Cam Newton is finally fed up. The Panthers’ quarterback and reigning NFL MVP has held his tongue despite questionable hits by opponents that have gone largely unpenalized. But after Sunday’s 30-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals, Newton was very vocal about officials swallowing their whistles when it comes to him – even going as far as saying he doesn’t feel safe playing the game he loves.
The disparity in treatment showed by officials to different quarterbacks is not a new conversation. Sometimes it seems if a defender breathes heavily on Tom Brady flags fly, but Newton takes hits to the head or knees without a glance. It’s been very frustrating and now that he’s had enough, he’s speaking up. But is he the one who should be addressing this? Where has coach Ron Rivera been? In press conferences he usually errs on the side on politically correct caution, but when your franchise quarterback is getting beat up on the field, isn’t it your responsibility to say something first?
When addressing the media Monday, Rivera did say that he agrees with what Newton said about his treatment and says conversations about the lack of calls have been happening behind the scenes.
“When (smaller quarterbacks) get hit, they roll around on the ground. When he gets hit, he absorbs them — and it doesn’t look as bad,” Rivera said. “… It’s about making sure he is getting the equal treatment he deserves as a quarterback in the pocket…This is something I work on every week, quite frankly. I don’t talk about it because it’s between me and the league and this team. This is something that has become public because of Cam’s statements.”
Obviously these conversations aren’t working, because Cam Newton isn’t getting calls. Just look at how things have changed over the last two years:
Ron Rivera MUST be more vocal about this disparity. the Panthers front office must be more vocal about this disparity. They owe it to this team and Cam Newton. This is not a battle he’s going to win without them.