Kendrick’s Korner: The Cam Newton Conflict

If I had to describe my thoughts about Cam Newton’s Super Bowl postgame press conference, I would compare it to watching Coldplay’s Chris Martin sing “Uptown Funk” in between Bruno Mars and Beyoncé.

Was is it a good performance? I’m divided.

I liked the idea of three of the best artists of our generation singing together, but Martin looked very out of place. To relate this back to Cam Newton’s press conference, I liked the idea that he was upset after a loss in the biggest game on the planet, but he was very misguided in the message he sent to the media.

Although Cam’s curt replies and poor body language seemed like bad sportsmanship (and perhaps it was), a part of me really enjoyed the press conference. It reiterated one of the main reasons Cam Newton has been a successful quarterback: he hates to lose. Yes, he has unparalleled physical stature and a cannon for an arm, but as his record in college and the NFL shows, what really separates him from other players is his ultra-competitive drive.

Cam’s postgame disgust also illustrates why I think he will continue to play at an elite level in the future. Despite a massive surge in popularity and sponsorship contracts, Newton has not become complacent by lowering his self-expectations or intensity. Although I do not like to compare young players to accomplished sports legends, he seemed to have a similar level of frustration after a title game loss as players like LeBron James or even, Cam’s counterpart, Peyton Manning.

Hopefully, like James and Manning, Cam Newton can use this loss as greater motivation to work on his game and win a Super Bowl down the road.

The other part of me disliked Cam Newton’s actions in the press conference. His raw emotion was totally understandable, especially after a loss in Super Bowl. In fact, his passion for the game is perhaps what makes him so polarizing to watch. However, this time Cam totally failed to understand his role as the leader of his team.

Let’s be honest, on the losing team in the Super Bowl, the media only really cares about the post-game interviews with the coach and the star player. By walking out of the press conference early, Newton, whether he realized it at the time or not, misrepresented his teammates by essentially stating that his team is led by a sore loser. Furthermore, he placed another chip on the Panthers' shoulders in the future as no one, especially the media, wants to root for a team of poor losers.

In Newton’s defense, if you listen closely to the interview, an opposing Broncos player was somewhat obnoxiously giving another interview nearby about how the Broncos defense dominated the Panthers’ offense. However, this should not be an excuse, as the leader of an NFL franchise should not be negatively affected by the words of a defensive back on an opposing team.

Imagine the media’s reaction to Newton if he had ignored the other player, admitted his poor performance on that particular day, and announced that he will be back again in the Super Bowl next year. The team would avoid any controversy, and the media would rave over Newton’s poise and maturity in defeat. I hope Cam can learn from this PR mistake and transform permanently into the end zone dabbing superstar quarterback with the infectious smile that America has grown to love this season.

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