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Newton told ESPN he hadn’t directly asked his father what transpired between him and Mississippi State, but “at the end of the day I can look him in the eye and know he has my best interests at heart.”

Newton said it wasn’t for him to say if his father had done anything wrong, but he knows his father is there for him.

“My love for him is unconditional,” Cam Newton said. “This type of situation can split a family but it makes us stronger.”

Cecil Newton, whose access to Auburn athletics has been limited by the university in conjunction with the NCAA findings, said Thursday he will not attend the Heisman ceremony.

In a statement through the family’s Atlanta-based attorney he said his presence might “rob Cam and the event of a sacred moment.”

Cecil Newton said in the statement that he has made an “exhausting attempt to be a good husband, father and generally a good person of integrity.” He added that “the past 60 days have caused all that my family worked to accomplish to come into question.”

On the eve of Thursday’s awards show at Disney World, James was asked if he’d vote for Newton for the Heisman.

“I’d vote for him twice,” the running back said, smiling. “I don’t care what happens off the field. To me, he’s the best player in the country.”

Like Newton, LSU junior cornerback Patrick Peterson was a double winner Thursday night, receiving the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back and the Chuck Bednarik Award as the best defensive player.

Oklahoma State had two winners, with Justin Blackmon getting the Biletnikoff Award as best receiver and kicker Dan Bailey taking the Lou Groza Award. Florida punter Chas Henry won the Ray Guy Award.

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AP Sports Writer John Zenor in Montgomery, Ala., contributed to this report.