CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cam Newton shared what he is thankful for this year via an Instagram post. The Carolina Panthers quarterback posted a mug shot from his arrest nine years ago.
The post begins, “I contemplated posting this and even reluctant about it but as I think about my life and the many things I’m thankful for; I want to be an open book so people can here [sic] my testimony and learn from the flaws and mistakes I made.”
According to our partners at AL.com, Newton was charged with felony counts of burglary, larceny and obstructing justice on Nov. 21, 2008. According to the police report, Newton threw a laptop, valued at $1,700, out of his dormitory window when officers came to investigate the theft. The laptop had been reported stolen by another Florida student.
At the time the quarterback says he thought his life and career was over and that he felt he had shamed his family with the media coverage surrounding the situation. He says he made a promise to himself that day that, “I will be better.”
AL.com reports that Newton was suspended from the Florida football team while being held in jail. The charges ultimately were dropped, and Newton left Florida to enroll at Blinn College for a year before transferring to Auburn, where he won the 2010 Heisman Trophy by a landslide after a record-setting season, capped by the Tigers’ victory over Oregon in the BCS national-championship game.
Newton left a message for his followers saying, “What you must learn from this story is this; if you live your life listening to what other people are saying what you should do and not your own; shame on you!” He continues with, “If I can do it with my circumstances surely you can do it and be whatever you want to be with hard work and persistence!”
The post ends with a verse from a Jay-z and Kanye West song: “I’m shocked too, I’m supposed to be locked up too, if you escaped what I’ve escaped, you’d be in Paris getting messed up too.”
We’ve re-typed the post below:
“I contemplated posting this and even reluctant about it, but as I think about my life and the many things I’m thankful for, I want to be an open book so people can hear my testimony and learn from the flaws and mistakes I made. On this day — 11/21/2008 — I was arrested for a stolen laptop, and I’m sure you’re asking yourself: ‘Where is he going with this story?’ But the moral of the story is this: On this date, I thought my life and my career was over, and the fact that I had shamed my family with the media coverage surrounding this situation. I vowed to myself on this day (nine years ago) that I will be better from this situation. What you must learn from this story is this: If you live your life listening to what other people are saying what you should do and no your own, shame on you. I can honestly say to you today that no one gave me a chance to succeed down bad in my situation, and if I would have listened to those people that said I can’t, who knows where I would be today. So I’m extremely thankful for God’s mercy, grace and favor over my life. So if I can do it with my circumstances, surely you can do it and be whatever you want to be with hard work and persistence. — Love”
“Side note: And people wonder why I play the game the way I do, act the way I act, dress the way I dress and even live the way I live because, in some people’s eyes, I’m not supposed to be here. But in my eyes, I’m not going to have any regrets with the second chance God has given me! ‘(Ball so hard.)’ I’m shocked, too. I’m supposed to be locked up, too. If you escaped what I’ve escaped, you’d be in Paris getting messed up, too.’ — Jay-Z.”