The Cam Newton/Ed Hochuli Kerfuffle

He didn’t say it.

Cam Newton said that Ed Hochuli told him he wasn’t “old enough” to get a call during yesterday’s Panthers/Saints game.  If Hochuli had said it, it would be an ugly remark worthy of discipline.

He didn’t say it.

I have watched this Vine many, many times now.  I have done everything I can to find Hochuli saying “you’re not old enough” or “you’re too young.”  I am not a professional lip reader, but I can’t make it happen.  The last three words are CLEARLY “you were running.”  My determination is that Hochuli said “The difference is you were running.”  This not only fits with my own eyes, but fits contextually, since Newton likely hopped up and said “Why didn’t you flag that?  You flagged the one against us.”  (There had just been a roughing the passer call against the Panthers for hitting Luke McCown–while he was in the pocket.)

I suppose it’s possible that Hochuli said it before the camera was on him.  But not very likely: they weren’t together yet.  And Newton’s incredulous response was instantaneously after the phrase “you were running.”  Plus Hochuli, an attorney, understand not saying breathtakingly stupid (and untrue) things.  I don’t think he believes or officiates that way, but even in the microscopic likelihood that he did, he sure as hell wouldn’t say it out loud.

In any event, he didn’t say it.

I want to give Newton the benefit of the doubt.  I find it hard to believe he’d flat-out fabricate a story to discredit an official (or anyone else).  I guess it’s possible that he was angry he didn’t get a call and decided to flat-out lie about it later.

More likely, I think, is that, with crowd noise, adrenaline, and a football helmet over his ears, Newton misheard “you were running” as “you’re too young.”  The press seems to be coming down on Hochuli’s side right now.

It seems to me that, faced with the complete lack of corroboration for Newton’s story and the fairly obvious evidence that he said “the difference is you were running” (I’d bet Newton 50 bucks a pro lip reader would agree with me), Newton has exactly one option to come out of this looking reasonably.

Tomorrow–immediately tomorrow–Newton calls together the press and says this:

“I’ve looked at the tape.  In the heat of action, I misheard something Ed Hochuli said.  I really thought I heard it, but with crowd noise and my helmet, I obviously missed it.  I have already apologized to Ed through the league office, and I will apologize to him in person the next time I see him.  It’s not anything personal, and I don’t want his reputation to suffer based on my honest mistake.  Now, I’m putting this behind me and getting ready for the next game, as I hope Ed is as well.”

You’re welcome, Cam.