A lot of critics see all the crying Cam Newton does about the questionable hits he takes as just that—incessant whining about nothing.
But after Newton suffered a blow to the head that went uncalled during Monday night’s matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the Washington Redskins, ESPN’s Michael Wilbon went on a Twitter tirade against the refs.
Making matters worse, and the official’s action more suspect, Newton reacted by throwing the ball at Skins linebacker Trent Murphy, the player who hit him, and got flagged for taunting.
Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that doesn’t need a deep probe to get to the bottom of. If it had been Tom Brady in that instance, there’s no way that hit gets overlooked. A defender gets anywhere near Brady’s head or knees, and there’s about a 99.9 percent probability that the hit draws a flag. The same could be said of Aaron Rodgers.
Back in October, after a game against the Cardinals where he took an inordinate amount of hits that went unflagged, Newton summed up his feelings on the issue.
“It’s really taking the fun out of the game for me,” he said. “At times, I don’t even feel safe anymore. Enough is enough.”
For his part, referee Walt Coleman, who was close to the play when it happened and chose not to flag it, defended the no-call.
“Well, what I saw was that Cam slid late, and the defender went over the top,” Coleman said. “I didn’t see any forcible contact with the head. OK, if they slide late, they can be contacted, but they still can’t be contacted forcibly in the head. And so what we ruled was that he slid late but there was no forcible contact with the head — that he just went over the top.”