Why? Cam has furnished us with just enough NFL fodder to help us forget that America’s most popular sport’s season has ended. And, unfortunately, it is the kind content that everyone can opine.
You have all, by now, been inundated with the opinions of sports-talk hosts and former athletes pontificating that Newton’s actions during his post-Super Bowl 50 press conference were not “the right way to do things in the NFL.” Or, perhaps, you have been told that, “Cam needs to realize that he not only represents himself. He represents the Panthers and their fan base, as well.”
Personally, I consider that line of thinking to be totally wearisome. Apparently, so does Cam.
Let me first preface what I am about to write with this: Cam’s actions in that Super Bowl post-game were immensely unprofessional and immature. We can all agree there.
Yesterday, Newton spoke to the media for the first time since skulking out of the Super Bowl press conference with his black hoodie draped low over his head.
We, as the collective sports consumer base, branded him as a self-absorbed cry-baby; someone who would dab in the good times and cower in the bad.
We expected an apology from the freshly-minted MVP of the NFL for offending our delicate sensibilities by not comporting himself in the way in which we are accustomed. We wanted to see him ooze fake humility from the podium as every other star athlete does.
How did he respond when accosted about his actions and told that he was a “sore loser” in how he handled himself after Sunday’s loss to Denver in Super Bowl 50?
“Who are you to say that your way is right?”
Oh, Cam. Just when I thought I could not possibly enjoy you more.
“I’ve been on record to say I’m a sore loser,” Newton said Tuesday. “Who likes to lose? You show me a good loser and I’m going to show you a loser. It’s not a popularity contest. I’m here to win football games.”
Asked on what his thoughts were about offending anyone, Newton responded, “that’s cool. But I know who I am and I’m not about to conform nor bend for anybody’s expectations because your or anybody else’s expectations will never exceed mine.”
No regrets; none whatsoever.
“I had a lot of time to go back and play everything back. I’m human. I never once said that I was perfect. I never proclaimed that I was perfect, but at the end of the day, people pick and do things of that sort.”
Cam Newton will not bend the knee in your Holy Church of Sportsmanship. Cam Newton does not owe you one shred of humility.
“So why should we be all smiles when the game is over?” Newton asked of the media members pelting him with questions. “That’s what I don’t understand. We’ve got all these people condemning, and saying he shouldn’t have done this, that and the third. What makes your way right?”
Here is the most important thing we have to realize when we look at Cam Newton: he does not care what we think.
Cam could have come out yesterday and apologized. He could have stood there before the media and said that he should have known better and that the way he behaved was no way for an NFL MVP to act. He could have blatantly lied to us like Tom Brady did, like Peyton Manning does, and any other super star in sports when they pretend to be humble and downplay their greatness when, in reality, no one as successful as those in the top echelon of sport truly think of themselves that way.
Instead, he urinated on your idea of the cookie-cutter quarterback and was defiant in vowing the Panthers will return to the Super Bowl as we sat at home watching and clutching our pearls in astonishment. Cam does not care if you think he should be a role model. It is not Cam’s job to raise your children.
“As far as trying to be like this person, trying to be like that person … the truth of the matter is I’m not trying to be like this person.”
That is who Cam is and I respect him for doubling down on his position. The only person he needed to pay his respects to following Super Bowl 50 was Peyton Manning. He did so with class and with dignity.
Other than that, who the hell are we to to criticize Cam for being emotional? Why harass him for being interesting, for not spewing the same garbage coach-speak we are accustomed to that gives us nothing insightful as to who these athletes are?
Who are we to look down on him for letting us see his personality?
If you want to rip Cam Newton, do so for the way he defended himself making a business decision in the biggest game of his life. By not diving to try to recover his fumble in the fourth quarter that was recovered by the Broncos, he announced to the millions watching him that he was tired of playing and he wanted to take his ball and go home.
That sequence effectively ended the game. His admittance of that Tuesday was the only damning thing to come from either of Newton’s past two media appearances and it went completely unnoticed in the wake of our artificial outrage.
So, I leave you with this: Realize that Cam Newton will not shy away from you or anyone else who would look to disparage him under any circumstances.
We say that you must sit at the podium after the most devastating loss of your career because, “that is the way things are done in sports.”
What does Cam Newton say to that?
“I don’t have to conform to anybody else’s wants for me to do. I’m not that guy.”