SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton walked out of his postgame press conference following the Panthers loss in Super Bowl 50. But it seems there is more to the story.
The Super Bowl is football’s biggest stage. More than 100 million people watched as the Broncos stifled the Panthers offense and frustrated Newton all night. Newton and his teammates were asked to sit in front of reporters and answer questions after the loss. This is normal in the NFL and like it or not, it’s part of the job.
Reporters asked Newton several questions, but the final question was asked about three minutes into the press conference:
“I know you’re disappointed not just for yourself, but for your teammates. It’s got to be real tough.”
When the reporter finished asking the question, Newton stood up and walked out.
Many people assumed it was the question that prompted Newton to walk out, but several people who were at the press conference said Newton was visibly upset by comments made by Chris Harris, Jr., a cornerback for the Broncos, whose interview – conducted in an adjacent area – could be heard over the loudspeaker.
On video, Harris can be heard saying:
“That was the game plan. Load the box, force ya’ll to throw the ball. Can you throw the football? That was the game plan. Load the box, one-on-one outside. They got a couple big plays, but I feel like me, [Aqib] Talib and [Bradley] Roby, we were able to come back and make more plays to shut them down.”
At the point where Harris can be heard saying “…force ya’ll to throw the ball. Can you throw the ball?…,” you see Cam cut his eyes to the right at Harris. He then stands up and walks out.
According to several sports writers who cover the NFL, the interview set up last night was normal for the Super Bowl. Players are typically separated by curtains or partitions during postgame interviews.
Harris, when told his comments likely caused Cam to abruptly end his postgame conference, he said:
While Newton appeared to be less than thrilled during his postgame press conference, he shared a positive moment with Peyton Manning after the game was over. Manning talked to the Today Show on Monday and described Cam as “humble” during their brief chat on the field.
“Cam could not have been nicer to me. He was extremely humble. He congratulated me, wished me the best. I told him congratulations on his outstanding season and what a great future he has ahead of him. He’ll be back in that game, I can promise you. I have been on that side of it. It is tough. It’s not an easy pill to swallow. He was very nice to me, and I really appreciated that,” Manning said.