By: Colton Wood
Cam Newton was one game away from leading the Carolina Panthers to their first ever Super Bowl on Sunday. This game’s importance by far surpassed any game the newest NFL MVP ever played in.
Despite being favored all week leading up to the big game, Newton and the Panthers struggled the entire game and the Broncos, led by Peyton Manning who most likely played in his final NFL game, were able to complete the upset.
Their was no “dabbing”, no team picture, and no dancing. Instead, the dispirited Panthers were looking at the gleeful faces of the newest Super Bowl Champions. Cornerback Josh Norman was even shown on TV crying on the bench.
The Panthers headed back to the locker room for the last time this season where they would receive their final postgame talk from head coach Ron Rivera. Following the postgame speech from Rivera, the players were required to speak to the media. No Panther was looking forward to this.
Some handled the steady relay of questions from reporters better than others. One in particular is still being denounced for his actions with the media on Sunday. This player is the face of the franchise. This player is Cam Newton.
Newton spent around only two minutes with reporters, answering questions with just short one-two word answers.
“No”, “We just got out played”, and subtle smirks were some of the little responses he gave to the media.
Cam Newton had enough.
As a reporter finished with a question towards Newton, he walked out of the press conference saying he was done.
Before he left the podium, Broncos’ cornerback Chris Harris’ voice was clearly circulating through the press conference room. The Panthers and Broncos were only separated by a small curtain so the dimmed voices of the disappointed Panthers’ players were loudly replaced by rejoiced Broncos. Harris was describing the ability of Denver’s defense to stop the passing game.
It appeared that moments before Newton stormed off, he was mute and turned to hear and acknowledge Harris’ voice. This could have very well been the reason he decided to leave the podium with a team spokesperson.
Heavy criticism ensued.
Who can blame a player who brought his all to the football field every Sunday. A player who helped turn a bunch of “no named” and “non-productional” receivers into a key factor in the Panthers’ run for the Lombardi Trophy. A player who took a team that wasn’t even expected to make the playoffs after star wideout Kelvin Benjamin went down to an overall 17-2 record. A player who dreamed of winning a Super Bowl since he was young.
If you dreamed of something since you were young and when you got within reach of that dream, had that dreamed get crushed in front of your eyes while your failure was seen on national television wouldn’t you be upset. Would you want to talk to reporters about it?
He worked his whole life for that one moment. Could he have handled it better? Of course, but you cannot blame him.
Since Newton entered the league, he was doubted. He was considered a horrible draft choice for the Panthers. His past as a football player in Florida dawned on him. “He wouldn’t amount to anything” and “He’s a thug not a football player” were just some of the harsh comments uttered by fans and media alike.
Although Newton found success in this league, reporters and fans still found reasons to critique him. His dancing was frowned upon stating that he was nowhere close to being a role model for children even though he has given countless amounts of football to children in the stands watching Newton play.
These media members and fans are generally the same people who state that Marshawn Lynch, most notably known for his antics with the media, call him hilarious, a leader, and a “savage”. He told a reporter who asked of his retirement, “Is your b***h coming back?”. No one disparaged him, yet they continued their comments of being hilarious and a savage.
These reporters are the same people who have no problem with JJ Watt dancing or Aaron Rodgers doing his signature “discount double check” motion or Bill Belichick or Greg Popovich blantanly ignoring the media.
I firmly believe that they are attacking Cam because they know they are in the wrong. They made a prediction that wasn’t correct and now they are trying every way to correct that.
Cam is a leader. And if he wasn’t? They would not have been in position for a Super Bowl.
In college, he learned from his mistakes and grew as a player. Now he is being reviled by those who made mistakes too.
Deion Sanders had some negative things to say of Newton, yet he was known for ignoring the media at times too. Bill Romanowski tweeted that Newton needed to grow up, yet he was known for spitting in the faces of his opponents.
Very few mentioned that when Manning lost to the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV, he stormed to the locker room, ignoring his opponents.
Newton however, did not. He went right to Manning and congratulated him. Manning later told the Today Show that Newton was “very humble”, but that is ignored because of Newton’s postgame mistake that was purely out of emotion.
He never acted like that with the media until Sunday. During the season, Newton made a habit of sitting with the media and having friendly conversations with them before he had to go to the podium to answer questions. But those who didn’t think Newton would ever be in this position today are the ones who ignored the good in Newton and attack him just to show that they were right.
Downgrade and demoralize this article all you want, but just remember that playing football is their job. How would you feel if you dreamed of getting that promotion and your job, but you failed and your failure was the talk of the country for days upon weeks. Would you want to talk to the media about it?
(Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo)