Cam Newton was benched for the start of Sunday night’s game against the Seattle Seahawks for violating the team’s dress code. And apparently, he had been warned ahead of time by his coach, according to an NFL reporter.
On Wednesday, Fox Sports reporter Peter Schrager said, “On Saturday night before the game Ron Rivera told him, ‘if you don’t wear a tie to the game I’m going to bench you for the first series.’ Cam Newton heard this, slept on it and showed up on Sunday without a tie on.”
Coach Ron Rivera said Monday in hindsight he’s “very comfortable” with his decision to keep the reigning league MVP on the sideline after he failed to wear a tie on the team flight Saturday, as required by team rules.
Derek Anderson replaced Newton in the starting lineup and threw an interception on Carolina’s first play from scrimmage. Newton entered the game on the second series, but things continued to spiral downhill and the injury-riddled and struggling Panthers (4-8) lost 40-7.
Newton explained that he got benched because he didn’t wear a tie on the team’s flight from northern California to Seattle on Friday.
According to USA Today, Newton was offered the chance to borrow a tie. However, his shirt didn’t have a collar, so it wouldn’t work no matter what. He couldn’t find a dress shirt that fit him.
“We didn’t lose this game because of a tie, you know what I’m saying?” Newton said.
“Long story short, he 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. I should have just cleared it first,” he explained, AP reported.
Rivera said there was no underlying message to Newton because he has enforced similar dress code violations in the past.
“It’s not the first time and it probably won’t be the last time,” Rivera said. “At the end of the day everybody gets treated the same.”
The Panthers were crushed by the Seattle Seahawks, 40-7.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.