Cam “Crybaby” Newton? I don’t think so.
By ALEXIS OJEDA-BROWN
The Carolina Panthers were overwhelmed by the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl 50, losing 24-10. And while this super bowl was supposedly Peyton Manning’s last game of his career, the biggest topic of discussion seemed to be focused on Panther’s quarterback, Cam Newton—and no, it wasn’t about his signature Dab.
Having been called a thug, a menace, and a showboat all season by many, Newton can now add “crybaby” to the list. After the game Newton made headlines for his post-game interview, where after a very brief question and answer conference, he walked out of the press conference. His behavior set off a flood of criticisms on his unsportsmanlike conduct:
“You will never last in the NFL with that attitude. The world doesn’t revolve around you, boy!” – Ex-NFL player Bill Romanowski
Even players of other sports were disapproving of Newton’s behavior.
Jason Zillo, Yankees executive director of communications, used Newton’s dismissive interview as an example of how NOT to handle yourself with the media. How did Cam Newton handle himself? To me, it seemed like someone who just lost the biggest game of the season and was feeling really down about it. Having people bombard you with the same questions about what you wish you did and what you think the opposing team did better isn’t the ideal situation for an athlete who just lost their championship game.
On top of the stupid questions, Cam Newton had to overhear Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr., who was nearby, brag about their game plan for shutting down the Panthers. I can’t blame him for wanting to walk away—yes, he is a professional athlete and should be used to giving interviews whether or not his team won or loss but is the amount of flack he got necessary? These criticisms would be understandable if Newton flipped a table, or used profanity, but all he did was walk away from a stressful and uncomfortable situation.
Former football player, Deion Sanders had plenty to say about Newton’s press release, saying: “You are the face of our brand right now, you can’t do that,” he continued, “I understand the emotions of losing, but you can’t do that. A Manning, a Brady … all these guys who are a prototypical type of quarterback in our game, they’re not going to do that ever… You’re opening yourself for more criticism.”
But Newton wasn’t the first NFL player to take a loss badly, and a Manning did do something similar. When the Colts lost to the Saints during the 2010 Super Bowl, Peyton Manning chose not to participate in the post-game handshake and sulked off the field. The media didn’t make Peyton out to be a crybaby or a sore loser or attack him with the ferocity the media has attacked Newton with. Maybe Newton got more criticism because social media has evolved since 2010, or maybe it’s because he is a confident black quarterback. There are tons of explanations, but do any of them justify the slander Newton faced post-Super Bowl?
Most of the people criticizing Newton have no idea what it’s like to be in his shoes— to be an athlete, let alone play in the Super Bowl— and can’t judge him for how he handled his loss. If the Panthers had won, Newton would have become the third black quarterback to have won a Super Bowl, which would have been a great achievement for Newton on top of his MVP award and his Offensive Player of the Year award—even if Newton wasn’t focused on the racial aspect of winning the Super Bowl, just being the sixth black quarterback to ever make it to the Super Bowl shows he had more to prove and had more riding on this game than any white quarterback ever will.