The Case for Cam

Before I begin this post, I would like to just make a few points:

1. I am not a Cam Newtown fan or hater.
2. I am not a Carolina Panthers fan or hater.
3. I am not an Auburn fan or hater.

I just wanted to put in all in perspective as to where I was coming from. It would be easy to dimiss this article if I was either a fan or a hater of any of the above mentioned people or teams.

This post comes one day after the Panthers loss in SuperBowl 50 to the Broncos. I expected the backlash to be about defense winning the game, Peyton’s final ride, and what “could have been” for the Panthers. While all those items are certainly being published and mentioned, the one news clips that seems to be getting the most of attention is the post game press conference with Cam Newton (here is a link).

A lot of people have been pretty hard on Cam for not answering the questions and then leaving the set. I think we all need to pump the brakes a little bit. All those players (winning and losing side) need some time. They have spent their entire lives (most of them) trying to get to this point. World Champions. Countless hours in the gym, on the pratice field, in the film room, and who knows how much more time at home trying to get better. Either way the game goes, there is a sense of finality. That team (again, either one) will NEVER play together again. Sure, there may be a lot of players returning, but that spefic group will no longer exist as a team.

In the moments after the loss, there are probably a few stages that both teams go through:

Winning Team
– Disbelief (They did it. They achieved their goals)
– Pride (I am a world champion)
– Confusion (Now what? I have had the same routine for 8 months)
– Sadness (I will never play with all these guys again)
– Finality (It is over. I need to move on)
– Determiniation (I will get back here, or I will enjoy this next chapter in my life)

Losing Team
– Disbelief (We fell short, We worked so hard and it didn’t happen).
– Self Reflection (Did I cause us toe lose? Did I not work hard enough).
– Team Reflection (Did we not do what we planned? What went wrong?)
– Confusion (Now what? I have had the same routine for 8 months)
– Sadness (I will never play with these guys again & I may never make it back here.)
– Finality (It is over. I need to move on)
– Determiniation (I will get back here, or I will enjoy this next chapter in my life)

The key is really how we take in the answers from either side. Usually both sides make no sense in their interviews right after the game. The winning side is just happy it is over and they won, so they haven’t really processes how (or why) they won. But, because they are excitible the interview seems exciting and fun. Humor me a moment and try to really visualize the same question asked of both quarterbacks and how you would feel after the game:

To the winning QB: The game is over, and you came out on top. Now what?
The Winning QB: I have no idea. I am just going to come home and have some beers.

To the losing QB: The game is over, and you didn’t come out on top. Now what?
The Winning QB: I have no idea. I am just going to come home and have some beers.

The exact same question with the exact same answer, yet I bet if you really tried the exercise, you interpretation of the answers feels different.

My point is…When a winning player is interviewed and makes no sense, or doesn’t really answer the question and leaves the interview to be with his teammates; we produce a narritive of “Well, he is excited because he is now a world champion. We can’t fault him for not having the words right now and wanting to be with his teammates”. When it is the losing player, we get upset because we are not getting the answers we want. We then get upset when they leave, most likely to be with their teammates who they have battled all season with, and probably need each other now, more than ever.

I get that professional athletes are in the spot light and the media (and fans) want the story, the sound clip, or just the reaction. However, don’t you think we owe them a little time to digest, process the events, and figure out how they feel and what is going on?

This does trickle down. How many times have you as a coach or parent wanted answers right away after a match? Maybe the players just don’t have the answer. That alone is frustrating enough. I am sure they want the answer. They want to know what went wrong. Lets give our players times to process situations and go through the cycle of emotions before we pressure them for answers and feedback. It is ok to take a little time. The information and the story will still be there later.

As for Cam….I think he will be just fine. My guess is he will take some time off (most likely a very short time) and then go back and look at what happened and how to fix it.

*Edited 2/8 @ 10:55 am due to my horrible spelling (thanks Pete Wung).

1 comment for “The Case for Cam

  1. March 3, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    Often, the team can stand or sit. The presence of a table and chairs does not mean teams have to sit down for spontaneous. Some kids literally think better on their feet.

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