I would be lying at this point if I said that I don't feel some sympathy for Cameron Newton. It's pretty much certain at this point that his father, Cecil Newton, is not going to win the Father of the Year Award. Fathers that 'sell' (or even talk about selling) their son are what a lot of people commonly refer to as scum of the earth. It's a shame that his son is at the forefront of this terrible firestorm that he himself created.
Having said all that, here is the latest chapter in the ongoing Cameron Newton Saga:
Last week reports surfaced that Mississippi State Booster Bill Bell had been in contact with the NCAA and provided them with voice messages from Kenny Rogers concerning a request for money in exchange for Cameron Newton joining the MSU football team. Today ESPN broke more news concerning those voice messages and also text messages that were received by Bell.
Bell told ESPN that he informed the NCAA of text messages he received from Rogers outlining a payment plan to buy Newton. According to Bell, Mississippi State would have to pay $80,000 after Newton signed, another $50,000 30 days later, and a final $50,000 30 days after that. Bill Bell said that prior to the text message, he received a call from Kenny Rogers who made if clear after a few conversations that it was going to take some money to get Newton to MSU.
"When he asked for it, it was like 'Bam!'" Bell said. "He told me this kid's dad is going to want money and the next day he sent me a text message. He didn't say anything other than 'This is what I want and I want it in three installments.'"
Bell did make it clear that there was never an instance where Cecil Newton personally asked him for money. However, according to Bell, Newton was present during the phone conversations via a three-way call. Bell stated that he did meet Cecil Newton on a few occasions and although he never asked for money, he made statements that inferred it.
"[Cecil Newton] didn't come out and say, 'I want $180,000,'" Bell said. "He inferred it and talked about it, but not directly. Kenny would talk about it in front of him, and [Cecil Newton] never corrected him or said, 'No, that's not what we're doing.'"
Furthermore, there was one other conversation Bell spoke of that included a cryptic statement from Cecil Newton concerning Mississippi State football head coach Dan Mullen.
"He said it was going to take more than just a relationship with [Mississippi State coach] Dan Mullen and that Cam's relationship with Mullen wasn't what Mullen thought it was," Bell said. "That's when he said, 'Dan Mullen is going to have to put a smile on my face if he thinks he's going to get my son.'"
Some of you may not see anything wrong with that statement and assume that it's just a father looking out for his son's best interests. That's fine if you believe that...when you get your head out of the sand there's more to read.
Bell stated that he made it clear to Rogers that Coach Mullen was the one involved in the recruitment of Newton and there would be no money paid for a player. Rogers response: 'Well, how about $100,000?'
Bell also wanted to make it clear that the only reason he was coming forward was to make it known that Mississippi State did not violate any NCAA violations. He also stated that he knew nothing of anything regarding Auburn's recruitment of Cam Newton.
Kenny Roger's attorney, Douglas Zeit, confirmed that Rogers has also been in contact with the NCAA concerning the allegations. Zeit also stated that he felt Cecil Newton was adamant that Rogers make a request for payment on his behalf.
Bill Bell echoed those feelings saying, "It was probably three phone calls or so before Kenny said, 'They're going to want money,'" Bell recalled. "It just seemed like he didn't know what he was doing, like it was the first time he'd ever done something like that. I really believe it was Mr. Newton asking Kenny to do it. I don't think it was Kenny's idea."
At this point, Bell has only been able to produce the voice messages. He stated that the cell phone he received the texts on was damaged when it got wet. He is currently working with his cell phone provider to retrieve the text messages.
As I said in the beginning. Cameron Newton is the real loser in all of this. Cecil Newton's ship is sinking and he's gladly taking his son with him. Mississippi State fans have been very frustrated as this story continues to build. It's very apparent that MSU would've had this kid had it not been for a greedy, self-absorbed father. For me personally, my frustrations regarding the loss of a once in a lifetime recruit are beginning to fade away. As more of this story continues to break, I begin to feel more and more pity for Cam Newton.
There is a sad bit of irony to that infamous "rented mule" statement Cecil made after forcing his son to go to Auburn. It wasn't Mississippi State that wanted to use Cam as a rented mule. Clearly it was Cecil.