The criticism of Cam Newton’s end zone extracurriculars, mainly his penchant for dancing, hit a crescendo during the 2015 NFL season. Perhaps race played a part in the negative perception of Newton’s enjoyment of the Dab, or perhaps opposing fans simply got frustrated by how frequently Newton ended up across the goal line—he had 10 rushing TDs last season—and needed somewhere to channel their anger.
Newton has been hesitant to address the motivation behind his touchdown celebrations, mostly attributing them to the immense joy he gets from playing the game of football. The only time he really gave us a glimpse of mental mechanisms for breaking it down was after a game against the Tennessee Titans, in which his celebrations riled up a few Titans defenders, stating after the game, “If you don’t want me to do it, then don’t let me in.”
Now, in a rousing speech given to participants in a CNF Atlanta 7-v-7 tournament, Newton finally revealed the real motivation behind his furious dance moves after putting up six points.
“When you see me play, they see me dabbing, they see me dancing, they see me doing this and doing that. Why? Because I’m telling everybody on that field, ‘I can do what I want to, when I want to do it,'” Netwon said. “Is that disrespectful? No. That’s all belief in myself.”
Newton has never lacked confidence, which is partly why he was able to guide the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl last season. He plays with such fierce passion that his dance moves almost feel more like an outlet for his excess energy than a celebration. Newton’s self-belief fuels him, and a dab or two is what results from his becoming an unstoppable force.