COMMENTARY: Cam Newton made one mistake, stop overanalyzing athletes


Photo by Pantherfan11, distributed under a CC-BY-SA-3.0 Unported license, via Wikimedia Commons.

Paul Capoccia, Asst. Sports Editor

Another Super Bowl has passed, and, again, I find myself writing about how people overvalue and overanalyze the NFL athlete. (Really, I wrote about it almost exactly this time last year.)

I’m talking about Cam Newton, the NFL MVP and unfair scapegoat of the Carolina Panthers’ improbable loss to the Denver Broncos.

Newton naysayers enjoyed watching him fail throughout the game as his familiar swag turned to childish pouting on the sidelines. These naysayers and even Newton’s supporters also took issue with his inability to remain at the podium for more than a few brief, disinterested minutes before walking off as a consummate “sore loser.”

New audio from the press conference reveals a possible reason: he could hear the guy who beat him talking about how it was done. That man, cornerback Chris Harris, seemed not to blame Cam, admitting he would’ve been mad too.

Whether you want to buy any of that is up to you, but the assertion that Cam Newton is any less a decent human being than he was before the game or before that press conference is absurd.

Newton is a 26-year-old young man who just lost the biggest game of his career after a season of steamrolling teams, dabbing through games that ought to have had mercy rules, posing for pictures, and commercial endorsements. This was a young man whose dreams were shattered, and he reacted better, in my opinion, than any of us might have. I would’ve been crying or screaming, maybe both, at the podium.

As Newton continues to defend his actions, quoting Lombardi’s favorite line of “show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser”, he will continue to be scrutinized for the attention he is placing on himself.

It is not as if his coaches, teammates, and America did not know how Newton handles himself. He plays the game of football and lives life with a certain swagger and bravado practically unparalleled in the current sports world. Not only that, but his passion and determination to win is what drove him to the Super Bowl, and ultimately off the podium.

So should he step out of the spotlight for a little bit? Probably. It might serve him well. But in the grand scheme of life, does his early exit from the podium really change how Newton ought to be viewed? Absolutely not.

Let’s give Newton some slack. He made an immature mistake, that’s all. We all do. And once we realize no person, even if he makes millions playing sports, is perfect, we can learn to accept people simply for who they are.

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