Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been taking a lot of criticism after his angry and rather poor behavior following the Super Bowl on Feb. 7. Newton abruptly exited from a post-game news conference after sullenly answering reporters' questions with one-word answers and appearing agitated throughout.
While the criticism of Newton's behavior is natural, many feel it is clear the quarterback was experiencing an episode of raw emotion following the result of the game. While he could have tried, perhaps, to put on a happier face in the post-game conference for reporters, the fact that he didn't should not be held against him.
As ESPN notes, one of the reasons many NFL fans are attracted to Newton is because of his raw emotion and passion for the game. And indeed, that passion was evident last night during the Super Bowl when Newton was one of the most dynamic players in a game characterized by the strength of both team's defensive lines. Finishing 18 out of 41 passes for 265 yards in total, Newton was particularly exciting to watch, especially during the second and third quarters, as the New York Times points out.
The result of the game was hardly Newton's fault as much as it was a collective, team disappointment. And the criticism of his post-game behavior simply misses the point that Newton's passion for the sport is a part of his personality and inseparable from his identity as a football player -- and that sometimes, that passion will lead to a display of negative emotions.
Also, Newton usually takes a while to prepare before speaking to media, something that did not happen during the Super Bowl post-game, ESPN reports. Newton was rushed into the post-game interview following the Panthers' loss and had very little time to collect his thoughts or emotions. There is little to no doubt that with the passage of time, Newton will be much more ready to discuss the loss and how he believes his team could have done better.
Ultimately, criticizing Newton for his outburst makes sense on the surface, but misses the point that Newton's outburst is simply a reflection of the same passion which draws so many people to watch him in the first place.