Cam Newton hasn't shied away from speaking out about the officials this season. The reigning MVP said he doesn't feel protected on the field, blaming referees for a lack of safety both in the pocket and during his scrambles.
His year-long gripes about the officials came to a head Monday night, when he was penalized for taunting after being hit in the head by a defender while he was sliding.
Newton appeared to take a blow to the helmet by Trent Murphy, but not only did he fail to get the call he cost his team 15 yards for tossing the ball at Murphy after the play. Clearly, he couldn't help but express his frustration, which led him to throw the ball in Murphy's direction.
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After the game, referee Walt Coleman explained what he saw on the play:.
"Well, what I saw was that Cam slid late, and the defender went over the top," Coleman said, via ESPN. "I didn't see any forcible contact with the head. OK, if they slide late, they can be contacted, but they still can't be contacted forcibly in the head. And so what we ruled was that he slid late but there was no forcible contact with the head -- that he just went over the top."
Video clearly shows Murphy hitting Newton's helmet, which caused the quarterback to react the way he did. Of course, those plays aren't reviewable, so it was purely a discretionary call based on what the official saw.
As you can imagine, Newton was less than pleased with not only failing to get the call but for being penalized 15 yards instead. The play pulled the Panthers out of field-goal range rather than pushing them further into Redskins territory.
It didn't matter on the scoreboard, considering the Panthers won easily, but this is about a bigger issue of officials missing calls on a regular basis -- particularly obvious ones like Murphy's hit. And this isn't the first time Newton has expressed his frustration with the officials this season.
Against the Cardinals, a game that was also officiated by Coleman, Newton was hit low -- a spot where defenders aren't allowed to hit quarterbacks. Newton spoke out on the hit after the game, saying the officials are "taking the fun out of the game."