Cam Newton, the 26-year-old Carolina Panthers quarterback, seemed to make as many headlines with his petulant post-game press conference after Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 loss to the Denver Broncos as he did with his performance in the game itself. Newton gave one answer of any length in his two-plus minutes at the podium, stuck to monosyllables and short, two-and-three-word snippets for the remainder of his answers.
And then, he mumbled, “I’m done,” and walked out.
Newton took plenty of criticism in the media for his behavior at the press conference. See, for example, the reaction of the ESPN First Take commentators in the video lower on the page.
You can’t have it both ways, Cam. If you dance in your opponents’ faces when you win, you better answer every question after you lose
— Kevin Jones (@Mr_KevinJones) February 8, 2016
Cam Newton sat at the podium for 3:15, ignored almost every question and said, “I’m out of here.”
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) February 8, 2016
New York Post sportswriter Bart Hubbuch wrote a piece headlined, “Cam Newton Sulked Like A Baby After Super Bowl Loss,” in which be described Newton, “with a black hoodie pulled over his head, slumping in his seat and scowling through barely three minutes of questions before bolting the interview room.”
Watch the Cam Newton press conference in the video below.
Michael Powell of The New York Times slammed Newton for acting “in his moment of truth like a 13-year-old,” and former NFL cornerback — now television commentator — Deion Sanders also ripped Cam Newton.
“I understand the emotions of losing, but you can’t do that,” Sanders said. “A (Peyton) Manning, a (Tom) Brady — all these guys that have been a prototypical type of quarterback in our game, they’re not going to do that ever. Would Drew Brees ever?”
Watch the ESPN First Take crew offer their opinions on Newton’s post-game performance in the video below.
But, New York Daily News columnist Shaun King wrote on Monday that Newton is the victim of a racist double standard in the media — because future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning once reacted badly to a Super Bowl loss as well, and according to King, was praised for it.
Manning, of course, was Newton’s opposing quarterback in Super Bowl 50. But, in Super Bowl 44 — played six years to the day prior to Sunday’s game — Manning was the quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, who somehow gave up 15 unanswered fourth-quarter points to the New Orleans Saints to suffer a crushing 31-17 defeat.
As time on the clock wound down in that game at Miami’s Sun Life Stadium, Manning departed the playing field seconds before the game was over — snubbing the traditional greeting and handshake with the opposing quarterback, in this case Drew Brees, or any Saints players at all.
But, King wrote, the reaction of the media at the time was basically to excuse Manning’s seemingly unsportsmanlike actions, even attributing them to “how much Peyton Manning wanted to win the game,” in the words of Yahoo! Sports NFL writer Dan Wetzel.
“You see, it was the competitive fire of Peyton Manning that caused him to leave the field before time expired without shaking any hands or offering any congratulatory hugs to the opposing team and staff,” wrote King in his column.
King also noted that Fox Sports described Manning’s behavior six years ago in highly sympathetic terms.
“Was it poor sportsmanship for not shaking hands with Saints players? Sure. But after what had just transpired in Super Bowl XLIV, I wouldn’t want to look back either,” the Fox story stated.
Newton was not given the same benefit of the doubt, King wrote. The media failed to grant his disappointment at losing the Super Bowl the same “grace, understanding, and dignity.”
“The racist double standard between black and white quarterbacks is as pronounced as ever,” King wrote.
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But, there was some support in the media for Cam Newton.
“Before Super Bowl 50 even ended Cam Newton was taking criticism he didn’t deserve,” wrote Chris Korman of USA Today Sports after Newton’s press conference. “Newton was raw and did not want to talk and that was reasonable, as he had just taken part in a game he will always regret. Why is gritting through something so devastating considered the right way to be a role model? It’s not like Newton failed to shake hands or stormed off the field immediately. ”
[Photo By Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]