SAN FRANCISCO — Cam Newton should be celebrated, not hated.

That was Bart Scott’s take on the Carolina Panthers’ polarizing young quarterback.

“Really, we should be highlighting this guy and putting him on a pedestal and saying, ‘Listen, this is how we want to see the game played. This is how our superstars should act,’ ” said Scott, a former NFL linebacker for 11 seasons and current CBS analyst. “That’s a role model to me . . . But unfortunately, that doesn’t make ‘Page Six.’ That doesn’t make the back page. It’s not splashy. Nobody wants to hear about a nice guy making a lot of money doing nice things.”

StoryCam Newton: ‘I don’t plan on changing’StoryEsiason saw greatness in eighth-grader NewtonStoryScott: Jets’ ‘D’ schemes left Revis helpless

Much of the criticism surrounding Newton, whom many consider this year’s league MVP, centers on his on-field dancing after touchdowns and first downs. But Scott, a former Jet, believes defensive players should pay more attention to containing Newton than calling him out.

“If you don’t want to see the celebrations, stop him,” he said. “But are you really going to get mad because he’s giving a football to a kid? Because he does a Dab?

“Nobody’s complaining about ‘Discount Double-Check,’ ” he added, referring to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. “They gave him a commercial.”

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Newton unintentionally sparked a race debate after he said Wednesday that as “an African-American quarterback, that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing that they can compare me to.”

He later clarified in a ESPN interview Sunday that he didn’t mean it as “a race thing” but rather to say that he wants to “be a trailblazer” for athletic quarterbacks.

Scott agreed that the NFL hasn’t seen anything like Newton, adding that the closest comparison, from an athletic standpoint, is Randall Cunningham. “But he wasn’t big enough,” Scott said of Cunningham. “He was only 212 pounds. Cam’s like 260. When you see the linebacker and Cam, feel sorry for the linebacker. Not for the quarterback.”