Cam Newton handled the Panthers’ Super Bowl 50 loss about as poorly as possible, sulking through a petulant press conference before ultimately cutting his media time short and walking off stage. On Thursday, though, after losing to the Broncos again, Newton stood tall and strong and took accountability for the loss.
Perhaps we shouldn’t praise athletes for acting professionally – because that’s kind of what they’re supposed to do – but it was an interesting moment in the development of Cam Newton, who seems to have evolved quite a bit since that fateful February night in Santa Clara.
“I don’t know if that’s because it’s there or because I want it to be true – because I’m a huge Cam Newton fan,” CBSSports.com columnist Bill Reiter said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Take Super Bowl 50 and that ridiculous, petulant press conference and take that way, before that I think he’s been treated somewhat unfairly, if not very unfairly. I want to see him do what LeBron James did, a guy that I covered in Miami, what other guys have done and take what is a pretty dark moment – and I think mostly his mistakes on and off the field brought it about after that loss to the Broncos – and go to another level and mature and be a better guy. We all make mistakes.”
Reiter believes Newton was treated unfairly at Auburn and that it continued after he was drafted No. 1 overall in 2011.
“In terms of college football and this idea that it’s amateur football and we should crucify and we should demonize athletes who take money or (who are) alleged to have taken money or have fathers who do things that are shady or agents or friends, I think, is the height of hypocrisy,” Reiter said. “I think he bore the brunt of a lot of frustration by people who know that goes on at every level with a whole bunch of players at most programs. I was at his first NFL game, and I can remember before that game the coverage and the writing and the people around me, a lot of them were talking about how he was overrated, he had an attitude problem, he wasn’t going to be a leader, you couldn’t win with a guy like this – and I think that has bene vastly, for the most part, unfair. Now that said, I can’t and won’t defend what he did after the Super Bowl in terms of the way he conducted himself.”