The day before he led the Carolina Panthers into the Super Bowl, quarterback Cam Newton was named the National Football League’s MVP. The initials for Most Valuable Player could also stand for Most Vibrant Player.
Newton has made it his trademark to be demonstrative. He signals first downs, high fives fans, has a special “dab” move when he scores and then runs to the stands to hand the football to kids. The celebrating annoys some opposing players and fans who think it’s unsportsmanlike. But Newton’s supporters say it reflects the irrepressible joy the 26-year-old quarterback takes from playing football.
But after losing in the Super Bowl on Sunday, Newton was hardly the most vibrant or most vocal player. He appeared before the media wearing a hood, slouched in a chair and gave monosyllabic answers before walking out after three minutes. The MVP delivered his worst performance after the last game.
It’s OK if players dislike talking to the media, but you can’t call attention to yourself all season and then regard the media’s interest as an intrusion after you lose.
Former NFL star and TV commentator Deion Sanders, whose love of the limelight earned him the nickname “Neon Deion,” had it right when he said Newton was wrong to pout and walk off.
“You can’t do that,” Sanders said. “You’re opening yourself up for more criticism. Everybody’s going to say, ‘You’re dabbin’ and smilin’ and stylin’ and profiling when you’re winning. So this is how you’re gonna act when you lose?’”