Rivera says he's 'talked to' Newton about taking down banner
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Carolina Panthers say they plan to replace a banner that belonged to a Green Bay Packers fan that Cam Newton ripped down before the Sunday's NFL game.
Panthers executive director of stadium operations Scott Paul said Monday night on the team's website the team will review its current policy on banners and flags. Paul said the banner was in compliance with stadium regulations even though the team policy is that no banners or flags expressing support of visiting teams may be affixed to or displayed on surface.
''We've reached out to the owner of the banner and we're in the process of providing a replacement,'' Paul said on www.panthers.com.
The banner, which read ''North Carolina Cheeseheads'' and had a Packers logo on it, belonged to Mike Dobs, a Wisconsin native who now lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Dobs told ABC 11 in Fayetteville he spent $500 on the banner and $3,700 on tickets to attend the game.
He said Newton ran over before the game, tore it down and took it with him to the locker room. He was told Newton destroyed the banner.
''I was shocked because that was the one thing that I wanted to prevent by following all of the policies, all the procedures,'' Dobs told ABC 11 in Fayetteville. ''Going through everything that you asked me to do, and then you steal my property.''
Newton took exception to the pro-Packers banner that was hung on the inside wall of the Panthers stadium.
''It was a Green Bay banner in Bank of America Stadium. It just doesn't match,'' Newton said after Sunday's game ''No disrespect to any Green Bay Packer. It's just a respect thing. We take pride in having the edge of playing in Bank of America stadium, playing in front of the Carolinas each and every week. ... I was passing, the sign was dangling either somebody was going to have to take it off or I take it off. Again, it's no disrespect to no one. It's more of a respect to the stadium.''
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he's spoken to Newton about ripping down the banner, but wouldn't elaborate on what he told the fifth-year quarterback.
Rivera said the issue is a ''side story'' and that it is ''being taken care of.''
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy in an email to The Associated Press that Newton will not be subject to discipline in the matter and there is ''no issue here at the league'' with the incident.
Newton threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as the Panthers improved to 8-0 on the season. After the game he defended his decision to take down the banner.
Teammates made light of the situation on Twitter Monday while taking up for Newton.
Center Ryan Kalil tweeted: ''It's my fault, I'm the one that told (at)CameronNewton to take down the Packers banner. I told him (hash)JustDoit''
And backup quarterback Derek Anderson added: ''Sorry bud for telling you to rip that banner down yesterday! Didn't realize people would have a problem! (at)CameronNewton''
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL