Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton faced criticism from sports pundits on TV and Twitter on Sunday night for abruptly leaving a news conference following his team's 24-10 Super Bowl loss to the Denver Broncos.
The visibly dejected Newton, who led the Panthers to a 17-1 season and was named the NFL's regular-season MVP, gave only brief answers to reporters' questions before walking out of the news conference, saying, "I'm done."
VIDEO: Panthers QB Cam Newton talks about his struggles during the Super Bowl after Carolina loses to Denver: https://t.co/hhLfWtdK3t— @AP
Some commentators and reporters called out Newton for his behaviour at the news conference
Easy to have fun/pretend to be leader when team is cruising, but reax to losing shows true man & leader .. #CamNewton has LONG way to go— @giantswfan
If you dab and howl like Cam Newton when you're 17-1, you can't walk away from postgame interview when you lose. A series lack of maturity.— @ByRyanWood
Sore loser Cam Newton ==> King of the #SuperBowlBabies— @michellemalkin
Among Newton's critics was actor Rob Lowe, whose sarcastic tweet drew a great deal of attention
People on Twitter, however, weren't about to let Lowe call Newton a bad "example to kids," without reminding him of his own history
Some of the criticism of Newton had a racist tone, including a tweet from former NFLer Bill Romanowski, who referred to Newton, 26, as "boy"
Calm down everyone! I meant he needs to grow up!— @billromanowski
Romanowski deleted the tweet and later apologized
I apologize for that remark 'boy'. It was not intentional or even trying to disrespect others. Peace everyone.— @billromanowski
While Newton's critics focused on his behaviour at the news conference, his defenders pointed to the sportsmanship he displayed to the winning Broncos quarterback, veteran Peyton Manning, immediately after the game at California's Levi's Stadium.
Manning himself, appearing Monday morning on Today, said Newton "couldn't have been nicer to me. He was extremely humble. He congratulated me, wished me the best."
Some said Newton's dour demeanour was aimed strictly at the media
Cam's opponent was the Denver Broncos. He congratulated them.— @carIisIe
The media's opponent was Cam Newton. He didn't play their game.
I'd like to see all these Twitter critics hatin' on Cam Newton lose the biggest game of their life and then have to answer stupid questions— @RADeMita
Newton previously faced criticism from many in sports media for being too exuberant in victory
They're mad when he celebrates, mad when he's pissed. He's a professional athlete, folks, not a Supreme Court justice. #camnewton— @RayCams
Many expressed sympathy for the man
Nope #CamNewton shouldn't have walked off, but damn he just lost the biggest game of his career & was prob about 2start crying. I overstand— @TamiRoman
He's a 26 yr old that just lost the Superbowl. Maybe we could let him be human for a couple hrs. He can be a role model tomorrow #CamNewton— @MoBeeNYC