“I have big issues with the way Cam handled himself not only on the field, but in the postgame as well,” McElroy, who said he lives in Charlotte and is a Panthers fan, said on Sirius XM Radio. “If you’re going to act like Superman and call yourself Superman, well, you better be able to answer the tough questions. He wasn’t able to do so.”
McElroy’s outspokenness is no real shock. He made headlines in January 2012 when, as a rookie, he called out the Jets for having a “corrupt mindset” and being “extremely selfish individuals” as they limped to an 8-8 finish. As for Newton, McElroy did say that he felt the reaction to the walkoff was over the top.
“I don’t have as much of a problem with the postgame press conference as a lot of people do,” he said. “I think the media, at times, feels as though they’re more important than the game itself. And you know what? If he doesn’t want to partake in the press conference, then I don’t care about that. That’s fine.
“What I have issues with is the way he did not jump on the fumble after he dropped the ball — and I know he was getting beat up all game — but he jumped away from the ball when the ball’s on the ground. I have never, not one time in my life, seen a player do that, especially a quarterback. And you know what? His teammates will look at him a little different after that, especially his teammates on the defensive side of the football.”
So far, that hasn’t been the case. As he addressed the media on Tuesday, his teammates shouted “We love Cam” and “Hooray for Cam.” Nor did Newton have any regrets about not diving for the fumble because of the risk of injury. He pointed out that other quarterbacks aren’t criticized for failing to fall on fumbles or make tackles after interceptions.
“I don’t dive on one fumble because the way my leg was—it could have been [contorted] in a way,” Newton said. “Okay, you say my effort. I didn’t dive down. I fumbled. That’s fine. But we didn’t lose that game because of that fumble. I can tell you that.”