The father of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton said Thursday he will not attend the Heisman Trophy award ceremony because his presence might “rob Cam and the event of a sacred moment.”
Cecil Newton, who was invited to attend Saturday by the Heisman Trust, released the statement Thursday through George Lawson, the Atlanta-based Newton family attorney.
“For all of my 50 years of life, coupled with 25 years of marriage, I have made an exhausting attempt to be a good husband, father and generally a good person of integrity,” said Cecil Newton, who was involved in a failed pay-for-play scheme during his son’s recruitment to Mississippi State. “The past 60 days have caused all that my family worked to accomplish to come into question.
“So that my son Cam Newton can receive all the honors and congratulations that he has worked so hard to accomplish without distraction, I have decided not to be in attendance at the ceremony as it will perhaps rob Cam and the event of a sacred moment.”
Cam Newton is the favorite to receive the Heisman Trophy on Saturday in New York. The other finalists are Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Oregon running back LaMichael James.
The junior college transfer has led the Tigers to a Southeastern Conference title and into the BCS national championship game against Oregon on Jan. 10 in Glendale, Ariz.
The NCAA reinstated Newton after a one-day suspension by Auburn last week, ruling that neither the player nor Auburn knew of his father’s attempts to get money.
Newton told ESPN on Thursday that he hadn’t directly asked his father what transpired between him and Mississippi State, but “at the end of the day I can look him in the eye and know he has my best interests at heart.”
Newton said it wasn’t for him to say if his father had done anything wrong, but he knows his father is there for him.
“My love for him is unconditional,” Cam Newton said. “This type of situation can split a family, but it makes us stronger.”
The NCAA and state officials continue to investigate the payment scheme, trying to determine who knew what and if laws were broken.