Cam Newton on being benched for a dress-code violation: ‘We didn’t lose this game because of a tie’

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton addresses reporters during a postgame news conference on Sunday.
(Stephen Brashear / Associated Press)

Dressed in a matching black turtleneck and hat with a dark gray coat, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton looked impeccable as usual after Sunday night’s game.

But Ron Rivera apparently wasn’t too crazy about the outfit when the reigning league MVP wore it a day earlier for the team’s flight to Seattle. The Panthers coach requires his players to wear neckties on team flights — and since Newton didn’t do so, he was punished by being held out of the team’s opening offensive series against the Seahawks.

“It was a travel dress-code violation,” Rivera said after the game. “So we said, let’s treat him like I do all the other players on the team, and he didn’t start.”


Turns out that opening series lasted just one play, as backup quarterback Derek Anderson’s first-down pass bounced off receiver Mike Tolbert’s hands and into those of Seattle linebacker Mike Morgan. The interception was converted into a field goal by the Seahawks, who went on to run away with the game, 40-7.

“Long story short, [Rivera] has rules in place. In my opinion, it was a lack of communication on my part, especially as a team captain, a person that I feel has his ear,” Newton said. “I should’ve just cleared it first. But we didn’t lose this game because of a tie.”

The Panthers stayed in California all week following a Nov. 27 loss to the Oakland Raiders. Before the team flight out of San Jose on Saturday, Newton realized he didn’t have a dress shirt and tie to wear.

“When you’re 6-5 trying to get a shirt, I was away from home for a week. I didn’t pack a shirt. It was a lot of ties that was given, but I can’t wear a tie with this,” Newton said, referring to his turtleneck.

He added: “I felt like I wore a similar outfit to this before and nothing was said, but [Rivera] has rules in place, and I have to abide by them. No person is greater than the next person.”

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Twitter: @chewkiii


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