Carolina Panters QB Cam Newton, who suffered a fracture of two bones in his lower back two weeks ago but returned to lead his team to a 17-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, criticized Panthers fans for cheering when Browns QB Johnny Manziel injured his hamstring late in the first half.
Newton said, “The only thing I can say is it was sad to see the crowd’s response when he was getting hurt, man. I just think it was classless at that time. Anytime a person is hurt, you don’t celebrate. I’ve had that done in my career. It takes the integrity out of the game.”
In the Panthers’ December 7 game against the New Orleans Saints, fans cheered when Newton seemed injured after running for a 2-yard gain. Newton had no response after that game, but teammate Thomas Davis did, asserting, “There’s really no place for that. That’s something that as a player, you never want to see a guy get hurt. When the fans are cheering because they think a guy is hurt, that’s disgraceful.”
Manziel left the game at Bank of America Stadium after pulling a hamstring when tackled by Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly and defensive back Colin Jones with 1:49 remaining in the first half. While the Browns’ trainers attended to him on the sidelines, fans cheered.
Manziel was 3 for 8. throwing for 32 yards. He watched the rest of the game from the sideline.
Newton said he spoke with Manziel after the game. He said, “I’m a fan of his just like a lot of people are. But [there’s] a lot of things he has to learn. It’s a learning curve … I told him I was pulling for him. Hopefully, during the offseason we will link up. But for the crowd to respond in that type of way, we’re better than that. That’s not who we are.”
After Manziel went down, Brian Hoyer went 7-of-13 for 134 yards, with one touchdown and one interception, leading the Browns to a 13-10 lead after an 81-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Cameron with 10 minutes left in the game. But Newton led a 66-yard touchdown drive to put the Panthers ahead for good, 17-13.