Cam Newton has heard the reports circulating, accusing him of being a sore loser for his postgame antics with the media after Super Bowl 50—he said Tuesday he knows he’s a sore loser, and will not apologize for it.
Newton walked out of a three-minute press conference on Sunday evening after his Panthers fell 24-10 to the Broncos in the big game, however, for the time he was present, the majority of Newton’s responses were one and two words. He was sulked back in his chair, with a black team issued hoodie pulled over his head.
“Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser,” Newton told the Associated Press on Tuesday as he and his teammates cleaned out their lockers from Bank of America Stadium in downtown Charlotte.
He added the situation is being scoped more than it should because of the media, and said he doesn’t plan to bend to the demands of football writers. Newton is his own man, and won’t change how he reacts to losing to appease his critics, he said.
“If I offended anybody that’s cool, but I know who I am and I’m not about to conform nor bend for anybody’s expectations because yours or anybody’s expectations would never exceed mine,” Newton said.
He added, “Who are you to say that your way is right? I have all of these people who are condemning and saying this, that and the third, but what makes your way right?”
Newton said he was caught in the moment after the game ended, and simply wasn’t in the proper mood to fulfill his media obligations.
“When you invest so much time and sacrifice so much and things don’t go as planned, I think emotions take over,” he said. “I think that is what happens.”
Head coach and Coach of the Year Ron River said that while he would have handled the situation differently himself, he understood why the 26-year-old Newton reacted as so. He explained that Newton takes losing harder than most of the players on his team, adding that on more than one occasion the quarterback has sat at his locker in full uniform for up to 30 minutes after a loss, and in worse instances, taken more than an hour to address the media.
“That’s who he is. He hates to lose, that’s the bottom line,” Rivera said. “That is what you love in him. I would much rather have a guy who hates to lose than a guy who accepts it. The guy who accepts it, you might as well just push him out of your locker room because you don’t want him around.
“That is a beauty of a guy like that — he wants to win and his teammates know it. That is what it is about. We don’t play this game for a participation trophy. We want to win.”
Newton’s teammates rallied behind the quarterback Tuesday, offering their support and kind words of everything he brought to the field for them this season. They said they knew how badly Newton wanted to win, and like their head coach, added they know no one hates losing more than Newton.
“He’s a competitor just like everybody else,” fullback Mike Tolbert said. “He’s not happy at all about what happened. I’m not happy about what happened. I think everyone on our team is not happy, so why should we be all smiles after? I can’t expect anybody to be laughing and joking and ecstatic about losing a football game.”
General manager Dave Gettleman liked the fired he saw from Newton, and wants his players to hate losing, he said Tuesday. He refused to criticize Newton’s postgame behavior.
“I want players that hate to lose,” Gettleman said. “I want players that I know when the game is over they are crawling into the locker room and they need help getting their gear off and they are going to need time getting into the shower. I want the buses to be late to the airport if we’re traveling. We all handle defeat differently.”
Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.
David Barclay is an NFL Insider for byteclay.com. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @DJamesIII