(Special hat tip to Hedges to Hardwood, where I first found any mention of this story.)
In case you missed it, because I know I did, the House of Representatives of the Georgia General Assembly passed a resolution on Friday honoring Cameron Jerrell "Cam" Newton on the heels of his Heisman Trophy victory. In so doing he joined Herschel Walker and Charlie Ward, Jr. as only the third Georgian to win the award. You can read the full text of the House resolution here.
It was introduced by Auburn alum George Hooks, a native of Sumter County. He is an Eagle Scout, a Rotarian, and so far as I can tell a credit to his momma and daddy in all respects except his unfortunate choice of colleges. If you see Representative Hooks give him a pat on the back and wish him well. Few people get rich serving in the Georgia House, nor do they ever think "I gotta stop doing this because serving in the legislature just leaves me too much free time with my family." Serving in the General Assembly is an act of service to one's neighbors, and the citizens of Georgia's 14th district should be proud to have Representative Hooks batting for them in Atlanta.
That being said I call poppycock on House Resolution 522. Look, I used to work in politics. I understand that this resolution took almost no one's time and that there are gajillions of other resolutions like this passed every year without so much as a titter or frown. Heck, I've even been among those honored by a house resolution for winning something far less momentous than a Heisman Trophy (State literary champion. Y'all better recognize).
But this one was not a good idea. At a minimum it's bad timing. With an NCAA investigation quietly trudging along into exactly how Cam Newton came to choose Auburn and who may have benefited from that decision, I can only imagine how dumb this resolution will look if the worst of the allegations bear fruit. It also demonstrates that you could sneak through a dual resolution honoring Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels if you just told your fellow legislators that they were a pair of sweet potato farmers from Cairo who had published a "revolutionary pamphlet on production systems and efficient use of labor designed to benefit the common man." Half wouldn't know the difference and the other half wouldn't even be on the floor to point it out.
Now, this isn't the first time a legislative resolution has been front page news here at Dawg Sports. You may recall that when U.S. Representative Jack Kingston, a great American regardless of your party affiliation, refused to vote for a resolution honoring the Florida Gators as BCS football national champions, it made some waves. Kyle chastised him for it, not once, but twice before conceding that Kingston, a native Athenian, is in fact a Damn Good Dawg. But Kingston's stand, whether one agrees with it or not, was qualitatively different. There's no doubt that the Florida Gators demonstrated commitment and hard work on the way to their championships, the legitimacy of which have never been questioned to my knowledge. Kingston's stance was, at least to some extent, tongue-in-cheek. He never argued that the Gators had not accomplished something exemplary. He just felt that as a Georgian and an alumnus of the University of Georgia sent to Congress to do the peoples' business, the resolution was frivolous. He wasted less of the peoples' time and money voting against it than the people who drafted and introduced it did. And oh yeah, as a south Georgian like myself, he really dislikes the Gators. Principles are principles.
Curiously, Resolution 522 lauds Cam Newton for his accomplishments at Westlake High in Fulton County, at Blinn College and at Auburn University. But it omits all reference to Newton's time at Florida. I suppose laptop theft and honor code violations might have killed the mood. Also curiously missing is all but a cursory reference to Bishop Cecil Newton. You know, the guy who has admitted trying to auction off his son's football services and whose official position is still that, yes, even though he wanted $180,000 for his son to play at Mississippi State he was nevertheless willing to let him play at Auburn for free. Also missing was any reference to the fact that Newton actually played football at Auburn for one semester. He then left to enter the NFL Draft. I haven't done a lot of digging, but I'm wiling to bet that if legislators were just itching to honor someone affiliated with Auburn and hailing from the Peach State, they could have easily found someone with both a stronger connection to the University and a shorter rap sheet. Someone who actually went there for a whole year, even.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go draft my resolution honoring alltime great University of South Carolina football player and LaGrange native Blake Mitchell for his outstanding work in the fields of interception logistics and barfight studies. Until later . . .