Criticism of officials continues for stars
If it’s a given that NFL officials will be criticized now and then, such bad-mouthing becomes that much more significant when some of the league’s most prominent voices — Cam Newton, Richard Sherman, Josh Norman — rise in unison to complain about the men in stripes.
Panthers quarterback Newton, the reigning near-unanimous MVP, was fed up after having his right knee twisted on a low shot from Cardinals defensive tackle Calais Campbell in the third quarter of Carolina’s 30-20 victory over Arizona in a rematch of last season’s NFC championship game.
“At times, I don’t even feel safe. And enough is enough. I plan on talking to Commissioner (Roger) Goodell about this,” Newton said. “I don’t know what I have to do. ... I don’t think there’s a person that can go through what I go through and still keep their head.”
His words Sunday came a couple of months after he absorbed four helmet-to-helmet hits that resulted in a grand total of zero penalty yards in a season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos.
This time, Newton noted the hits to the head while also making an impassioned plea for more protection in the pocket from officials, who he’d rather have make more calls than frequently explain they were sorry for not throwing a flag.
“I just can’t keep accepting, ‘Oh, we missed that one’ or ‘I apologize for doing that’ or ‘I didn’t see it,’” Newton said.
Seahawks cornerback Sherman and his coach, Pete Carroll, complained about what they said were illegal pick plays used by Saints receivers as New Orleans came back to beat Seattle 25-20 .
“It’s hard to play defense like that. It’s tough to play in this league with the way games are being officiated. The rules are already skewed to the offense, but you have to fight through it and find a way to win,” said Sherman, never shy about sharing his thoughts.
“It’s obvious to the outside world how the game was offici-
ated . ... I mean, the calls — or lack thereof — were pretty egregious.”
Another speaks-hismind, elite cornerback, Washington’s Norman, was upset after drawing five flags — four for illegal use of hands — while trying to cover Cincinnati receiver A.J. Green during the teams’ 27-all tie in London.
Norman called out field judge Brad Freeman by uniform number and said: “I’m just going to be honest with you; I’m going to be straightforward: He was terrible. I feel like he should be reprimanded.”
No stranger to fines from the NFL, Norman — and Newton and Sherman — might be getting reprimanded this week.