Cam Newton, born in 1989 (sigh) in Savannah, Ga., grew up as a Falcons fan. Can you blame him? He was 12 years old when Atlanta took Michael Vick with the No. 1 pick in the 2001 NFL Draft. His formative years were going down while Vick was lighting up opponents in a Falcons uniform.
Of the rivalry matchup, Newton told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "It's always a heavily critiqued game. I've always been a Falcons fan, and I'm still a Falcons fan except for those two times a year."
Local North Carolina sports talk radio shows, you may go ahead and turn your "auto-pilot" on. This is the sort of thing that plays perfectly into stupid, lazy stereotypes of Cam. That he doesn't care enough or that he's more Hello, Kitty than he is Superman.
Reality is Cam's just being honest. And probably too honest for his own good. There will be inevitable, worthless criticism that comes out of this.
It'll be in the same vein as the guff that Colin Kaepernick got for owning and wearing a Dolphins hat. (Aside: I don't think either move is smart, per se, because the criticism is inevitable, but that doesn't make the criticism any less dumb or it's-the-offseason driven.)