Professional Athletes or Professional Crybabies?
The famous saying may go, "There's no crying in baseball" (made famous by Tom Hanks in the hit 1992 movie A League of Their Own), but recently football fans have been seeing a lot of crying in their favorite sport.
Now I don't mean crying in the literal sense but rather crying in the sense of complaining. More and more high profile athletes have recently criticized officials for either calling too many penalties on them or not calling penalties on their opponents during their games.
On October 30th, during his post-game interview in London, England, with the press, Washington Redskin defensive back Josh Norman adamantly complained about a specific official. "Who is official 88...He sucked!" Josh Norman said with disgust. During the game, Norman was called for five penalties.
Later that same day across the pond in the United States, Carolina Panther's quarterback Cam Newton complained in his post-game press conference about official not calling penalties on his opponents. "At times, I don't even really feel safe!" Newton said. Newton has had only one "Roughing the Passer" penalty called in his favor this season.
Does Josh Norman Have a Legitimate Gripe?
The October 30th game between the Washington Redskins and the Cincinnati Bengals held in London, England, ended in a 27-27 tie. Nobody likes a tie. It is also very disheartening for a competitive person to play in a game for 75 minutes (60 minutes standard and 15 minutes overtime) and not have a winner and a loser.
Professional football players are amazing athletes. Their hard work and training have given them the ability to perform in ways that most of us can only watch in amazement. Most of these athletes have been winners their entire lives. They have played on championship teams and have been the best on their teams while working their way up into the NFL. Because of this history of winning and being the best, they usually don't handle losing well.
There is no question that Josh Norman is an amazing athlete. In fact, he is one of the best at what he does. That being said, Norman had to face an opponent that was the best at what he does. A.J. Green is arguably the best wide receiver in the league. He puts up huge numbers each week.
Despite the fact that Norman did a good job of containing Green for much of the game, Green outplayed Norman on many plays. Of the five penalties, most, if not all, were warranted. The evidence is in the photos. On multiple occasions, Green beat Norman, and Norman grabbed Green's jersey (a penalty), made contact with Green prior to the pass arriving (a penalty), and even struck Green in the face mask (also a penalty).
Does Josh Norman have a legitimate gripe?
Does Cam Newton Have a Legitimate Gripe?
On October 30th, the Carolina Panther's lost to the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 30-20. Cam Newton being the quarterback of the losing Carolina Panther's later complained about the lack of penalties against his opponents in this game as well as other games this season.
Cam Newton is a very large quarterback with amazing athletic ability. He has the ability to run as well as pass. This is an ability that most NFL Quarterbacks do not possess. When a quarterback runs with the ball he is not afforded the same protections as when he passes. That being said, Newton was especially aggravated that there was no penalty called when Calais Campbell hit him below the waist while throwing a pass in the pocket.
Most would agree that this should have been called a penalty. The only argument for not calling this a penalty would be if the official believed that the defender (Calais Campbell) was blocked into Cam Newton by Newton's own teammate. Since officials don't talk to the press, we can't determine the reason behind the official's call or no call in this case.
Newton believes that he is being treated unfairly because of his size, but the facts dispute that. According to NFL.com, Cam Newton has had more "Roughing the Passer" penalties called in his favor than any other Quarterback since 2011.
A lot of people believe this is a case of Cam Newton being frustrated with loosing. The Carolina Panther's record is 2-5. Newton has a history of poor sportsmanship. After the Panther's loss in the Super Bowl, Newton walked out of a press conference.
Does Cam Newton have a legitimate gripe?
The Check's in the Mail
The NFL has a policy of distributing fines to players and coaches who speak out about officials. These fines can be rather large. The fines are a deterrent to help prevent players and coaches from making the post-game press conference about the officials and the rules rather than the highlights of the game.
Even thought the fines can be in the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars, players and coaches still feel the need to speak out against the officials.
Should the NFL increase fines for speaking out against officials
Whether you believe Josh Norman and/or Cam Newton have a legitimate complaint or not, one thing is certain. Professional athletes are crying (complaining) more than ever!
Professional athletes have been looked up to by children for many years now. Their conduct is important as many eyes are upon them. While nobody likes to lose, showing you can loose with class says a great deal about your character.
My advice to these professional athletes would be to "suck it up!" Be respectful to your opponents by giving them credit for their accomplishments instead of making excuses for your shortcomings. If an official misses a call, remember that you also miss passes or miss covered assignments. We are all human. Deal with it! At the end of the day, you get to go home to your mansions and enjoy all the comforts of life.