The Carolina Panthers star Quarterback, Cam Newton, has had a banner year. He led team who, thanks to a lackluster 2014 NFC South, barely scratched into the playoffs with a losing record and made it past the Wildcard round. The 2015 season was nothing short of spectacular, with a 15-1 season record, and Super Bowl berth. The team that has literally lost 3 games (4 if you count preseason, but who does?) since December 7th, 2014 came in hotter than any team that the NFL has seen in a long time.
But then, the QB who had just won MVP honors the previous night, led his team to a devastating lost in the biggest game of his career. His nerves showed before the game, his frustration was apparent, both in the game and on the sidelines, throughout, and his utter disappointment post-game could not be more obvious. In the midst of the fanfare and celebration of the Broncos Super Bowl win, a clearly upset Cam Newton took to the podium, still in uniform and donning a hoodie, sat down, and tersely answered a handful of questions before stepping off.
His body language told the story. He came out, sat down instead of standing, slumped back and looking everywhere but straight ahead into the faces of reporters asking his questions. His arms folded defensively, and legs ticking in annoyance. He would rather be anywhere on earth at that given moment but in the spotlight. Coaching staff adjacent to him would try to catch his attention and motion for him to de-hood, but he ignored it. He sulked his way through some questions with often one-word answers, and then abruptly left when another interview criticizing his performance grew louder than his own.
Cue the outrage.
Fans, critics, and media were waiting for this moment. Cam Newton has been criticized for his character all season, from his celebratory dancing in the end zone after a touchdown, giving away
$5000 free footballs to kids, to his pre-game and post-game outfits. Yes, his suits and shoes have been the subject of many conversations and pictures this season alone. He’s arrogant. He’s got an attitude. He’s a bad winner. And now, thanks to the post-game presser in a Super Bowl loss, we can add one more character flaw to Cam Newton: he’s a sore loser.
Now we know. Well, we knew this before, but now we really know. The start QB who celebrates wins and sulks about losses likes to win, and hates to lose. Maybe he’ll grow up a little in the future, learn from this, and put on a better face in the future. Maybe he’ll still pout and sulk after a devastating loss on the national stage. This was certainly not the best showing of a newly-named MVP with the biggest spotlight shining on his face, but let’s face it – the hounds were ready to pounce as soon as he took center stage. Because of his character issues.
People, get real, and get over yourselves. He cracked under pressure. He’s been scrutinized and picked apart all year – more so than most QBs that have losing seasons. The last QB in the league to be given this much negative press after a winning season and Super Bowl appearance was Tom Brady, and he was being INVESTIGATED for rules violations. That’s right – Cam Newton has been given as much negative press this season than a QB being investigated for violating league rules and procedures. Why? Because he dabbed in the end zone and gave footballs to kids. Because he was a flashy dresser.
Sure, we can expect our NFL MVP to have better behavior in front of a mic after the biggest loss of his career, but that’s where it needs to stop. The scrutiny in this 5 minute episode has been unreal. In a night where, in a week’s time, an NFL player barely made headlines in a brutal bar fight where 2 off-duty officers ended up hospitalized, and another is being investigated for domestic violence, the biggest headlines and social media chatter, from both fans and media, has been about Cam Newton’s attitude. Players are beating people up and breaking laws, and Newton is the big disappointment.
Cam Newton doesn’t lose gracefully. Most players don’t. All the critics, and even himself, have pointed it out. So, can we go ahead and move on? The season’s over, a victor has been crowned, and real issues are slipping under the radar. Just in case you missed it, the NFL has announced groundbreaking rules to ban players with domestic violence and other violent criminal convictions from participating in the NFL combine. This is a positive step to keep real character issues from continuing to be a problem in the NFL. This is a story we should be talking about, folks.