Rev. Mark H. Creech
Cam Newton: Winning isn't everything
By Rev. Mark H. Creech
February 14, 2016

The words of the late Vince Lombardi, former coach of the Green Bay Packers, seem immortal. "Winning isn't everything; he once said, "it's the only thing." But I don't believe most people think that. Most people believe there are more important things than winning – integrity, respect, love, commitment.

Sports fans were shaken last week when Cam Newton, quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, demonstrated such a poor attitude after the Panthers lost to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. Newton responded to reporters during a postgame interview with terse exchanges, shrugs, and ultimately walking out. The walk-out went viral and made headlines everywhere.

Later, Newton would offer no apology for his actions. He said, "I'm a sore loser. You show me a good loser; I'll show you a loser." Newton's words sounded similar to Lombardi's words from the past, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."

Was Newton right? Does he really believe that? More importantly, do we, as a nation, really believe that being a good loser predisposes someone to lose? Do we believe winning is the only thing?

Newton would also say to those who criticized him for his unfortunate disposition, "Who are you to say your way is right?"

Don't get me wrong, I'm fully convinced Cam Newton has many fine qualities as a man. His giving away game footballs to kids after each score and the look on the faces of those children, the happiness he brought to them, is nothing less than amazing. It's reminiscent of the old days of baseball when great players like Babe Ruth hit a home run for a child that was hospitalized and seriously ill. Newton has brought so much joy to the game of football for kids that are not only inspired by him to be a great athlete someday, but also want to be like him.

That's why his "sore loser" comment ought to bother us. That's why Newton's existential question; "Who are you to say your way is right?" should trouble us. Kids are watching. They're listening and taking it all in. And there is something non-negotiable at stake here – something morally absolute – it's called good sportsmanship – it's called the Golden Rule.

A good sportsman is someone who can face a loss with dignity, or a victory with humility. At the heart of good sportsmanship is the Golden Rule – the rule that says we should treat others in the same way we would want them to treat us. It's a concept that can be found in some variation in nearly every religion and ethical tradition. Without it, life is devoid a necessary component to building and maintaining healthy human relationships. Good sportsmanship takes these mores and unequivocally declares that winning is not everything. Winning never takes precedence over principled action.

Kids have to be taught this lesson. Moreover, they have to see it demonstrated in the people they model their lives after.

Let's not lose our perspective, professional sports, college sports, it may mean a lot to folks. It may even be big business today. Nevertheless, it's still just entertainment. For kids, it's about having fun, where skills are learned, friends are made, and life's lessons are passed along. But it's just a game.

In 1984, 1988, and 1992, Dan Jansen, American speed skater, suffered a series of disappointments in his attempt to win Olympic Gold. Jansen kept coming back time and time again, until he finally secured the Gold in 1994. How did he keep coming back over and again? Jansen said he learned to keep things in perspective. In Full Circle, he wrote:

"When I was nine years old, I was competing at the youth national championship in Minnesota. I was in good position to win my first national title when, coming around a turn, I tripped on a rubber hose they had set up as a lane marker. That slip cost me the title by one point.

"I started crying. I was crying as Mom took off my skates and during the award ceremonies. I was still crying when we got in the car and when we pulled into our driveway six hours later.

"My father hadn't spoken a word to me all the way home. But as we got out of the car, he said quietly, 'You know, Dan, there's more to life than skating around in a circle.'" [1]

I suggest this is what young and old alike need to know today and every day. No matter how big or bitter any loss, there is always much more to life than any disappointment we're facing at that moment.

We need to believe this, and we need to teach and model it to our children. Athletes of every sport can help pass it along with profound influence.

And oh, by the way, if you didn't already know, shortly before he died, Lombardi looked back recalling that quote of his and said, "I wish I'd never said it. I meant the effort. I sure didn't mean for people to crush human values and morality."


[1] Larson, Craig Brian. Contemporary Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1996. Pg. 158.

© Rev. Mark H. Creech


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Rev. Mark H. Creech

Rev. Mark H. Creech is Executive Director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc. He was a pastor for twenty years before taking this position, having served five different Southern Baptist churches in North Carolina and one Independent Baptist in upstate New York.

Rev. Creech is a prolific speaker and writer, and has served as a radio commentator for Christians In Action, a daily program featuring Rev. Creech's commentary on social issues from a Christian worldview.

In addition to, his weekly editorials are featured on the Christian Action League website and Agape Press, a national Christian newswire.


Receive future articles by Rev. Mark H. Creech: Click here

More by this author

September 30, 2023
Revelation Chapter 17: Babylon revealed – A warning for today

September 23, 2023
Revelation Chapter 16: A world shaken and pummeled to the ground

September 18, 2023
Revelation Chapter 16: When the great river runs dry

September 10, 2023
Revelation Chapter 16: The antichrist’s throne, darkness and the inevitable downfall

September 2, 2023
The Saga of Eli and the Greed Games

September 1, 2023
The vanishing workforce: Unraveling mysteries behind so many ‘help wanted’ signs

August 28, 2023
Revelation Chapter 16: When it becomes hotter on Earth than ever before

August 19, 2023
Revelation Chapter 16: Death and judgment upon the waters

August 13, 2023
Revelation Chapter 16: Painful sores, the price of denying Christ

August 5, 2023
Revelation Chapter 15: The inexorable culmination of divine retribution approaches

More articles


Stephen Stone
The most egregious lies Evan McMullin and the media have told about Sen. Mike Lee

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
Flashback: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Cliff Kincaid
Gaetz is right about McCarthy's failure to act like a real conservative

Peter Lemiska
If you don’t believe the border is secure, would you believe Republicans caused the chaos?

Cliff Kincaid
Making Russia great again

Pete Riehm
Is Joe Biden being slowly thrown overboard?

Curtis Dahlgren
The real Tom Jefferson

Tom DeWeese
Fighting back at the local level

Cherie Zaslawsky
The Malone controversy: Part one

Steve A. Stone
What does the 'common sense' man want?

Rev. Mark H. Creech
Revelation Chapter 17: Babylon revealed – A warning for today

Linda Kimball
Psalm 50: 21-22: Holy God to the depraved: NOW do you see the stupidity, depravity, and evil in your hearts?

Peter Lemiska
The real threat to our Democracy

Jerry Newcombe
And lead us not into temptation
  More columns


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons


Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites