In light of Monday night’s report from FOX that Auburn QB Cam Newton cheated while he was at Florida, SB Nation’s Team Speed Kills raises a good point: Why does this news matter?
According to the report, Newton was arrested in 2008 while he was a student at Florida for stealing a laptop. And in another incident, he allegedly violated the honor code by passing off another student’s paper as his own. Both of these are indefensible acts, but neither should affect his status as Auburn’s quarterback — Newton can’t be punished at his current school for violating another university’s honor code. Which leaves Team Speed Kills wondering why this story is coming out at all:
I can’t think of why it’s newsworthy to begin with. So he cheated and was about to be expelled — what am I supposed to do with this information? Think less of him? It’s interesting gossip, but I’m not sure that it’s a journalistic endeavor any more than finding out who John Mayer’s latest girlfriend is.
This is different than the possible pay issue. Records like this are supposed to be confidential, and there’s no reason to report on them unless it has ramifications for Newton’s career at Auburn. Otherwise, it’s just a cheap smear.
There is already plenty of speculation that Florida coach Urban Meyer and the Gators football program are connected to the leaks in this story. Expect those rumors to intensify now that private records from Florida have magically become public. Clearly, someone at Florida is talking to FOX. And FOX is more than willing to run with whatever info it's being fed.