Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has no problem being called a sore loser after making an abrupt exit from his press conference following the team's 24-10 loss in Super Bowl 50 to the Denver Broncos.
Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer provided comments Newton made during Tuesday's exit interview. Jones also noted it's rare for the face of the franchise to say anything at these gatherings, but he spoke for around eight minutes.
"I'm on record as being a sore loser. I hate losing," Newton said. "You show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser."
He isn't going to change his approach moving forward, either. Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer passed along the regular-season MVP's thoughts about being an individual.
"I don't have to conform to anybody's wants for me," Newton said. "I'm not that guy. This is a great league with or without me. I am my own person."
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera agreed with Newton's stance, telling reporters, “I’d much rather have a guy who hates to lose than a guy who just accepts it.”
Newton also challenged what's deemed acceptable or the correct way to handle things by others, as highlighted by Steve Reed of the Associated Press:
The quarterback, who was back to more of his usual smiling self during the exit interview than the short postgame presser, said ultimately he doesn't take back anything he did, per Brody O'Connell of WBTV:
That includes his criticized decision to not jump on a fumble in the fourth quarter when it appeared he may have had a chance to recover it. Person noted Newton felt he would have risked injury with the way he would have had to contort his leg to dive on the loose ball.
Tight end Greg Olsen defended Newton, telling reporters that "anyone who questions Cam's dedication or commitment is uninformed or never watched us play."
Newton also turned the focus to next season and didn't try to lessen expectations in the least, saying, according to Max Henson of the team's official site, "We will be back, and I mean that. Nobody's expectations (for this team) exceed mine."
All told, Newton deserves full marks for meeting with the media and providing some insight into his mindset after the game. It's probably a lot easier to explain his thoughts a couple of days removed from the game and without Chris Harris Jr. talking about the Broncos' successful game plan at the same time.
Newton has dealt with a lot of criticism throughout the season for a variety of different reasons, including his touchdown celebrations. If there's one thing he's continued to make clear every step of the way, it's that he doesn't plan to change himself to please others—and he shouldn't.