Former NFL quarterback Archie Manning defended Cam Newton after the 2015 NFL MVP walked out of a press conference following the Carolina Panthers loss against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50.
Manning argued his son, Peyton, was equally criticized for heading straight to the locker room after the Indianapolis Colts lost to the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV back in 2009. At the time, Manning said, Peyton left he field without shaking hands with Saints players, later texting Saints coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees, according to the Charlotte Observer.
“I like Cam. I’m not going to blast Cam. As a parent you say, ‘I wish he’d have handled it a little different.’ But it hurts," Manning told reporters in Mississippi. “It’s really hard, really, really hard."
After the 24-10 defeat, a visibly dejected Newton met with the media and provided a series of brief answers before walking away from the interview after less than three minutes.
Newton, who got on some fans' nerves with his touchdown and victory celebrations during the regular season and playoffs, took quite a bit of criticism on Twitter for his postgame behavior.
Cam spends all week not apologizing for his antics and dancing. Yet faced w/defeat & questions he acts like a child not an MVP.
— Matt Barrie (@MattBarrieESPN) February 8, 2016
Cam can't do that after a loss
— Shawne Merriman (@shawnemerriman) February 8, 2016
ESPN would later suggest Newton walked out of the press conference because he could hear Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. on the other side of the curtain, and his voice could be heard above everyone else's from the Carolina interview area.
"Load the box, force y’all to throw the ball. Can you throw the football? That was the game plan," Harris told reporters.
Newton was looking in that direction and appeared to be listening intently to Harris. The newly crowned league MVP finally shook his head as Harris spoke and then walked off," ESPN reported.
THIS is why Cam walked out (listen to what's being said in the background). pic.twitter.com/6LdLFwv8tj
— Brian (@bmweezy13) February 8, 2016
“It’s a hard time, winning the Super Bowl or losing the Super Bowl,” Archie Manning said, according to the Charlotte Observer. “Cam, he’ll learn from it.”