Cam Newton, Todd Gurley and Odell Beckham, Jr. talk COVID, football and BLM

Former Giants star Victor Cruz moderated the sit-down on Beckham's YouTube Channel with the NFL stars

NFL players Odell Beckham Jr. YouTube
L-R: Odell Beckham Jr., Cam Newton and Todd Gurley (Getty Images)

If you watch sports TV enough, you are familiar with the multitudes of talking heads who scrutinize players for everything from their hairstyles to their productivity on the field, court or pitch. What you rarely see is the subjects of those discussions talking amongst themselves about the challenges of being an athlete.

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Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. made that possible on his YouTube channel by inviting his former Giants teammate Victor Cruz to moderate a sit-down with newly minted New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton and the Atlanta Falcons’ newest running back, former Rams star Todd Gurley. Newton NFL
Cam Newton in 2019 (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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What unites the men is the drumming they’ve taken in the media for well-documented injuries. And for Odell and Newton, you can include criticism of their fashion, off-the-court lifestyles, and outsized personalities.

The guys sat down in Los Angeles for a wide-ranging discussion about Black Lives Matter, COVID-19, the next NFL season, and struggling with expectations and disrespect.

One of the big takeaways for Newton fans is that says that the Carolina Panthers fired him, basically, via a text message. Newton took the Panthers to Super Bowl 50 in a losing effort in 2016, playing for the team for nine seasons, though two were cut short due to injuries to his shoulder and foot.

After waiting out the free-agent season and being passed on by several teams, Newton was signed by the New England Patriots and has been working out with Beckham, who’s returning to the Cleveland Browns after a groin surgery limited him last season. Former Rams running back Gurley, hampered by nagging injuries last season is now with the Falcons, where’s he’s been working out with their franchise WR, Julio Jones.

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Here are few highlights:

Newton on his exit from the Panthers:

“Nobody called me. And this whole time, the owner couldn’t call me, the GM couldn’t call me? They called me after with the decision already made. I’m going to be professional, I’m going to answer the phone ‘Yes sir, no sir, cause that’s how my momma raised me, but in the back of mind, I’m lIke ‘I’m a warrior. I gave this whole city, I gave this whole franchise, I gave the coaches everything – my mind, my body, my soul, my heart. I never wanted to leave.”

Beckham on COVID-19 and the upcoming NFL season:

“They don’t have the answers and that’s the problem with me. You don’t have the answers. You’re going on these scientists and these guesses and it’s our lives at risk. You’re not about to give us no extra money. There are so many things that are going into it.

So it’s just tough when you don’t know something and its invisible. There’s so much other stuff going on it’s an election year. And coronavirus, cool, it’s can actually distract us from everything. But now it’s major people affected, the economy is being affected. People are dying, numbers are spiking and the shit’s real. There’s no way to deny it, it’s in our face. Yet they are trying to make football happen. What does that say about our country that this is that important?”

Gurley on racism:

“We’re from the South we see racism every day. But when you see stuff like that happen in Minnesota, you’re like damn, it’s up there too? What makes me angry is that when something like this happens the privileged people say well, he had a record. But that doesn’t mean he should be killed.”

Newton on playing without fans:

“Players will have so much control. I always want to show a side of me when I don’t have my helmet on. Now more than ever, you’re really going to show that on a wider scale. The people most impacted by what you do are not in that stadium – let that sizzle in your spirit.

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That’s what I’m most excited about its going to challenge everyone in different ways. “

Watch the entire interview below:

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