La Canfora tweeted on Thursday:
Cam Newton was fined $21,000 for making contact with an on-field official last week.— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) December 28, 2012
Newton's character has been questioned numerous times in his brief time with the NFL, from the 2011 NFL draft to his postgame press conferences. This certainly doesn't help his case.
Newton appeared to be upset after a flag wasn't thrown following a hit by safety Mike Mitchell and proceeded to bump referee Jerome Boger.
While the Panthers still ended up beating the Raiders, 17-6, Newton had a rough game in the pocket. He was hit seven times by Oakland, including two sacks, and he averaged 5.9 yards per pass attempt while tossing one touchdown to one interception.
It's been a frustrating season for Newton and the 6-9 Panthers, but it's ironic that this fine comes as Carolina is enjoying a three-game winning streak. Newton's composure has been questioned after games, but this happened during the game, which may be even worse.
Perhaps some of the criticism Newton has taken has been unfair, but when he does things like this it only adds fuel to the fire. He has to understand that he's the leader of this team and he's scrutinized more than anyone else on the roster as a former No. 1 overall pick. He has to understand that the spotlight will always be on him.
Newton is still young and perhaps we often expect too much from a kid in his 20s, but bumping an official is completely out of line and his fine was justifiable.