Cam Newton lives his life out loud. His dress, dance and exuberance for a game he’s been playing since he was a child are evident every time he steps on the field. He lives for these moments. It’s as if the universe blessed him with pearly whites just so he could smile at his haters. You’ve heard all the stories about his clothes and his trouble in school and his “dabbing on ’em.” But there’s so much more you don’t know about this Carolina Panthers quarterback.
Below are six little-known facts about the man who hopes to dance his way into the history books.
1. Ever heard of Blinn College?
For many, the small two-year school based in Brenham, Texas, is a feeder college for larger state schools. The college offers several vocational programs: nursing, surgical technology, EMS and physical-therapy assisting. For Newton in 2009 it was an oasis, a place for reflection on a football career he almost squandered after being caught with a stolen laptop while at the University of Florida. Newton led Blinn College’s Buccaneers to the National Junior College Athletic Association National Football Championship and was named JUCO All-America honorable mention for football.
Blinn College not only gave Newton the opportunity to shine on the football field but would also help him refocus. He would leave the school for Auburn and then go off to the NFL in 2011.
2. Cam is a college graduate.
At the same time that Newton was out “dabbing” on the field, he was also hitting the books. In 2015 he fulfilled a promise to his mother, earning a degree in sociology.
“It just gives me so much chills,” Newton told ESPN. “It’s like, I’m in the … league class that so many people cherish, but I also can shine light to so many other people that was in the dark. Just to say, ‘Why do I need my degree? I already got money. Why do I need my degree?’ … It’s not about how it may seem to you. It just makes sense.
“I’m Cam Newton. I’m a graduate of a college. Not only a college—one of the best colleges. Or, in my opinion, the best college, you know, in the nation, at Auburn University."
3. Cam doesn’t eat meat.
While he is known for eating up defenses, Newton, according to the Charlotte Observer, is a pescatarian: He loves some seafood but passes on meat. A pescatarian diet excludes land animals and birds but includes fish, mollusks and crustaceans, in addition to fruits, vegetables, plants, legumes, nuts and grains. Depending on the individual, eggs or dairy may or may not be a part of the diet. Newton gave up meat in 2013 and told ESPN that the transition was hard at first: “It’s been challenging at times, especially being around the locker room, where you get guys eating hot wings, nachos, hot dogs and hamburgers all the time.”
He added that he was committed to the process and the discipline required to maintain the lifestyle change. “Ever since I gave up the meat … I like it. I like the way I was feeling. I stuck with it ever since,” he said.
4. Cam ban?
The hate is so strong that one Seattle Seahawks fans started an online petition to ban Newton from the Century Link field. Andrew Tilton started the Change.org petition to “put his arrogance in check!!”
“He is one of the most unsportsmanlike quarterback[s] in the NFL and deserves to be banned from Century Link Field,” Tilton wrote. “He dislikes Washington as a whole anyways, so why not move to make this possible.”
Tilton continued: “Cam Newton is one of the most unprofessional, unsportsmanlike individual[s] on the face of the planet. So I say for the 2016-2017 when the Panthers come to play in Seattle he should be banned from entering the stadium. This should teach him to put his arrogance in check!!”
The petition, with already more than 2,300 signatures, is on pace to reach its goal of 2,500 by the time Super Bowl 50 starts.
5. Cam loves da strippers.
Dec. 11, two days before the Carolina Panthers would rout the Atlanta Falcons 38-0, Newton and Rick Ross were spotted at a strip club in North Carolina making it thunderstorm on dancers while Rozay performed. Later that month, Newton and longtime girlfriend Kia Proctor gave birth to the couple’s first son, Chance, on Christmas Eve. According to Heavy.com, Proctor is a former model and stripper who once danced at Stadium nightclub in Washington, D.C., where she performed under the name Hazel.
6. You, too, can dress like Cam Newton … well, sort of.
If you want a pair of zebra-print Versace pants like the ones Newton wore recently, well, good luck with that. Those pants sold out shortly after Newton sported them. What many don’t know is that Newton has his own line with Southern retail giant Belk called Made Cam Newton. The line is made up of mostly basics, merino fabrics and dress pants, but if you really want the Newton look, I am sure you can get any of the pants hemmed 2 inches too short.
Stephen A. Crockett Jr. is associate editor of news at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.