Cam Newton blasts officials for 'taking the fun out of the game'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said Sunday that he plans to take his grievance with no-calls on late hits to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

"It's really taking the fun out of the game for me -- honestly, it really is," Newton said. "At times, I don't even feel safe. Enough is enough. I plan on talking to commissioner Goodell about this. It's not fun, and I don't know what I have to do."

Newton said the breaking point came in the second half of the Panthers' 30-20 victory over Arizona on Sunday when he took a hard shot to the knees. The play happened on third-and-goal from Arizona's 2-yard line. Defensive tackle Calais Campbell came in low as Newton released an incomplete pass to Philly Brown.

"I could have torn an ACL," Newton said. "That was the breaking point for me."

Newton was on the ground for longer than usual as Carolina and Arizona players checked on him. When he got up, he took his case to the official and got in the face of at least one Arizona player.

Newton used the words "bullcrap" and "horsecrap" in reference to his conviction that officials aren't making calls when he's hit in the pocket. Newton said other quarterbacks in the league get those calls more often.

"I showed a lot of frustration today, and I apologize to the referee I was talking to. But I don't think there's a person that can go through what I go through and keep their head, you know what I'm saying? Hits to the head, that's one thing, but when you're not protected in the pocket, that's another thing. It became the story of my life ever since I came in. It's always, 'Oh, we missed that, I'm sorry.' That's bullcrap -- that's bullcrap."

Newton was unhappy in general after taking several hits that didn't draw flags.

"When you constantly see the hits, when you constantly see flags being picked up and flags not being thrown, and to see other quarterbacks getting it for less physical hits, it's taking the fun out of the game," Newton said. "I'm just being honest about that."

Newton already has missed one game with a concussion after a legal helmet-to-helmet hit at Atlanta. He was hit at least four times in the helmet during the opener at Denver, with only one penalty called.

"At times in games, I haven't felt protected by the officials," Newton said. "For me, I'm just trying to bite my tongue, trying to get through the game, because it's frustrating. It's frustrating ... I know people are probably taking what I'm saying out of context, because you have to look back and look at it from my vantage point. I play this game one way; I'm no different than anybody else. I'm just trying to win football games, and whatever I'm asked to do, that's what I'm going to do."

Over the last two seasons, Newton has drawn just one roughing the passer penalty, when Broncos safety Darian Stewart hit Newton in Week 1. And even that call was nullified by an intentional grounding call on Newton, so Newton has yet to draw an accepted roughing the passer penalty since 2014.