January 11, 2011
Cecil Newton didn't see his son Cam quarterback Auburn to an SEC title or win the Heisman Trophy. And he wasn't supposed to see him play in Monday night's BCS Championship Game either. It was all part of a punishment restricting the elder Newton to "limited access" to Auburn's football program after it was discovered that he shopped his son to Mississippi State for $180,000 during his recruiting process.
Yet, after Cam led Auburn to a thrilling 22-19 victory over the second-ranked Oregon Ducks, father and son were captured on camera in a joyous embrace in the stands. The photo, captured by Vasha Hunt of the Opelika-Auburn News, was snapped moments after Newton was seen looking for his father in the crowd at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Earlier in the day, Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said Cecil Newton wouldn't be attending the national championship game. It was a "mutually agreed upon" decision, Jacobs said.
Evidently no one told that to Cecil, who managed to stay unseen during the game, sitting away from his family and out of the view of ESPN cameras. He wasn't on Auburn's ticket list and the university later denied giving him admission to the game.
[Exclusive video: Cam Newton on winning the BCS Championship]
Though we shouldn't begrudge Cecil the right to see his son play in the biggest game of his life, the incident is a slap in the face to Auburn. The school was misled about the father's plans and then had to do damage control hours after the greatest win in school history.
Cecil Newton put Auburn through enough agita over the past two months. The least he could have done was spared them more on Monday night.
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