NFL

Cam Newton explains why the NFL needs to change its celebration policies

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 13: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers emerges from the tunnel before their game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Bank of America Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 13: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers emerges from the tunnel before their game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Bank of America Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Cam Newton's celebratory dancing and antics made him one of the most polarizing players in the league last season, but in a year where the NFL has been cracking down on player expression on the field, Newton refrained from doing his signature dab in each of the first nine games of the year.

On Sunday, during the second quarter of what would be a 20-17 loss to the Chiefs, Newton hit the dab after rushing touchdown.

Richard Sherman said earlier this month that he believes the NFL's tendency to police "fun" has contributed to the sliding NFL ratings (which finally received a boost after the election). Cam Newton addressed the topic in a press conference Tuesday, and while Newton said he couldn't indicate why NFL ratings dropped, he suggested players should be allowed to express themselves freely, whether that be via custom cleats or entertaining touchdown celebrations.

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Via ESPN:

"Football is hard, man…. And if scoring a touchdown, getting a sack, getting a win ... let alone all of that bottled up and staying here until 10 at night and here at 6 in the morning, all of that energy that you put, spending time away from your family, all of that bottled up and being able to do exactly what you planned and foresaw yourself doing, you are owed something.''

So when you come out in blue cleats or white cleats, gold cleats, whatever cleats.... When you come out and do a certain dance, people are watching,'' Newton said. "And when you nuke that…. the league has to understand it's entertaining for people to see that."