CHARLOTTE, N.C. — I hope you brought the tissues.
In a video posted on Wednesday by “The Players’ Tribune,” Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton shared a heartfelt letter to his son, Chosen, who turned one on Christmas Eve, ESPN reports.
The video is a verbal narration of the letter and a montage of photos highlighting the family’s time together.
“Now his mom is all into buying him stuff… We’ve got to get him this. We’ve got to get him that. We’ve got to get him these shoes. We’ve got to get that car,” Newton told ESPN several weeks ago. “I want to be able to do something for him that he will go back and look and track over the years.”
The full letter reads:
I look at you and I am amazed about God’s creation.
Don’t be like me. Be better than me. And create your own inspiration.
So you won’t expect something for nothing, Just hard work and determination.
I wrote this, thinking to myself, ‘Like, dang, I really have a son now.’ And I guess it’s true what they say.
Time flies, because Chosen is almost one.
Your mom is the best thing to happen to me.
Yet I have failed in some regards. But, I still love her unconditionally.
Don’t be like me son, be better than me.
You don’t have to be an athlete to be accepted by me. You can be whatever you want to be.
But whatever you decide, I challenge you to be the best. I may not be able to tell you when, where and how, but there will be a test.
And that test comes in many forms, sizes and shapes, too.
It’s my job as your father to prepare you as much as I can, so you will know exactly what to do.
When you sleep, I look in amazement as you breathe. But it hurts my heart to look back at your face in disappointment when I leave.
You’re everything I could have ever asked for. When I’m not with you it hurts me to my core.
At times, son, I am not proud of the man that I am. Some of my decisions are far from perfect. But do know, when it comes to you and this family, I will always do what I can. I had to sacrifice some things, and I made it all worth it.
Let no one tell you you’re not strong, that you’re not a king. My main responsibility is to see your heart gleam.
Make sure you protect the queens of you heart — that’s your mom and your sister — and remember that real men aren’t afraid of the dark.
So, son, be brave, be strong, be bold. And always remember the things I’ve told, King Cho.
I pray for your blessings and I pray for your peace.
I pray I am the most influential person in your life until the day I am deceased.