton whipped out a popular dance called The Dab to celebrate scoring a touchdown. And not just any touchdown, but an incredibly hard one that involved the Carolina Panthers quarterback rushing, pushing and holding on to the pigskin for dear life to get through Titan defense and over the goal line. And he did it.

So the 65 star quarterback danced to his hearts content for eight seconds doing The Dab, a dance that was popularized by Atlanta-based rap group Migos and has since spread. The dance is basically leaning into ones elbow. Newtown (born and bred in Atlanta) then lifted both arms in the air, as if flexing, all to a beat in his head.

And that was about it.

That was until members of the defense, salty about Newtons celebration, rushed at him. In a defiant response, Newton continued to dance right in their faces for another second or two. As he put it in a post-game press conference, Im a firm believer if you dont like me to do it, then dont let me in. As in, dont let him in the end zone.

And as Newton pointed out, fans of the player love when he does it, instructing him to Dab on them folks! when hes in the end zone. And everyone who saw him Dab on them folks in Tennessee loved it enough to share the clip of Newtons dance moves all over social media…

One woman, a Tennessee mother by the name of Rosemary Plorin, was outraged by the display and felt that Newton was demonstrating unsportsmanlike conduct. Oh, and also traumatizing her child. Heres the open letter she sent to the Charlotte Observer:

Dear Mr. Newton,

Congratulations on your win in Nashville today. Our team played well, but yours played better. Kudos to the Panthers organization.

That game happened to be my nine year old daughters first live NFL experience. She was surprised to see so many Panthers fans sitting in our section of the stadium; that doesnt happen much at fourth grade football games. And she was excited we were near the end zone, so we would be close to the action, particularly in the second half.

Because of where we sat, we had a close up view of your conduct in the fourth quarter. The chest puffs. The pelvic thrusts. The arrogant struts and the in your face taunting of both the Titans players and fans. We saw it all.

I refuse to believe you dont realize you are a role model. You are paid millions of dollars every week to play hard and be a leader. In the off season youre expected to make appearances, support charities, and inspire young kids to pursue your sport and all sports. With everything the NFL has gone through in recent years, Im confident they have advised that you are, by virtue of your position and career choice, a role model.

And because you are a role model, your behavior brought out like behavior in the stands. Some of the Panthers fans in our section began taunting the hometown fans. Many Titans fans booed you, a few offering instructive, but not necessarily family friendly, suggestions as to how you might change your behavior.

My daughter sensed the change immediately and started asking questions. Wont he get in trouble for doing that? Is he trying to make people mad? Do you think he knows he looks like a spoiled brat?

I didnt have great answers for her, and honestly, in an effort to minimize your negative impact and what was otherwise a really fun day, I redirected her attention to the cheerleaders and mascot.

I could tell she was still thinking about it as we boarded a shuttle back to our car. I guess he doesnt have kids or a Mom at home watching the game, she added.

I dont know about your family life Mr. Newton, but I think Im safe in saying thousands of kids watch you every week. You have amazing talent and an incredible platform to be a role model for them. Unfortunately, what you modeled for them today was egotism, arrogance and poor sportsmanship.

Is that what your coaches and mentors modeled for you, Mr. Newton?

Why even publish this letter? Having worked in the newspaper business since 1996, I know that major pubs like The Charlotte Observer get hundreds of letters from all kinds of people. Usually the people who take the time to write disparaging letters and lick shots at athletes or public figures and use their kids as a shield against backlash are pretty screwed up.

The traumatized fan says she redirected her (daughters) attention to the cheerleaders and mascot.” Really? Youd rather have your daughter watch some half-dressed women gyrating and twerking than a Cam Newton boogie, fully clothed with football gear on?

A freakin football celebration was hard to explain? The game may have been the daughter’s first live game, but it certainly wasn’t the first football game she’s ever seen. 

