What’s in a norm? Cam Newton plays by his rules

Kristian Marble, Editor

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Cam Newton storming out of the press conference after his Super Bowl 50 loss was not ideal for many of the viewers. Since the incident, he has received criticism and empathy for answering media questions in a curt manner, and abruptly walking out. However, in order to understand what Newton went through, you have to look at his entire season.

The 26-year-old quarterback in his 5th season of experience has prevailed in this season with 15 out of 16 wins in the season, and nearly winning the Super Bowl. He is among some of the youngest quarterback starters to participate in a Super Bowl with over 18,000 passing yards, almost 4,000 rushing and 160 total touchdowns according to the National Football League. He has also had 3 Pro Bowl selections and a NFC Championship. Given that, losing the most important game of the season was not something that he was too fond of. It’s like running a race, passing up all of the competition, and then falling right in front of the finish line. Yet, who is justified in the reactions that followed?

Critics seemed to have this image of how a losing quarterback should act after losing, yet Newton challenged those ideas. Many went on to say that Newton’s behavior was of a 12-year-old boy. In particular, Bill Romanowski, a retired NFL player, wrote about Newton on Twitter saying, “You will never last in the NFL with that attitude. The world doesn’t revolve around you, boy!”

This, of course, didn’t sit well with the African American community. As a white man in this day of age, you cannot publicly call a black man “boy” simply because there is a negative history behind the sensitive word for the African American community. However, the race issue in the NFL doesn’t stop there.

It continues with the difference between the reactions to Peyton Manning’s actions a few years back when he lost the Super Bowl, and the reactions to Newton’s actions after losing. After losing the Super Bowl in 2010 to the New Orleans Saints, Manning refused to shake the quarterback Drew Brees’s, or any of the other Saints, hands on the field. However, he received no public criticism, he was actually defended by the public for his actions.

“Walking off the field without congratulating Drew Brees may go against our misguided notion of what sportsmanship should be, but it wasn’t at all disrespectful or bitter,” wrote Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Chase at the time. “It shows how much Peyton Manning wanted to win the game. And who can argue about that,” he added.

To answer that, Cam Newton can.

So, where exactly is the line drawn for poor sportsmanship? Is there even a line, or is it all racially determined?

Many people also believe that there is this unseen barrier between black quarterbacks and white quarterbacks. It is said that there aren’t as many black quarterbacks as white quarterbacks because black quarterbacks lack the ability to make decisions intellectually whereas a white quarterback can. So, for Newton to even be a quarterback, that is something that isn’t settling well with some critics. Therefore, Newton is already subject to terrible and inappropriate criticism.

The issue seems to be either Newton’s actions or his skin tone. People are pressed over what they thought he should act like, but Newton is not your typical conformer.

“I’m on record as being a sore loser. I hate losing. You show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser,” argued Newton in defense to all the hype over his actions.

All in all, the race card is a big issue here. Cam Newton has every right to act the way he wanted to, not how everyone else wanted to. He shouldn’t have been looked at or criticized any differently than Peyton Manning because of his race. Yes, he has an image to maintain, but he’s human just like the rest of us. He gets upset, angry and complicated just like everyone else. He is who he is, and nobody can take that from him, not even a group of angry white critics. His actions just go to show how he doesn’t play by the rules: he has his own norms.

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