Steve Martaindale

Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series

Whining

8-5-2006-09 (2)Did you hear all of that whining after the Super Bowl? It’s an embarrassment to sports, I tell you.

Oh, no, I’m not talking about Cam Newton walking out of the post-game interview after losing the championship game. I’m talking about the high-minded people who are blasting him for doing so. The guy just lost the Super Bowl. He has a right to be upset. More importantly, why do you care how he acts?

What they want is for him to be the perfect gentleman, to doff his hat to the better team and to move on. Hear me out, just such an action would be great and it’s in the makeup of a lot of people, but not everyone.

He has since released a statement basically saying to not expect him to do it any differently. In part: “You show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.”

Do I wish he had acted more the way you want? Sure. Does it bother me what he did? No way whatsoever. I mean, do you want to see these guys play football or do you want to see them be good losers?

I tweeted at the beginning of the game that the sideline interviews they did with a coach and a player are ridiculous. I submit that every coach interview, regardless when it’s conducted, is 95 percent ridiculous and every player interview is 99 percent ridiculous.

What do they do? They give back time-trusted soundbites that we hear hundreds of times every season. They mean nothing.

“How does it feel winning the Super Bowl?”

“Man, I tell you, it feels great.”

Really? Stop the presses.

So, when a dejected player, the MVP of the year, doesn’t want to play the interview game … so what?

Oh, some have said he should have been more gracious about it because he is the MVP. Excuse me, but what do you think that P stands for? It’s player, not interview guest.

This caused me to remember something that happened with me when I was a young sports writer.

I was covering a small college basketball team and it was one of the best teams in the conference. They were playing host to the absolute worst team in the conference. At halftime, the local team had a rather sizeable lead, as it should have, and the coach opted to start the second-stringers for the last half of the game.

Everything went south. The visiting team started chipping away at the lead to the point the starters were re-inserted. However, they never could get things put back together. Meanwhile, the team that had not won a conference game all year was on a roll against a league leader.

The favored home team suffered an embarrassing loss.

I caught the coach after the final buzzer and asked about his decision to not put the first stringers in to start the second half. I don’t recall exactly what he said, but it was asinine, and then he walked off.

Of course, I used his quote. That didn’t set too well with him and he grumbled about it because it made him look unprofessional, but he knew how things work. I never got any feedback from readers or the athletic director. I would like to think they were all mature enough to understand that he was upset and they were willing to cut him a little slack.

Of course, many people don’t want to cut Newton any slack. They don’t like the way he acts when he wins, either. It’s the same reasoning. He doesn’t act like most of the others. It particularly guiles a lot of people when he does that because it happens after he proves he doesn’t play like most of the others either.

Now, I am on the record as saying that, if I were a coach, I would prohibit on-the-field celebratory displays after scores, sacks, etc. Get to the sideline and celebrate there. But that’s because I think it’s better for the team. (Granted, I doubt the player union would let me do that.)

As a fan, an observer, I don’t care. Go for it. But if I’m pulling for the other team, I hope it inspires my guys and, if you twist an ankle doing one of this jumping butt-bumps, I’m not going to feel too sorry for you.

So, Cam Newton is already making plans to become better prepared for next season. Excuse him if he’s not attending good loser classes instead. Or don’t excuse him; you don’t have to be a good fan, either.

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