Shame on you Charlotte Observer for feeding into the BS. You printed it for the controversy. The hype. Cam is a top figure right now and an easy target. By legitimizing the rant of an easily-forgotten fan spewing her sour grapes in a more than easily forgotten letter, you attempted to feed on your own. Bad business. That’s not reporting news fairly or objectively, so don’t try that excuse either. You’ve been right there covering the last 50 years of NFL football just like every other paper. You know that end zone celebrations are now a deeply ingrained aspect of the modern NFL football package showcasing a league that’s about 70 percent African-American. 

Jason Whitlock doesnt even think its a big deal for Cams sake.

In fact, he broke it down to its very last compound. Cam is becoming the No. 1 attraction in the NFL while having to carry an undermanned offensive squad over the highest mountains of adversity. Hes officially branded as the baddest-ass QB on the planet.

He goes head up with defensive ends in an era where breathing on a QB will get you 15 and a flag. Its not about the dancing. People probably have more of a problem with Cams “arrogance” — a word often associated with successful black men. What people like Rosemary are raging against is a successful brother, at the top of his game, not giving a damn what the less-cultured think. In this world we live in today, everyone and anyone can truly have an opinion and if it can be exploited for profit or gain, some entity will promote its all-encompassing absurdity.

End zone celebrations have made the NFL as much money as the TV contracts themselves. Cam is intelligent and his marketing team continues to make loot for Team Cam, the Carolina Panthers and the League. Hes intelligent enough to actually understand the business of entertainment and hes confident enough in himself as a QB (Just as Aaron Rodgers is when he does his soul-less discount double check move) to be that guy who can bring it all together and produce the perfect football player; a guy who talks the talk, walks the walk, captivates the masses and serves up some whoop ass on Sundays.

There was only one “Neon” Deion Sanders.

Only one Chad OchoCinco. Only one Mark Gastineau, who used to shmoney hop all over the field after whacking QBs throughout the 80s. There were a bunch of tight skirts and strained suits with no understanding of emotion or New York culture who vilified Gastineau for raising ratings and igniting or inciting the NFL community with his “Sack Dance.”

Cant forget Billy White Shoes Johnson. He had some dope choreography and his celebrations lasted longer than Cams dab-a-do-ya.

He Should Know Hes A Role Model.


Cam fully understands this and thats why he endears himself to fans and the Carolina community. Hes known for taking the extra time to visit sick children or offer a word of encouragement to someone. After he scores he gives the football to kids in the stands, even recruiting his teammates to follow suit. His legion of followers are addicted to his infectious smile, impenetrable steez and the entertainment value and swag he brings to the game. This isnt 1962. The world has changed five times over. People want their money’s worth. 

There will always be people with outrageous takes and hidden agendas. Its just odd that a North Carolina paper would put their savior on blast for some random fan. Cam is the darling of The Carolinas right now and he should be protected as such by the media. We arent asking anyone to cover up a DUI or an arrest. Just exercise some integrity when highlighting people with ideas and opinions that we know are totally insane and lack an understanding of the subject matter they are attacking.

Thats the last I have to say about Cam dancing. The brother already told us he was going to keep doing it. He told The Daily News that hes having the time of his life during Carolinas 9-0 start and plans to keep enjoying every minute. Football careers are too short to curb your appetite and enthusiasm for some couch potato madness.

He immortalized the dab after that beastly 2-yard run in the fourth-quarter of Carolinas 28-10 thumping of Tennessee on Sunday. High school players across the country and especially in the Charlotte area have started mimicking Cams dance (which by the way, wasn’t invented by Cam. High-profile athletes and entertainers often feed off and serve as the messengers of an ongoing underground street movement.)

Seems like the womans plan backfired. She has not only made herself look foolish and overly critical, but she has just raised Cams popularity another couple of notches, which will undoubtedly bring more attention to his game which is killer.

Cam’s taking this all in stride. That takes me to a happy place, Newton said. I remember when I was in high school and I used to look up to guys that do things and I would try to mimic it.

He loves it when the cameras come out. His flavorful end zone routines are an example of his total personality and serve as integral, symbolic components of Cam’s responsibility to his team, fans, football culture and the overall health of the NFL.

Back to top