Welcome to Tom Talks, the sports talk show of the printed page. Last week Tom Talks was among the best read stories in sports. I suspect this is because the first question was about a column out of Arizona in which the writer suggested Cam Newton would be a good quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals. Ah, well, can’t go back there. The contract Newton signed with the Carolina Panthers renders the Arizona story inconsequential.
Tom, Clyde from Clyde.
Do you think when Cam’s contract with the Panthers expires he could be an Arizona Cardinal?
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Tom, Marion from Marion. I demand you write a column that says North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams should be fired.
Do you hang out on N.C. State message boards?
Yes, and I’m proud of it.
I’ve heard from several of you. You can certainly make a case that Williams should have known. But what if he didn’t? Can you say without equivocating that Williams was conversant with North Carolina’s massive academic scandal? Nothing I’ve seen in the NCAA’s notice of allegations or in last fall’s Wainstein report suggests Williams knew. I can’t write something I don’t believe.
You look down on perpetually put-upon fans such as me that love us some message boards, don’t you?
That’s not true. I’d say simply that if I learned that either of my sons hung out on message boards I’d acknowledge my failure as a father and their failure to attain a decent social life.
Tom, Grover from Grover. You saw the Panthers in two of their OTAs. Who’s impressed you?
Wide receiver Corey “Don’t Call Me Philly” Brown and cornerback Josh Norman look good. Brown, who has added weight without losing speed, runs crisp routes and catches everything. Norman is Norman, which is to say that he has the drive, talent and confidence to be one of the league’s best.
Nancy from Nags Head.
Of course you moved to Nags Head. Where else could you live? Do you miss me?
Of course not. How do you like the NBA playoffs so far?
The playoffs are a celebration of basketball, and those of us who love the sport are fortunate to partake. Nobody asks if you’ll watch the game. They ask only where. Yet amazingly I still hear people complain that the playoffs go on too long. That’s like saying, “Hey, vacation is really good. Sure hope it ends.”
Tom, Earl from Earl.
Do you know Stanley from Stanley?
Can’t say I do. LeBron needs only one name. So do Michael and Kobe. When does Steph Curry become Steph?
In mid-June, I suspect.
Tom, Benson from Benson.
Benson isn’t a first name.
You know how parents that come from affluence – or hope to live there – give kids a name that reeks of money.
Say no more.
Anything you can tell me about Newton’s contract that I haven’t heard?
Many old school teams would have been reluctant to invest $20 million a year on a running quarterback. Seattle’s Russell Wilson, who will make more money than Newton, runs, but he’s more likely to extend a play than take off. Newton needs to run; it would be foolish to waste such a gift. But he’ll run less – not because of his contract but because of his experience and age.
This is Rock from Rock Hill. Hey, idiot. I spend a lot of time on my S.C. school’s message board. I put on school colored pajamas, pour a drink and devote three or four hours to exchanging insights with people as angry as I am about the lack of respect our school receives from officials, the media and the world. And you don’t think I have a social life?
I stand corrected.