Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s response to losing Super Bowl 50 has been the subject of much discussion in the last couple of days and Newton addressed it while players cleared out their lockers in Charlotte on Tuesday.
Newton didn’t have much to say to the media during a sulking postgame appearance in the Levi’s Stadium interview room and briefly walked away from the podium, likely because of what he could hear jovial Broncos players saying on the other side of a partition erected between the two teams. On Tuesday, Newton agreed with those that have called his reaction the behavior of a sore loser.
“Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser,” Newton said, via Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. “If I offended anyone, that’s cool … I don’t have to conform to anybody’s wants for me. I’m not that guy. This is a great league with or without me. I am my own person.”
The problem with that is that plenty of players and coaches that no one would describe as a loser have been able to handle the aftermath of a loss without the reaction that Newton had on Sunday night. It’s a pretty big stretch to say that group has less of a desire to win than Newton has, although giving those answers after the game or some variation that illustrated how hard it was for him to accept losing would have likely elicited much less of a reaction.
The group of people who have handled it better include many of his teammates and head coach Ron Rivera, who defended Newton during an appearance on PFT Live Tuesday while adding that the quarterback needs to “learn and grow” from the Super Bowl experience.
Rivera also said that he had “no problem” with Newton not diving for his late fumble that set up C.J. Anderson’s touchdown. Newton also addressed that on Tuesday.
“I don’t dive on one fumble because the way my leg was — it could have been [contorted] in a way,” Newton said. “OK, you say my effort. I didn’t dive down. I fumbled. That’s fine. But we didn’t lose that game because of that fumble. I can tell you that.”
Newton added that no one’s expectations for him are greater than his own and that the Panthers are going to be back in 2016. Their ability to meet that expectation will continue to be discussed for the many months to come before they can return to the field to prove it.