Carolina Panthers quarterback and reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton currently finds himself as the face of the league.
He’s overtaken other young signal callers for this mantle primarily due to his performance a season ago and the divisiveness he brings to the game.
Newton knows full well he’s in the spotlight, something that was made readily apparent following his immature post-game press conference after Carolina’s loss to the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl this past February.
Acknowledging it is definitely a good sign. And that’s exactly what Newton did just recently.
“I don’t need to see (the Super Bowl presser) for me to understand the grief or backlash I got from it,” Newton told WFNZ (h/t ESPN). “I’m admitting I learned from it, and that’s the first step.”
The biggest issue for Newton wasn’t his performance in defeat (18-of-41 passing with zero scores and an interception). Instead, it was his response when meeting with the media following the team-wide dud of a game.
While Newton acknowledged the blow back he received after storming out of the presser, he didn’t go as far to indicate that he will be changing his ways moving forward.
“I’m not saying what I did was right. I’m not saying what I did was wrong,” Newton continued. “I just want people to see it from my vantage point. I’ve learned from it. No doubt.”
This is also a justifiable response. After all, Newton had just struggled on the game’s grandest stage, and in his biggest game. He wasn’t too far removed from seeing his Panthers put up just 10 points in a two-touchdown defeat.
Though, plenty of quarterbacks have taken to the stage immediately after heartbreaking defeats in the Super Bowl. In this, many have concluded Newton needs to mature and learn from his past mistakes.
If he’s not ready to indicate his actions were wrong, that could create more fodder for skeptics who are somehow addicted to creating a false narrative that Newton isn’t ready to lead.
For Newton, the biggest thing remains winning. When that doesn’t happen, he’s simply not going to sit back and somehow become a more cheerful loser.
“Why would I do that? I’m born to win. If I could no longer play this sport no more, I could no longer have the influence I do have, I want people to realize, be a winner … master your craft,” he said. “You don’t live to just be mediocre.”
Newton is coming off a 2015 campaign that saw him put up nearly 4,500 total yards with 45 total touchdowns and 10 interceptions en route to leading the Panthers to a 15-1 record and the NFC title.
Whether he likes it or not, Newton is now the face of the NFL. His actions and words will be further placed under a microscope by a media force that wants to catch the latest soundbite as a way to click bait.
Let’s just hope Newton recognizes this moving forward.