Photo Illustration by Dalton Smith
Almost two weeks after the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50, one could get online and still see articles about Cam Newton’s “poor sportsmanship” and “childish behavior” after his team’s devastating loss. These criticisms being thrown at Newton are not only false, but they are ridiculous.
So to get the facts out of the way: Yes, Cam Newton did leave during a press conference shortly following the game. Yes, he left the field earlier than many other players after the game. But neither of these things should be held against Newton.
Newton left the field after the game, but he shook Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s hand before leaving, which is a sign of good sportsmanship and respect. This is something that even the great Peyton Manning didn’t do after his loss to the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl 46 when he walked directly off the field, but he didn’t receive anywhere near the amount of criticism that Newton faces now.
Newton has been facing criticism all year long, for his ‘excessive celebrating,’ somewhat cocky attitude, and many other things, so I guess I should’ve expected this controversy after the big game. I don’t believe that any of these things should be bringing negative attention to him because it’s something every NFL player does. How is Newton’s ‘dab’ after touchdowns any different than J.J. Watt’s salute after a sack? Or Aaron Rodgers’ ‘Championship Belt’ celebration? I know many don’t mind Newton’s celebration, but some are drawing negative attention to him for it, as if it’s anymore showboating than any other player would do. In my opinion, when he puts up 3,837 passing yards, 636 rushing yards, 35 touchdowns, and leads his team to the super bowl, he has the right to do a little showboating. And no, I don’t necessarily like that he wore cleats that said ‘MVP’ on them before the super bowl, but he is the MVP and he’s good, so I don’t care.
And I don’t think that Newton’s good deeds should be overshadowed by these criticisms. While I don’t care for the Carolina Panthers as a football fan, I do like Cam Newton. I don’t think that he’s a bad role model, as he’s been accused by many. I think it’s great when he gives footballs to kids in the stands. Even though it may not seem like a big deal for NFL players to do, it’s awesome for the kids and I find it unbelievable that he was almost fined for doing so. He’s also been known for doing many other kind acts for kids and other charity events, but the media doesn’t seem to pay much attention to that. Newton’s also been criticized for being an unwed father, but that’s just another thing to denounce him for. To me, Newton seems like a caring father and a good role model, so I have no idea why people feel the need to make up these ridiculous reasons to dislike him.
So, back to his actions after the Super Bowl, Newton walked out in the middle of a press conference, which has drawn a massive amount of objection from the media. If I were in his position, I probably would’ve done the exact same thing. After having arguably his best NFL season and then losing the Super Bowl, Newton cannot be expected to want to talk with the media. Not only would Newton not want to speak because of the loss, but there were also Denver players celebrating their win nearby. You can’t blame him for wanting to leave the press conference and I’m shocked as to how much attention this has drawn. Anyone with some sense can see that his team had just lost undoubtedly the most important game of the season, so there’s no reason why we should be acting like this is a big deal. Newton’s not a sore loser or a bad sport for doing this, he’s an athlete who cares about the game.
I’m not a fan of being cocky and I don’t personally do it while I play football, but I do believe that it’s a part of the game and that when you’re good, go ahead and brag. I don’t think Newton’s dances, cleats, or actions after the Super Bowl cross the line into bad sportsmanship. There’s a difference between being confident and being cocky and there’s a difference between being affected by a loss and being a bad sport. I think the media and anyone who criticizes Newton needs to realize what those differences are before they bring so much negative attention to a player.
Overall, Cam Newton is a great football player and that’s what should matter. There’s no need for all of this negative attention focused on him when we should be focused on his exceptional performance during his 2015 season. Whatever the reason is behind the constant criticism he receives, I think everyone needs to stop and realize that Newton’s an athlete who’s very serious about his sport and shouldn’t be ridiculed for showing passion.