Cam Newton walked out of his Super Bowl post game press conference. No matter what the reasons were, he walked out. Twenty four hours before, he had been named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player and regarded as the face of the league. For him to achieve so much in one season and then to conduct himself the way he did after the loss is an embarrassment.
It’s the same in every professional sports league. The star players, and especially the MVP, are the face of the league. They represent the league and are the first athletes thought of when you think of the sport. With that level of spotlight and the perks that come with it, comes a high-level of responsibility. Cam Newton failed to live up to that responsibility when he walked out of his press conference.
Cam fans have defended the superstar with several excuses. He just came off the biggest loss of his career. He overheard Denver Bronco’s player Chris Harris’ comments about his lack of efficiency. He did technically fulfill his three-minute media requirement. Newton himself was unapologetic about his actions, stating that he knows he’s a sore loser and that if someone showed him a good loser, he’ll still show you a loser.
Good points. But this is the MVP.
Cam Newton is not the first quarterback to ever lose a Super Bowl. Newton became the 50th starting quarterback to lose the big game and have to talk about it to the media afterwards. There is nothing special there. There should be no special treatment. Newton may have tried to hide, but when you’re the best and the most mesmerizing player in the league, it’s not an option. Even when Newton switched things up on the media by going to a different podium, he still couldn’t get out of an interview.
What’s also disappointing is that NFL fans and experts finally thought they had seen the end of this behavior from Newton. In college, Newton was known for thoroughly enjoying wins, especially during Auburn’s championship 2010 season, and not taking personal defeat well during his time at Florida and Blinn College.
That trend followed him into the pros, where he was often criticized for not being a leader when things got down. This past season, he seemed to finally take that last step of maturing into the leader of the Carolina Panthers, being for the team as an uplifting voice in the rare hard times of their 15-1 year and handling defeat gracefully. Those notions have now come back into question.
It’s not that Newton doesn’t have it in him. As the final seconds of the game ticked by, and the realization of a hard fought season would come up short, Newton still had the know-how to go up to opposing quarterback Peyton Manning and offer his congratulations. When the hurt was its freshest and most vulnerable, Newton still showed that he can be worthy of what the MVP award stands for: excellence in all aspects of the game. Win or lose.
By exiting early, Newton also forced his teammates into a very difficult position. Teammates, who also just suffered a heart-breaking loss, were suddenly forced to be representatives of the Panthers and speak to the media more than they had planned. The media wanted to talk to Cam Newton, and as the face of the franchise, Newton should have done more to oblige.
If this was anyone else, it would not have been discussed to this extent. But this isn’t someone else. This is Cam Newton, NFL MVP, face of the league, face of the Carolina Panthers and one of the most polarizing figures in sports.