It has been over a week since Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos left Levi Stadium with the Lombardi Trophy, marking the end of the 2015-16 NFL season. It was a terrible game. Boring. Low-scoring. Just bad to watch. Cam Newton got pummeled and he didn’t take it well.
When people saw him fall to the ground after a late pass interference call, everyone began to turn on the very man they supported the whole year. “Same old Cam.” “I guess he can’t handle the pressure.” “Newton is a baby.” I was at the forefront of that attack. It was easy. He wasn’t playing well and wasn’t the flamboyant athlete we had seen all season. He wasn’t confident. He wasn’t composed. He wasn’t the NFL MVP. I felt that way. It took me two days to see the double standard in the NFL.
Now take a moment and think about your favorite quarterbacks. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, etc. We all remember the great moments they had at the quarterback position. We remember the comebacks. We remember the records and the shows they put on on Sunday afternoons. What we don’t remember are their moments of weakness. We all will remember the way Cam Newton acted after Super Bowl 50.
In my opinion there is a clear double standard. Now, I’m not going to say it’s a race issue, but for some reason people blow everything Newton did out of proportion. Is the double standard based in race? You can decide. Here are a few examples.
Cam Newton didn’t take his helmet off post game when he was shaking Manning’s hand.
This is true and obviously there is no denying that. He was on camera.
Here’s what you forgot.
The winning quarterback of Super Bowl 50 didn’t take his helmet off when he got pummeled by Russell Wilson three years ago. He met Wilson at midfield with his helmet still on. Double Standard? Yes. Not convinced? Ok.
In Super Bowl 44, Drew Brees and the Saints beat Manning and the Colts. This time, Manning took his helmet off as he walked into the locker room without shaking one hand or congratulating one player. Is this good sportsmanship? Clearly no. But hey, nobody asked him about it or questioned him for it.
Cam Newton’s press conference
Yeah. I get this one. As a member of the media I would be a little pissed if he didn’t answer questions after a crushing Super Bowl loss. It’s his job to speak to the media. But think about this. Would you stay if someone from the opposing team was standing in the back heckling you? You can say yes, but you’d be lying. You just played the biggest game of your life, on the worlds biggest stage, and you lost.
Here’s what we failed to confront.
Why is Chris Harris not being called to the table? He walked into the media room and heckled Newton, but instead we focus on how short Newton stayed to talk to media. I can’t remember a quarterback being heckled at the post game media conference. Shame on Chris Harris more than Cam Newton.
“Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.”
The quote Cam Newton used two days after the Super Bowl loss. The quote that everyone said made Cam Newton look like a sore loser. The guy we all thought he was. Someone who was immature and was not a good role model for anyone. The same guy who gave touchdown footballs to a child in the stands. The same guy who spent his Christmas Eve handing out dinners to less fortunate people. The same guy who created his own foundation whose goal is “enhancing the lives of youths by addressing their educational, physical and social needs.” This same foundation has raised $400,000 for public schools and helped 4,500 student-athletes thorough positive programming and provided help for more than 5,000 children and adults during the holiday season. All these things won him the Ed Block Courage Award. If this is the man people are calling classless, please take a closer look. Ask yourself why you don’t like Cam Newton. Because he is a new type of quarterback? Because he celebrates? What is the difference between a Gronk Spike and a Cam Newton dab? There isn’t one. One of them just makes people uncomfortable. Cam Newton is 26 years old. He’s a supreme talent and he’s not going anywhere. If you have a problem with him, I would try and just get over it.
And by the way, the man who said, “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser” is the same man whose name is carved on the Super Bowl trophy. He is white. Cam is not.