Leading up to the Super Bowl, talk ranged from strategy-based discussions of on-field tactics to the antics of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and his growing reputation, mostly focusing on the latter.
Newton is notorious for his dancing celebrations, particularly the “dab” dance move, after picking up a first down.
Some people think his other behavior is completely acceptable.
Others think he is a clown while some believe the only reason that the only reason there’s even a discussion is because he is a black quarterback.
These people think if he were white this wouldn’t be an issue, demonstrating an unfair double standard for African American players.
So why all the hatred toward Newton?
His actions during and after the Super Bowl, by far the biggest game in Newton’s career, illustrated just why he rubs so many people the wrong way.
With four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, while the Panthers were only down by six points, Newton was stripped for the second time in the game by Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller.
While the ball lay on the ground with the chaotic herd of gargantuan bodies approaching, Newton had the chance to dive on the loose ball.
Instead, he backed away in cowardice.
He avoided the pile up like it was week two and they were up by 30 points.
That play allowed Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson to run the ball into the end zone, giving them a two-touchdown lead.
Newton responded to the criticism over the play on Twitter not by admitting that it was a mistake, but by saying he thought there was a chance his leg would get “contorted.”
Because he was afraid of getting hurt, Newton said he neglected to dive for the ball and take the chance.
This is the same quarterback that has shattered rushing records and never shies away from a collision with an oncoming defender.
This is the same quarterback that does the Superman celebration after making a big play down the field.
If I were Cam Newton’s coach, I wouldn’t be describing his effort on that play as very super at all.
After the game, Newton was very short with reporters before he eventually stood up and just walked out of the interview room.
This is the same quarterback that always gives the ball to a little kid in the front row when he scores a touchdown.
That’s what he looked like with his pouty responses and storming off during his press conference: a little kid.
Just as he does with his ongoing dances after a touchdown that leaves his teammates waiting, awkwardly patient at his side, he put himself before the team.
He doesn’t respect his opponents or the game, and as a fan; it’s hard to respect a player that is so quick to flash a smile after a win when he crumbles under the cameras after a loss.