Intentional Hounding: More Racism Talk

From training camp to the Super Bowl and all the offseason activity, Intentional Hounding is a blog from NFL Analyst John Crist to outfit you with all the latest news, notes and quotes.

Moon plays race card for Newton

5:03 PM CST

QB Cam Newton
Joe Robbins/Getty

There are many reasons to question whether Auburn's Cam Newton can successfully make the transition from the college game to the NFL, be it a lack of experience in a pro-style offense or a disappointing performance at the Scouting Combine or a sometimes-sketchy past that has been examined ad nauseum, but apparently bringing any of this to the attention of Joe Blow football fan makes you an all-out racist.

That's the Book of Cam according to Warren Moon, who is the first black QB to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and has been working for the Newton family in a consultant role since the Heisman Trophy winner made himself eligible for the draft.

Moon's comments were in reaction to a scathing scouting report put together by Nolan Nawrocki of Pro Football Weekly, in which he not only wrote that Newton has "limited field vision," "inconsistent throwing mechanics" and "spotty accuracy," but also that the 6-5, 248-pounder has a "fake smile," possesses a "me-first makeup" and considers himself "above the law."

"A lot of the criticism he's receiving is unfortunate and racially-based," Moon told "I thought we were all past this. I don't see other quarterbacks in the draft being criticized by the media or fans about their smile or called a phony. He's being held to different standards from white quarterbacks. I thought we were past all this stuff about African-American quarterbacks, but I guess we're not. Of course, there is racism in every walk of society. We've made a lot of progress in this country. But racism is still there. I just thought in the sports arena we were beyond it. I think the way Cam is being treated shows we're not."

However, PFW's Dan Arkush wrote that Ryan Mallett -- he's just as big as Newton, has a better arm and played in an Arkansas offense that more closely resembles what a quarterback can expect once he graduates from Saturday to Sunday; he's white, too -- addressed rumors at the combine about his use of recreational drugs "with scattershot braggadocio" leaving "a sour taste" in the collective mouth of reporters and "made Bears QB Jay Cutler look like Tim Tebow in comparison."

"I think the best evaluators in the NFL are colorblind in their assessments, and we treat it the same way," Nawrocki told in response to Moon's accusation. "We're not trying to take shots at anybody. It's all about getting the evaluations right."

Just last year, Nawrocki described Jimmy Clausen, who is also white, as "egotistical," "disingenuous" and "scripted" with "a sense of entitlement," and after one awful season in Carolina for the former Golden Domer, it's hard to argue with that assessment.

For all the news, notes and quotes on the Panthers, visit

DEs on the move; QBs on the rise

8:42 PM CST

DE J.J. Watt
Joe Robbins/Getty

Defensive end is by far the deepest position in this year's draft, especially near the top since so many have been given first-round grades and are worthy of being among those precious 32 picks.

Additionally, there has been some aggressive movement up and down the board with now less than a month to go before Carolina is officially on the clock at No. 1 overall, starting with the sour taste Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers is currently leaving in the mouth of the collective scouting masses thanks to a troublesome knee injury. In addition to Bowers, Iowa's Adrian Clayborn is finally paying the piper for his lackluster senior campaign and may fall out of Round 1 entirely.

Trending upward faster than any passer rusher available is Wisconsin's J.J. Watt, who looks like a solid selection whether he plays left end for a 4-3 team or five technique for a 3-4 team. Originally going 24th in my first mock draft and then 20th in my second, Watt might be a lock for the top 10 if the Commissioner were at the podium right now. The 6-6, 292-pounder not only worked his way up from Central Michigan to Wisconsin at the collegiate level but developed into an All-American, so there's no evidence to suggest he'll wither under the spotlight of playing against better athletes on Sunday.

Another position that is relatively deep, if not particularly talented, especially at the top of the draft, is the game's most important: quarterback. The free-falling Jake Locker of Washington seems to have stopped his slide that started at the Senior Bowl in January, highlighted by what from all accounts appeared to be a strong performance Wednesday at his Pro Day in Seattle. He might have crept his way back into the first round, which could also be the case for Ryan Mallett of Arkansas and even Christian Ponder of Florida State -- the former Seminole is beginning to get a whiff of Round 1 in some of the latest mock drafts I've seen.

Even if decision makers should be more comfortable taking the likes of Locker, Mallett and Ponder in the second round, thereby eliminating a good amount of the pressure that inevitably falls on the shoulders of a first-round signal caller, too many teams need help under center. Almost half the league has a legitimate question mark at QB, with 10 of the first 16 having to at least consider going that direction right away.

At the top, a lot of mock drafts have the Panthers taking Auburn's Cam Newton, if for no other reason than the fact that they don't have a pick in Round 2 and none of the good ones may be left at either of their spots in Round 3 -- Economics 101 taught everyone how supply vs. demand works.

I almost hope the draft never gets here, because once that's over and there's nothing but a lockout going on, there won't be any fun subjects to cover.

For all the news, notes and quotes on the Panthers, visit

John Crist is an NFL analyst for, a voter for the Heisman Trophy and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America.

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