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Cam Newton believes racism has played a role in media perceptions of him

Cam Newton believes that some unjust perceptions accompanied him to New England.Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH — Cam Newton revealed Monday that one of his life mantras is “carpe diem.”

It’s certainly apropos, considering the quarterback has seized pretty much every day since signing on the Patriots’ bottom line in early July, including stringing together a bunch of camp days that culminated in him being named a team captain and the starter.

Newton has put to bed all the scuttlebutt that his big personality wouldn’t fit with Bill Belichick, calling it a “match made in heaven” during a morning appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.”

Asked specifically why many thought the two wouldn’t get along, Newton pulled no punches and said racism likely played a role in people’s perceptions.


Cam Newton hits the field before a recent workout in Foxborough.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

“Honestly? We going honest?” he said. “It’s because I’m a Black athlete, a quarterback that for a long time, I’ve been unapologetic, carried myself in a way that the media hasn’t gave me my just due.

“But at the same time, I do understand that, and I don’t have no type of resentment toward that. I embrace who I am, I embrace the moment. I live in the moment. One of the quotes I live by is ’carpe diem.’ ”

Newton said he got a sense it would be a good relationship when he first talked to Belichick about what the quarterback expected from the coach and what the coach expected from the quarterback.

“I think the narrative coming here was kind of stereotypical to an unjust eye,” said Newton. “ ‘We heard this about Cam. We heard that. He’s a prima donna. He’s this and he’s that.’

“But when you really put a microscope to who I really am, there’s a lot of favoritism that has not been favorable for my benefit.”

His teammates say Cam Newton has brought a lot of energy to practices this summer.Maddie Meyer/Getty

Newton was adamant that he didn’t want to make his time in New England “about me.” He has bigger aspirations.


“I want to make this about this team and how to gain these guys’ trust,” he said. “I think that’s the biggest thing, the biggest challenge I have going is letting these guys understand, ‘Listen, there’s been a lot said, I can feel the eyes and the attention that’s on me as soon as I walk inside the facility, but at the end of the day, you guys got to know a lot of that is BS, and I’m here to remove all doubts.’ ”

Two better than one

The Patriots likely will elevate veteran kicker Nick Folk to the active roster for Sunday’s opener against the Dolphins, but for now the battle continues with Folk and rookie Justin Rohrwasser both on the practice squad.

Belichick said Monday the Patriots are in a good position to have two kickers he feels confident in.

“Nick’s come in and obviously done a good job with us,” the coach said. “He’s hit the ball well, Justin has as well. There’s a big experience gap here, but that’s not uncommon, either. You just try to make the best decisions we can on that.

“We’re fortunate we have two players at that position that are, I’d say, NFL-quality. Similar to the quarterback position, we’re fortunate to have depth in those spots and these are good ones to have them in.”

Harris goes on IR

The Patriots placed second-year running back Damien Harris on injured reserve and signed rookie J.J. Taylor from the practice squad. Harris, who was having a strong summer, will miss at least three games. He had missed multiple practices because of a hand injury. Last season, he had four carries for 12 yards … The Patriots elevated linebacker Cassh Maluia to the active roster after the sixth-rounder spent two days on the practice squad. To make room, the club put nose tackle Beau Allen on injured reserve. Allen has yet to practice this summer … Receiver Gunner Olszewski returned to practice after missing the last three … Several active-roster rookies were spotted with new numbers, including safety Kyle Dugger (No. 35) and tight ends Devin Asiasi (86) and Dalton Keene (44) … Deatrich Wise on linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley being named a captain: “He has that field general mind-set.” … While Newton was named the starter last week, Dolphins coach Brian Flores waited until Monday to officially name 16-year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick his starter. “This isn’t groundbreaking news,” Flores quipped … Rookie first-rounder Tua Tagovailoa will back up Fitzpatrick … Former Patriots Ted Karras, Kyle Van Noy, and Elandon Roberts were named Dolphins captains.


Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.