Welcome to 2016, where two hard-working quarterbacks were not treated equally in the media even though both deserved to be in the Super Bowl.
This year’s Super Bowl coverage saw an unfair double standard between Cam Newton and Peyton Manning, with Manning portrayed as the ideal player and Newton as the opposite.
“He was being treated unfairly but that’s just because people don’t really like the things he does sometimes and how he acts,” said longtime Panthers fan and freshman Ryan Hernandez.
Newton is constantly criticized for his actions and has dealt with criticism his entire career. The media became especially rude to him during the Super Bowl’s media days by asking him slanted questions regarding his unique behavior on the field.
There was definitely a double standard in the treatment of the two quarterbacks because Manning was not attacked like Newton was during press conferences, even though Manning was accused of using HGH, a performance-enhancing drug, and will be investigated after the Super Bowl. Manning’s conferences were more relaxed compared to Newton’s, even though he also had controversy coming into the game.
Manning’s conferences contained questions aimed at the game being his last while Newton’s consisted of questions unrelated to football, like his race or his celebrations.
Newton tried his best to provide the right answers by directing the conversation back to the big game. He chose to do the right thing by talking about what he does best, football.
Alas, Newton continues to be berated by “celebrating too excessively” after a touchdown.
“There’s no rule against it, even other football players say that it’s a game to entertain people. You can dance if you want to,” Hernandez added.
Newton celebrates like any other player in the NFL, but he’s the one to receive angry letters from parents. He doesn’t deserve negative attention for his dancing because it’s his right to be happy after helping his team.
“They just want you to present yourself a certain way which is not fair if you’re not that person. At least he’s not trying to be somebody he’s not, but even then people don’t celebrate the fact that he gives the ball to a child after every touchdown he makes… People don’t celebrate that part of him, they’re only celebrating him doing the ‘dab,’ which is ridiculous,” said senior Amir Ainsworth.
The media doesn’t always show the impact Newton has on young fans. Newton is one of the nicest athletes around because he loves children more than anything. He understands how important he is to kids and he tries to incorporate them into his game by gifting them his touchdown ball, no matter what stadium he is playing in. The impact Newton leaves on those special children should not go unnoticed.
Newton was also criticized this year for taking down flags from opposing teams’ fans at his home games. People thought his actions were childish but he was standing up for his team and exercising his right of home-field advantage.
“Especially with football, it’s an emotional game. Since I played too, you know, you get overwhelmed sometimes and you react on instinct all the time and [you must have] a different mindset to play football. You’re just different from everybody else and you do different things,” added Ainsworth.
Another “flaw” the media found in Newton was his sense of style. He does not fit the particular mold in how a player should dress, but he still wears nicer clothing. He expresses himself differently and that should not be discouraged because that’s who he is.
“He’s making millions of dollars, he’s only , what do you expect from a person in that situation to do?” asked Ainsworth.
One of the possible reasons Newton received unfair treatment was because of the major age difference between Manning and him. He also lacked Manning’s experience in the Super Bowl, so he may have been seen more as a newbie and less of a player.
“[Manning’s] been [going to the Super Bowl] for years, he’s not a rookie like Cam Newton, and it’s his last year, so the Super Bowl meant a lot to him. He’s broken a lot of records and he’s known for what he does on the field,” said Broncos fan and senior Cassidy Roblero.
Even though Manning is older and more respected, Newton shouldn’t have been treated worse for a factor that he couldn’t change.
Manning is a respected player and deserves positive attention for his career because he’s won the most games for any quarterback in NFL history. Manning presents himself the way the NFL wants because he represents old-fashioned ideals and the NFL is run by older people.
The major issue with that way of thinking is that players like Newton who break the traditional mold are not appreciated enough for their efforts on and off the field. Football needs more players like Newton because he has fun with the game and he loves what he does. Shouldn’t loving what you do be enough?