Part of the reason people irrationally criticize Cam Newton has to go back to his time at Auburn.
People still haven't forgotten that the current Carolina Panthers star was caught up in a pay-for-play controversy over his recruitment, something he never got suspended for. Every Alabama fan who finds this post will make a "SCam Newton" joke in the comments. Never gets old.
Now that Johnny Manziel has gone from overexposed college student having fun to one embroiled in a controversy over whether he broke NCAA rules by allegedly selling his autograph, he can probably prepare for a NFL future that includes people finding ways to rip him when none exist, like blasting him for developing way too slow even if he has perhaps the best first two seasons of any quarterback in NFL history. That's what has happened to Newton, after all.
They have a lot in common, so the Panthers quarterback has reached out to his brother in the Heisman Trophy fraternity to offer advice, including that he "has to go through these types of situations to know how to handle them in the future."
Newton told the Associated Press he has talked to Manziel a few times this offseason.
''When I was there at college so many people wanted from me and I wanted to give so much,'' Newton said, according to the AP. ''Like I would sign this and give my time and this, this and that. And nobody was looking at it through my (eyes). If you say no to this particular person you are going to be a (jerk). You are going to be the person that people look at as, 'What's up? We came out here and supported you and cheered for you and you can't sign an autograph?' Never mind that you signed 300 other autographs before. But that's the nature of the beast.''
Before Manziel came along, Newton was probably the most polarizing Heisman winner, among those still in school (we'll leave O.J. out of the conversation that way). Newton was cleared by the NCAA and never missed any games, and perhaps the same will happen with Manziel. But the stigma will likely follow Manziel no matter what, like it has with Newton.
Newton told AP he hopes ''that everything works out in the best for him so he can get back to what he likes to do and that's playing football.'' Because probably better than anyone else in the world, he can relate to what Manziel is going through right now.
"For any college athlete you are vulnerable to so many things,'' Newton told AP. ''You think everybody loves you for who you are.''
Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Much like Johnny Manziel, Desmond Howard is embroiled in photo-related flap
• Johnny Manziel could be a rebel with a cause
• Johnny Manziel doesn’t speak publicly at Aggies’ preseason camp