Washington’s Trent Murphy nailed Cam Newton with a helmet-to-helmet hit as the reigning MVP slid to the ground during Monday night’s Redskins-Panthers game. No flag was thrown for the hit, but Newton was penalized for taunting after he quickly popped up and flipped the ball, a reaction Newton later said he regrets.
Referee Walt Coleman explained after the game that the hit was not penalized because officials didn’t witness any “forcible contact to the head,” though that’s clearly evident in the replay footage. This isn’t the first time Newton’s been snubbed by officials, and he’s been vocal about his discontent over non-calls this season. Shannon Sharpe argued that had the same play involved Tom Brady or Drew Brees, the officials wouldn’t have hesitated to throw a flag.
“You make contact with Cam Newton’s helmet, a flag should be thrown if he’s giving himself up.
So now, what is it? He can’t give himself up and get a penalty. He can’t get protected in the pocket because ‘oh he’s so tough, man, he might run.’ This is a bunch of malarkey, and the NFL needs to be ashamed of [itself]… because he does not get the treatment of another quarterback, let alone an MVP.
No matter what you think of him – maybe he’s petty, maybe he whines, you don’t like his outfit – at the end of the day, he should be afforded the same protections in the pocket that Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady get. And once he gives himself up, he should be afforded the same protection of any other quarterback.”