After Sunday’s loss, Patriots QB Cam Newton deflected a question about his reported dinner with CB Stephon Gilmore
The Patriots have been one of two teams in the NFL, Tennessee being the other, that have been severely impacted by COVID-19 this season.
Not only were they left shorthanded at quarterback against Kansas City in Week 5, but more positive tests resulted in them being forced to close their facilities and schedule hardly any practices over their bye leading up to Sunday’s game against Denver, in which they looked uncharacteristically sloppy.
For the most part, New England has done an excellent job at handling this not-so-ideal situation and abiding by league protocols to prevent a larger outbreak. However, their makeshift contingency plan — which included taking two separate planes to KC two weeks ago — unfortunately hasn’t come without controversy.
ESPN insider Adam Schefter reported following that Monday night game vs the Chiefs that Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore had dinner with quarterback Cam Newton the night before he contracted the virus.
We’ll get more into the details on that later. The story here is that Newton was asked about his reported dinner with Gilmore following Sunday’s loss to the Broncos and he was quick to deflect it, noting that “there’s nothing good for me to answer any of these questions.”
Did you really expect Newton to share insight on the polarizing topic and undo some damage control for the franchise? Of course not. That’s simply not how the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick go about their business when faced with these sort of public relations nightmares.
The Patriots came under some heat following that bombshell report, and understandably so, as it appeared as though they didn’t go out of their way to determine who was in close proximity to Newton leading up to his diagnosis and eliminate them from competition on that Monday. Had they done their due diligence, Gilmore would have been identified and subsequently ordered to self quarantine until he produced several negative tests.
Throw in the fact that Gilmore’s wife, Gabrielle, took to social media to vehemently deny the report, and there was simply no way Newton wasn’t going to say “next question.” That’s the epitome of a sticky situation, so we really can’t fault the former MVP for pleading the fifth here.
Newton has been a fantastic interviewee since he arrived at training camp, including after losses in which he didn’t perform well (like Sunday), so fans shouldn’t berate him for deflecting this particular question.
The three-time Pro Bowler isn’t obligated to answer everything, and considering the sensitivity and tentacles surrounding the topic of this specific question, it’s understandable why he opted against proving an answer. Like he said, nothing good could have come from it.