Is Cam Newton, the new face of the NFL, the same old petulant child?
That’s what his detractors have wanted us to believe all along.
But, during last night’s post-game Super Bowl 50 press conference, Newton sadly demonstrated that he needs to grow up fast – a fact even his most ardent supporters cannot dispute.
Shortly after his Carolina Panthers lost 24 – 10 to a stout Denver Broncos team, the 2015 NFL MVP acted like a spoiled child who failed to get his way. Unwisely, Newton pouted in front of the wrong crowd; namely, the world media.
At a time when he could have endeared himself to an understanding public, a slouching Newton behaved immaturely at the obligatory presser.
The Panthers’ immensely talented QB should have comported himself as a mature man: genuinely congratulating his victors, citing #SB50 MVP Von Miller’s incredible defensive performance and, most importantly, coping with disappointment and defeat as an adult.
Personally, when tuning into the post-game interview, I desired to see the defeated 26 year-old Newton emerge as a bona fide super star worthy of fans’ respect both on and off the field.
However, the Panthers #1 left me wanting.
Newton should have followed in the footsteps of Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman who both carried themselves as gentlemen, gracious in defeat, following their team’s shocking last second loss to the New England Patriots in the 2015 Super Bowl.
However, Newton showed no resolve, exhibited no resilience and certainly demonstrated no professionalism befitting the face of both the Carolina Panthers franchise and the National Football League. His newly minted MVP trophy had already showed signs of tarnishing.
The flummoxed QB may have wisely contained his emotions with his obvious reticence, but he should have donned a decent smile in lieu of a dour puss and skipped the needless sulking as he sat under the searing lights of the world’s media.
Newton’s moment of playing on the American sports world’s biggest stage quickly spiraled into his biggest debacle as a professional once he stepped onto the podium at the post-game press conference.
And, he is without excuse.
So, what’s next for this polarizing athlete? And, how can he now shake his deserved pouting, petulant reputation?
Here’s what I think needs to be done ASAP:
1. Owner Jerry Richardson, coach Ron Rivera and other Panthers staff should quickly close ranks on their franchise star and talk to him candidly.
2. Cam Newton must listen to them as well as those he trusts and learn from his abhorrent, childish behavior now going viral across all media.
3. Furthermore, Newton needs to muster the strength and courage to quickly and transparently address the media and football fans about his uncalled for behavior.
4. And, finally, the 2015 NFL MVP needs to focus on emerging as a mature man, capable of leading his team’s return to next year’s big game, instead of continuing to live as the petulant, whiny little kid we witnessed last night.
OK, Cam, the past is behind you, as ugly as it was, and the ball is back in your hands.
Let’s see you now act as the new face of the NFL.
MIKE on sports!