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He answered multiple questions about why he didn’t have a necktie on a flight.
Newton was benched for the first series of Sunday night’s game against the Seattle Seahawks for a dress-code violation. Panthers coach Ron Rivera wouldn’t get into details, but Newton said it was because he didn’t wear a tie on the team’s flight to Seattle.
“I didn’t follow the dress code and coach told me that I wasn’t going to start,” Newton said in his press conference, which was broadcast live on ESPN. “I stand by his decision. The position that he’s in, I follow it, hand to hand.”
Newton came dressed to the post-game press conference apparently how he was dressed for the flight, looking sharp in a black shirt, overcoat and hat (it was nothing as outlandish as some of his previous post-game outfits). But when he came to get on the team flight, he realized that he wasn’t wearing a button-up shirt that you could wear a tie with.
“There were a lot of ties I was given, but I can’t wear a tie with this,” said Newton, who patiently answered questions about the dress-code violation. “We discussed it internally, me and coach, we got on the same page. I feel as if I wore a similar outfit like this before and nothing was done. But he has rules in place and we have to abide by them. No person is greater than the next person and it is what it is.”
How did Newton get stuck without proper attire to travel to Seattle? The Panthers played at the Oakland Raiders last week and stayed in California, so he didn’t have all of his clothes with him.
“A person may be thinking, ‘Why didn’t you get nobody’s shirt on the team?’” Newton said. “We had been in California for a week and we had shipped our clothes off. That was the big no-no.”
Rivera, who grew up in a military family, said that he benched Newton because he would have punished any player on the team in the same way.
“Completely my decision,” Rivera said. “The decision was made because I treat them all the same.”
The decision was very unusual – good luck finding another example of an NFL MVP being benched for a dress-code violation – and it became an even bigger deal when Derek Anderson threw an interception on his only play, which led to a Seahawks field goal. Newton came in for the Panthers’ second series but he didn’t help much. The Panthers were blown out 40-7 by the Seattle Seahawks.
“We didn’t lose this game because of a tie,” Newton said. “There were a lot of execution errors. We had our opportunities and we failed at it.”
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