Cam Newton wears many hats. The Carolina Panthers quarterback is not only the NFL’s reigning MVP, he’s also on a mission to make his league the most stylish in the US.
Newton, who launched his own clothing line in 2013, has lamented that the NFL hasn’t taken to fashion like the NBA, where players have turned the walk from the parking lot to the locker room into a veritable runway show and upped their league’s cool factor with fans. He’s done his part to change that, turning up to the Super Bowl last season in blaring $850 Versace pants for instance. Now it looks like Newton is trying to shift attention to the post-game press conference, where he’s turning up in hats that take NFL style into new territory.
After his team’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sept. 25, Newton appeared in a colorblocked leather top, circular eyeglasses, and a top hat. (The pin on the hat, incidentally, reads “Don’t be a puppet.”)
Last week, after his team topped the San Francisco 49ers, Newton topped his head with a straw boater. The hat quickly got its own parody Twitter account, and the memes poured in.
Before the season started, Newton was stepping up his hat game. At the beginning of the preseason, Newton was sporting an oversized hat much like the Vivienne Westwood version Pharrell Williams wore to the 2014 Grammy awards. For his first interview during training camp in July, he turned up in a black wide-brimmed straw hat and some newly blonde facial hair.
Newton admitted to ESPN that he owns quite a number of hats. They turn up frequently on his Instagram account. While he is becoming known as one of the more fashionable guys in the NFL, his collection is getting a bit too risky for some.
Newton has said that his style reflects his upbringing. “Well, growing up in Atlanta I always had a sense of what fashion was, a sense of style—my parents always talked about the importance of making a first impression and that’s stayed with me,” he told Esquire after the 2013 launch of his MADE Cam Newton line, which is sold through Southern department store chain Belk.
That foundation is evident in Newton’s tailored suits and preference for Southern prep. As well as on his head.