Calling the criticism of Cam Newton “unfortunate” and the product of an “old-school way of thinking,” Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman defended the Panthers quarterback during an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Justin and Gee” Friday.
Sherman, a lightning rod himself, was asked if he sees any similarities between what’s being said about Newton now and the criticism he received two years ago after he sounded off following the NFC Championship Game.
“I see some similarities, but I think it’s also its own kind of beast,” he said. “This rhetoric and this conversation has been going on for a lot longer than the conversation about me and the Erin Andrews interview, and that’s what’s so unfortunate.”
Sherman believes the criticism against Newton is unfounded considering he “hasn’t done anything wrong to anyone.”
“He hasn’t done anything (bad) off the field or hurt anyone or committed a crime or done anything,” Sherman said. “He plays the game like a young kid, like a kid’s supposed to play it.”
For Newton, that includes flamboyant celebrations, which Sherman has said he has no issue with. Some do. For instance, a few Titans defenders and the team’s head coach took issue with the way Newton danced after a touchdown during a November win over Tennessee. So did a fan who wrote a letter to the Charlotte Observer – which went viral – in which she admonished Newton for what she called a display of “egotism, arrogance and poor sportsmanship.”
One Seahawks fan called Newton “classless” for crumpling up and throwing a 12 flag following Carolina’s playoff win over Seattle earlier this month. Another started a petition trying to ban Newton from CenturyLink Field next season, calling him “unprofessional” and “unsportsmanlike.”
Sherman’s take on the negative reaction to the way Newton conducts himself: Lighten up.
“This is a game,” he said. “This isn’t life, this isn’t government, this isn’t military, this isn’t anything that’s that serious. I think people are taking it out of perspective. They’re saying it’s a bad example for kids; this is a kid’s game. Unless he’s cursing or putting the middle finger up or pulling his pants down or doing things like that, then I don’t get what they’re saying.
“The guy’s going out there and playing as hard as he can, living the dream and treating it like that. He’s honoring the game in his own way. I think that old-school way of thinking is why the conversation is going so long.”