Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. admitted Tuesday the setup for postgame interviews after Super Bowl 50 wasn't ideal after it seemingly played a role in Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton making a quick exit from the area following his team's 24-10 loss.
Nina Mandell of USA Today passed along Harris' perspective about the situation. He stated his reaction might have been much the same as Newton's, but he didn't let him off the hook completely:
I don't know why they had us in the same room or anywhere close to where they could hear us. I would have been mad if I was Cam too, to be able to hear your opponent right behind me talking, I mean no one wants to hear that so, I think that was a bad setup. But I mean things happen, you've got to deal with it, you've got to approach things as a man. We've been in that situation where we've lost the Super Bowl and you've got to be able to take things as they come.
Newton took on a lot of criticism for leaving his interview after answering only a handful of questions without any real depth or substance. But audio released later provided a little more context as Harris could be heard talking in the background about the Broncos' game plan:
THIS is why Cam walked out (listen to what's being said in the background). https://t.co/6LdLFwv8tj2/8/2016, 2:37:50 PM
The Carolina quarterback was an easy target after he'd already garnered a lot of backlash throughout the season for his touchdown celebrations. So once he failed to provide substantial answers during the press conference and left quickly, the latest round of criticism began.
That said, the enhanced audio and video painted a more understandable picture. Newton, who had just lost the biggest game of his career to date, likely could hear the Broncos defender talking when he decided to leave the room.
Could he have tried to tough it out to answer more questions? Sure, but it's always easier to say that from the outside looking in.
It should be a learning experience for the NFL in terms of the setup. Either the Super Bowl interview room should be used by the teams at different times or they should split it into two completely separate areas to avoid a similar incident in the future.
Newton is certainly no stranger to criticism, so the latest round probably won't bother him for long. If nothing else, it can provide motivation so the next time he reaches the Super Bowl, he'll be the one talking loud and proud like Harris instead of being forced to answer questions about losing.