Cam Newton has been really bad this year when he's playing football. It appears he won't be playing much as a Lisfranc injury has him indefinitely sidelined and could require surgery. The good people of Charlotte and surrounding areas are looking for answers, as is human nature after a tragedy befalls. One possible explanation, explored in today's Observer by Brendan Marks, is that the quarterback's new vegan lifestyle is to blame.
"The Observer spoke to several sports nutritionists, dietitians and trainers about Newton’s plant-based diet, and they all came to the same conclusion: What Newton is eating — or rather, isn’t — may be contributing to his on-field struggles and his body’s ability to recovery from injury."
Everything is a culture war. Soy Boy beta Newton is brittle and weak because he doesn't let the red juices of dead animal run down his chin like a good, red-blooded American male.
Of course, it's more complicated than that. All of the experts Marks spoke to did agree that the new diet could be having an impact. None appear flagrantly in the pocket of Big Beef, so there's really not much motivation for spin here.
So what gives?
This explanation is in line with what can happen when a player loses a significant amount of weight while remaining an omnivore. There's an idea of a fighting weight and dipping below it means losing muscle. Some athletes have improved their performance by converting to vegan while others have struggled. Even proponents of the lifestyle would admit it takes more effort to get the required protein and caloric intake a huge sports-playing man like Newton needs to stay strong.
Gerald McCoy and Tony Gonzalez are quoted in the article talking about how they had to re-introduce animal protein back into their diet after struggling to maintain their power. Newton could very well realize that he's putting himself at a competitive disadvantage and call an audible.
Or, and this is a distinct possibility, Newton just suffered an injury that has absolutely nothing to do with his choice of salmon vs. seitan. It's possible he's just regressed as a thrower and isn't being given the opportunity to run by the play-callers.
The Panthers team nutritionist declined to be interviewed for the story, so no one opining has any idea what Newton is actually eating. That is obviously important information on which to build a take.
One thing is clear: the diet and fitness regimen of our quarterbacks has become a much, much bigger segment of the content pie in recent years. It's just another thing Tom Brady can take credit for building.