The relationship between sports and media is interesting. It’s always been something beautiful. It’s created moments we’ll never forget, brought vital news to the forefront, but, most importantly, connected the players with the fans. You’ve had stars in the past that have played into this role wonderfully, been entirely open and smily to the media in all situations. Guys like Russell Wilson and Kevin Durant, who despite what’s going on, always give full interviews and constructive responses. With every Russell Wilson, you get a Marshawn Lynch: an athlete that just doesn’t necessarily want to be best friends with reporters. Some just don’t speak frequently in general while others are situational. Now the problem with this is that an athlete’s willingness to speak openly to the media becomes the main determination of whether they’re a sore loser/nice guy/mature. They even judge whether an individual is a “professional” by how nice they play with the media.
Cam Newton Justified for Super Bowl Press Conference
Cam Newton is under fire currently because of his post-Super Bowl press conference. He gave short answers to reporters and was visibly distraught throughout the noticeably short press conference. After about two minutes of questions Cam abruptly walked out, leaving many with a sour taste in their mouth. Seemingly everyone spoke on the topic, ranging from members of the media tweeting their disapproval, sports analysts discussing it the next day on their shows, or even celebrities commenting on the behavior.
“You are the face of our brand right now. You can’t do that. I understand the emotions of losing. You can’t do that,” stated Deion Sanders on NFL network after the game [https://twitter.com/nflnetwork/status/696548044209258496]
The problem with this all was that it was all negative. Thousands of tweets labeling him a poor sport and childish came flooding to the surface. Cam’s level of professionalism came into question.
There’s a side to this that no one is attending to.
In the words of Cam Newton, “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.”
He’s right. This has been nonsense. Has there been individuals that have handled that situation in a more media friendly approach? Definitely. But does media friendly always equate to professionalism, class, or maturity? Absolutely not. The man had just lost the biggest game of his career. Do you expect him to be cheery? An athlete works their entire life to make it to the professional level. At that point, their entire life is being dedicated to accomplish the highest honor of a championship. Losing that game carries unspeakable pain. All of your life’s work has been thrown away seemingly.
Now over time they’ll realize that their entire life hasn’t been wasted nor is it rendered useless, but thirty seconds after the clock strikes zero you can’t think that logically. Some take days, weeks even to come to their senses. LeBron spent a week in complete solitary confinement after the 2011 Finals loss. To throw a camera in the face of someone who just lost that game, that life dream, has to come with expectations. The emotions are running high and people are bitter. You’re not just supposed to lose and be perfectly content. Cam handled it. He’s supposed to be pissed. He’s supposed to be rigid. He’s supposed to not want to talk to anyone. This doesn’t make him any less professional.
Watch a Greg Popovich interview [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6yPeW8eHbU]. Watch a Belichick press conference after they’ve lost [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7OykATWIHI]. Neither of them are prancing up to the microphone to sing of the wonderful game they just had. No. They’re pissed. They’re angry at the result and you can see it in their words and body language. After the Superbowl XLIV versus the Saints, Peyton Manning notably walked off the field without shaking hands or congratulating anyone. Does this make Peyton Manning, a man renowned for his valor and sportsmanship, any less credible? No, this just means that he was distraught after the loss. This just means that the game meant quite a bit to him and he wasn’t content with the outcome. When you’re at the highest level of competition, you are supposed to be the most competitive.
The relationship between sports and media has always been interesting. You want to think that it’s for the best that players act in a certain way, forging answers and smiles that fit the mold. But other aspects, such as the results or human emotions, skips our mind. The athletes are human too. They can’t be cookie cutters, nor can they appeal to the wants and needs of every media outlet. Sports legends like Popovich and Peyton Manning certainly don’t fit that mold. Regardless of how you think of Cam and his antics, he is justified for his actions.