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Cam Newton has his teammates’ back.

This was on display in a major way on Wednesday during a post-practice live stream press conference. Newton was asked about N’Keal Harry, who has been the target of some criticism after a so-so performance in the Week 1 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

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Cam Newton Defends N’Keal Harry

Here is Newton’s response to a question about his relationship with Harry, and how he tried to assist the second-year-pro after the Week 1 win.

I spoke with N’Keal, and let’s just put a lot of things into perspective here. Did he have a good game? Yes, he did. I think that one play overshadowed the production he did have. He bailed me out on a play, on a kind of inaccurate pass that he came down with and got the first down. He did pretty good in the run game. He had a couple contested catches. And all that was kind of for naught because a lot of people just focused on the fumble. And granted, I’ll be the first person to tell you, or he’d be the first person to tell you, or he’d be the first person to tell you, he knows that’s unacceptable. But obviously, when you just put things into perspective, and you call an apple an apple, and a spade a spade, it was just one mistake. Him still being a young player, trying to come into his own, things like that will happen. You just want it to be minimized it as much as possible. But he’s making leaps and strides, as everyone would expect him to be. He’s growing up into his best self. For him, after chatting with him, he knows he has to make practice game-like, and that’s the only thing you can imagine. The thing that makes me and N’Keal even more kind of closer; I told N’Keal my spiel, obviously being at Carolina, I’ve had a N’Keal in my life for as long as my career has existed. Being a high-invested draft pick, dating back to Kelvin Benjamin, to devin Funchess, those young guys. Me also being young at the time too. Then you invest in Curtis Samuel, D.J. Moore, Christian McCaffrey. So it’s nothing new to come on a team, and you have a young talent at receiver, and trying to morph him into the best player he can possibly be. I know N’Keal is buying in — not only to my theory and methods but also to the team as well. Plays like that are going to happen. We just hope that’s the only time it will happen.

Take a look at the entire press conference here:

Cam Newton: "It's up to me to keep learning" | Patriots Press ConferencePatriots quarterback Cam Newton addressed the media & discussed his advice to N'Keal Harry, preparing for the Seahawks & more. Subscribe to the New England Patriots YouTube channel: For More Patriots NFL Action: #NewEnglandPatriots #Patriots #NFL For more Patriots content: Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Follow us…2020-09-16T21:31:40Z

Why the Pressure is on Harry to Produce

The Patriots selected Harry with their first-round selection in 2019. While he showed some flashes, it was a mostly disappointing rookie season. Newton and the Patriots need to see Harry take a major step in his second season.

Newton is right, Harry did make a few solid plays on Sunday. However, he did have a costly fumble that resulted in a shift in momentum. He’s got to clean up the mistakes, but there is no doubt Newton has established himself as a real leader in the Patriots locker room.

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Vatican defends China bishop negotiations on eve of US visit

ROME (AP) — The Vatican on Tuesday answered critics and justified its pursuit of an extended agreement with China on bishop nominations, acknowledging difficulties but insisting the effort had achieved limited, positive results.

The Holy See articulated its position on the eve of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who this month wrote a harsh critique of the Vatican’s 2018 accord with China. Pompeo is scheduled to headline a religious liberty conference on Wednesday with the Vatican secretary of state and foreign minister, two architects of the deal.

The 2018 accord was aimed at uniting the Catholic flock in China, which is divided between an official church recognized and regulated by the Beijing government, and an underground church that has been loyal to Rome. The agreement included a process for nominating new bishops, regularizing the status of seven bishops who weren’t recognized by Rome and thawing decades of estrangement between China and the Vatican.

Critics of the accord, including the retired archbishop of Hong Kong, some underground faithful in China and conservative Catholics elsewhere, accused the Vatican of betraying the Catholics in China who for decades refused to join the state-sanctioned church.

The critics say the deal also has emboldened the Beijing government in its harsh crackdown on Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and other believers.

Pompeo criticized the accord in an essay published in the conservative Catholic magazine First Things, echoing the Trump administration’s overall criticism of Beijing that has grown amid the coronavirus pandemic in an election year.

“Two years on, it’s clear that the Sino-Vatican agreement has not shielded Catholics from the (Communist) Party’s depredations, to say nothing of the Party’s horrific treatment of Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong devotees and other believers,” Pompeo wrote.

Noting that the deal is up for renewal when it expires next month, Pompeo wrote: “Now more than ever, the Chinese people need the Vatican’s moral witness and authority in support of China’s religious believers.”

In its first official response to such criticism, Vatican editorial director Andrea Tornielli recalled that the accord only covers bishop nominations, and did not enter into political or diplomatic relations with China.

“The Provisional Agreement exclusively treats the process for the appointment of bishops: an essential question for the life of the church and for the necessary communion between the pastors of the Chinese Catholic Church with the Bishop of Rome and with the bishops throughout the world,” he wrote.

Tornielli quoted the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, as saying it was worth negotiating an extension to the deal despite “difficulties” aggravated by the virus outbreak.

“Even though contact was blocked in recent months due to the pandemic, the results have been positive, although limited, and suggest going forward with the application of the agreement for another determined period of time,” he said.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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