So Im wearing dark blue jeans, a light blue shirt, a blue sports jacket with thin white stripes and brown boots that were supposed to be expensive but I got on sale. I know what youre thinking: How many hours were required to prepare this look? You wont believe this, but I threw it together. Im serious.
Does it work?
It works, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton says.
On Monday Belk, Inc., holds a news conference at its headquarters off Tyvola Road. I must say the news conference is excellent. The food is good, the buffet line moves briskly, the three male dancers are energetic, the four male models look like theyre supposed to and the Belk executives are witty and succinct.
The warm-up acts conclude and Newton walks onto the stage.
This is how upbeat the news conference is: Nobody boos.
The timing is terrible. But how could Belk or Newton anticipate when they set this up that the day before Newton would pass for 141 yards in a 16-12 loss to Seattle and the Panthers would be 1-4?
This evening is about fashion, not football. As Belk employees cheer the quarterback, the MADE Cam Newton mens apparel line is introduced.
If you look good, you feel good, Newton, who wears a subtly striped gray-blue suit, tells the crowd. So I say: What the heck. I try to look as good as I can.
Newton looks good. He looks like a fifth model, except bigger.
So even if the option play the Panthers apparently are contractually obligated to run again fails, Newton will look good as hes driven into the turf.
After the news conference, Newton does a few one-on-one interviews. I get the first (probably because of my outfit).
You want to talk football or fashion?
Youre the reporter, Newton says.
Before we go further, I need to say that the reason Newton has struggled has nothing to do with endorsing a clothing line or any other product. This would be like saying that the reason Panther coach Ron Rivera has struggled is because he appears stoic on the sidelines.
Carolina has enough problems without making them up.
The Panthers have the same record they did last season. But they dont move the ball the way they did and their quarterback does not impose himself the way he did.
I think its more positive than last year, Newton says. Youll see. We can go on and on and on about what the differences are. This is not the time or the place for it. But I can indeed tell you that things will get better this year.
You get time off because of the bye. Where will you go?
Im going back to the drawing board, Newton says. I think (the Seattle loss) was a challenge not only to this team but a personal challenge to everyone. Right before the season started I think the word of the year was accountability .
Me being the kind of person I am, I have to go back and see what has been lacking and work to get better at it.
Football questions really dont work. So: Whos the best dresser on the team?
You got Captain Munnerlyn, thinks hes sponsored by Louis Vuitton, says Newton. You got Charles Johnson, thinks hes sponsored by Gucci. You got Jon Beason. Steve (Smith) does an excellent job with dressing and fashion and, oh, Thomas Davis.
Interestingly, Newton does not mention an offensive lineman.
On game day Newton dresses proudly and preppy and, OK, as if his mom picked out his clothes. Hes conservative; he wears lots of sweater vests. Its a retro style that has become current, as the NBAs Oklahoma City Thunder will attest.
How badly do your teammates criticize your clothes?
Man, if you knew how much I go through with teasing and pranks, he says.
The pranksters are more on the offensive side, he says. You got Steve (Smith), hes a big prankster, and Ryan Kalil and Jordan Gross.
Gross? Gross is nice. Hes too nice to do that.
What? asks Newton. No hes not. No, no, no, no, no.
I believe you.
I also believe that, as much as clothes make the man, its tough to dress for success when youre three games below .500.