Since the beginning of the NFL season, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s authentic personality had led him to not only becoming league’s MVP, but also one of the top faces of the NFL. Newton’s outgoing and fun persona brought a positive edge to the NFL in a time where the league struggled with constant domestic violence scandals and a growing conversation around concussions and how they affect player health. Newton doesn’t fit the mold of a “typical” NFL QB — his raw emotion and endless passion are what people love about him, which is why I’m confused by all of the criticism around Newton’s post-Super Bowl press conference.

Yes, I understand that as the starting quarterback, it’s his responsibility to act as the CEO of the team, but for people to call him irresponsible and say that he showed a lack of respect is odd to me. Deion Sanders even went as far as to say “you can’t do that”… but why not?

This is who Newton is – he built his reputation on this exact personality. At the end of the Panthers’ loss, he even called the Panthers his family. In his eyes, he let his family down and in my opinion, had every right to behave however he felt. He’s a 26-year old team leader. Give the man 24 hours to digest what happened and I guarantee he’ll be back to his happy-go-lucky self, dabbing all over the field.

And for his brand? I think it will be just fine. His success is built on a foundation of authenticity. People all over the nation have admired him for being exactly who he is and Newton will continue to succeed for this very reason.