Carolina quarterback Cam Newton photo credit SB Nation
When Cam Newton abruptly walked away from a slew of reporters after his Carolina Panthers lost to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50, a somewhat disturbing phenomenon happened.
Newton's supporters and numerous media types defended his actions.
ESPN's headline? "Cam Newton showing heartache after Super Bowl loss isn't necessarily a bad thing."
How about petulance? Poor sportsmanship? Wallowing in self pity?
Of course I will be called "hater" for describing Newton's actions in such unspeakable terms. "Hater" is the strawman's argument for those who have no excuses or defense.
So go ahead, bring it, my politically correct brethren. I'm fed up with the glorification of bad behavior.
Heartache is parents watching their terminally ill seven-year old daughter battle a brain tumor. Avery Huffman has faced more obstacles in seven months than Newton has ever faced in his 26 years on earth.
Avery most likely celebrated her last birthday in October. Her last Christmas in December. She only has one good eye, has no right-side movement and is losing her ability to speak. She will probably lose her ability to swallow and breathe before she earns her wings and becomes seven years old forever.
She is fully aware of what is happening to her. Yet she is not hiding behind a hoodie while sulking, complaining about her situation or asking "why me?"
Oh, the things we can learn from children.
Jessie Rees was 12 years old when she succumbed to brain cancer after a valiant 10-month battle. Her legacy is Joy Jars. Thanks to Jessie, every child who is diagnosed with cancer receives a jar filled with fun stuff. Its purpose is to bring a smile to their faces while battling for their lives.
Jesse's brain was being destroyed by cancer yet she was focused on helping other kids during her last days on earth. She made lemonade out of too many lemons in her life.
Newton is squirting lemon juice in our eyes.
For many boys, playing professional football has always been a dream. You have to be special to play quarterback in the NFL. Newton was blessed with enormous talent and charisma.
With good looks, flawless skin, a flashy smile and a penchant for nice threads, Newton was made for television.
Newton survived two scandals at colleges without any consequences. Newton won the 2010 Heisman Trophy and his Auburn Tigers were crowned the 2010 BCS Champion. Newton exemplifies winner.
At Carolina, Newton sought the spotlight by shimmying in the endzone, doing the dab and wearing eclectic designer clothes. His nickname was Superman. He had everything going for him.
Except humility. And perspective.
After a humiliating 24-10 defeat by the Denver Broncos, Newton congratulated Denver quarterback Peyton Manning. He was smiling, still looking like a winner despite his team's loss. Later he appeared annoyed and disgusted by the sympathetic media's postgame questions.
It was similar to listening to Kim Kardashian complain about media attention after appearing naked on a magazine cover with the headline, "Break The Internet, Kim Kardashian."
Nobody feels sorry for Kardashian. And nobody should feel sorry for Newton.
I would have liked to have seen Newton show some humbleness at that postgame presser. He lacked leadership attributes and missed an opportunity to change some opinions of him.
Not a good look, Cam.
The NFL is a form of entertainment and Newton has been a blast to watch. He has infused energy into a league that desperately needs more fun. So thank you, Cam, for rekindling my NFL flames of love. But his perceived lack of appreciation and grace leaves me profoundly disappointed.
Newton is paid millions of dollars to play a freaking game. His team lost. It hurts. But in the grand scheme of things, a stinging loss is not the end of the world. Losing perspective is.
Cam Newton never received a Joy Jar.
Newton needs to remind himself of that when he has a bad day at the office.
So does the media.