BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The following is an editorial from WBRC FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
What a difference a week makes! Seven days ago he was a smilin', dabbin' work of confidence. Monday, he's getting piled on more than Marco Rubio at the last Republican presidential candidates debate. And you thought Chris Christie was tough.
Just about every national media talking head has drawn a number, waiting in line for their turn to bash the NFL's MVP. Now that images of Cam Newton's sullen post-Super Bowl Q&A session have gone viral, at least one national media outlet writes, "Newton has gone from Superman to the Incredible Sulk."
In case you missed it, the Panther's quarterback made his post-game media appearance brief, as he answered questions with answers such as, "Got outplayed, bro," "Nope," and "I'm done man," after which he cut his session short by walking off the podium. Does the former Auburn quarterback deserve the criticism? Well, yes AND no.
Three quarters of my brain tells me that Cam Newton needs to man up after wins AND losses. Let's face it, the disappointment he felt must have been overwhelming. But if over 50 of his fellow teammates could face the media after a devastating loss, the so-called leader of the team certainly can. As an NFL MVP, Newton owes more to the game than sullenly stewing with his head down, buried in the hood of his sweatshirt. For the good of the league and benefit of his teammates, Newton has to be more than a great winner and a sore loser.
Am I alone here? Uh, no. The likes of Marshall Faulk, Deion Sanders and others are chiming in with advice. Even Lebron James had this to say: " know it's very difficult to play in one of the biggest games of your life and come out on the wrong side of it and then have to automatically answer questions, and we also know as professionals that's part of the business. We also know that you guys are part of the reason that help make the game as great as it is. So you got to, as difficult as it is to answer some of the questions that you know this is the last thing you want to talk about, you have to go up there and take the onus, and take the good with the bad. Like I said, I didn't see the Cam interview, but I can only imagine what happened. But I've been in that situation before on both sides, so it's difficult."
The other quarter of my brain? It can sympathize with Newton, who due to an NFL blunder, clearly overheard the Broncos Chris Harris talk about his teammate's strategy in slowing down the NFL MVP. As post-game player podiums were set up in adjoining rooms, they were separated only by curtains. As Newton started his session, the comments from the Denver camp were clearly heard by Newton and other Panther players. As Newton was peppered with questions about how he felt in defeat, Harris could be heard telling the media about the Broncos' strategy in stopping Newton: "Prove he could throw the ball," and "Load the box, force y'all to throw the ball…can you throw the football? That was our game plan."
It was after those comments that Cam Newton uttered, "I'm done, man," stood up and walked away.
So who's to blame here? Cam Newton, the NFL or both? A league that makes zillions of dollars can't figure out a way to separate the teams during post-game interviews? And note that Newton DID greet Peyton Manning on the field after the game, the Denver quarterback telling NBC Monday, "He was very nice."
On the other hand, isn't it about time that Cam Newton stepped it up? National radio personality Jim Rome tweeted, "Cam's presser was weak. If you're going to celebrate when you win, you've got to face the music when you lose." ESPN's Stephen A. Smith added this: "Cam spent too much time celebrating. You just can't get up and walk off. Not the MVP."
So what's your take? Do you give Cam Newton a pass, or do you expect more from the young man who many call the "new face of the NFL"?