By all accounts, if Cam Newton loses at ping-pong or cards, friends know to ask police to conduct a well-being check. That’s how competitive he is.
But he can’t act like he did after the Panthers lost badly to the Broncos in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday. He acted as if his age and his uniform number were the same: 1.
No matter how you feel about Newton – and there are large, vociferous crowds on both sides of the discussion – you can’t look at his brief press conference and say he comported himself well. He gave painfully short answers to most questions and wouldn’t answer at least one. He did all of this with a cold, distant look on his face.
Some people suggested that Newton could hear Broncos cornerback Chris Harris’ nearby press conference and that it didn’t help that Harris was loudly declaring Denver’s defense the best ever. But that’s no reason for Newton to act the way he did. Three minutes into the gathering, he walked out.
If he were consistently bad with the media, it could be chalked up to a grumpy guy being grumpy again. But Newton was very chatty while the Panthers were going 15-1 during the regular season, so Sunday’s postgame performance made him look like someone who handles success well and failure like a petulant child.
Dealing with the media is part of being a professional athlete. Some players like it, some don’t, but it’s life. Answer questions to the best of your ability, no matter how dumb the questions might be (and some to Newton on Sunday were clumsy, at best). Answer them and move on. That’s the job.
Half of Jay Cutler’s problems in Denver and Chicago came from his lack of cooperation with the media. He often has come across as brooding and indifferent. He has tried to change his approach the past few years, and it has made a difference in how he has been perceived publicly. Having a decent season in 2015 helped.
Newton doesn’t need any media lessons from Cutler. He needs to grow up.