Throughout this past NFL season, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and his teammates gave away footballs to children in the stands after scoring touchdowns. Now it’s Cam Newton’s turn to be on the receiving end of a special gift.
Cam Newton has been taking a lot of heat in the days following the Carolina Panthers’ loss in Super Bowl 50. Newton, who was awarded the National Football League’s Most Valuable Player award this past Satuday, was heavily criticized for his lackluster play in Sunday’s Super Bowl. Newton only completed 18 of his 41 passes, (a 43.9 percent completion rate as opposed to nearly 60 percent in the regular season), for 265 yards with zero touchdowns and an interception. Newton’s quarterback rating for the game was 55.4. Newton’s average quarterback rating for the season was 99.2, according to Pro-Football-Reference.
Newton also faced criticism for not attempting to recover a fumble that he lost after Denver Broncos linebacker and eventual Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller stripped Newton of the ball. The Broncos would recover and soon after score a touchdown to go up 24-10 and seal the victory. In a quote from USA Today, Cam Newton explained why he didn’t go after the fumble.
“I didn’t dive on one fumble because the way my leg was (positioned). It could have been contorted in a way. You say my effort? I didn’t dive down. I fumbled – that’s fine. That’s fine. We didn’t lose the game because of that fumble.”
However, arguably the biggest beef that people have had with Cam Newton this week has stemmed from his abrupt exit from a post-game press conference. Here’s how the New York Daily News felt about Newton’s departure.
“And it wasn’t just his play, either — though he was ineffective, jittery and clearly rattled by the Denver Broncos defense throughout the Carolina Panthers’ 24-10 loss. The worst of his performance came afterward, when Newton — the leader of the NFC champs, the NFL MVP and a player who might just be the face of the league’s future — bolted from his postgame press conference almost without talking at all.”
In Newton’s defense, he did speak to the media for a few minutes before exiting and gave his opponents plenty of credit for their victory. It also didn’t help that the Denver Broncos’ Chris Harris, Jr. was giving his post-game interview nearby at the exact same time and was obviously in a bit of a different mood than Cam Newton was.
“I had no idea, I don’t know why they had us in the same room or anywhere close to where they can hear us. So I would’ve been mad too if I was Cam, to be able to hear your opponent right behind you talking, I mean nobody wants to hear that…so I think that was a bad setup.”
However, that’s not nearly good enough for 8-year-old Stephen Graham, a Panthers fan from Charlotte that saw Newton’s interview. He noticed that Cam Newton wasn’t smiling and wanted to do something for his “friend”. So Graham sprung to action this week and decided to write Cam Newton a personal letter. As a bonus, since Newton and the Panthers didn’t win the Vince Lombardi Trophy, Graham also made him a paper trophy as a consolation prize.
Just look at that note and the paper Lombardi trophy to go with it. Priceless.
“Dear Cam Newton, I’m sorry you lost, but here is a paper trofy.”
The story from WCNC (you can see the entire video below), an NBC affiliate in Charlotte, also shows Graham saying that “when a friend falls down, the other friend always picks him up.” Cam Newton has had a rough week, but thanks to Stephen Graham, it just got a little bit better.
[Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]