Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and head coach Ron Rivera held their weekly press conference Wednesday, but the talk wasn’t about football.
For about 12 minutes out of a 15-minute press conference availability, Newton didn’t talk about the Minnesota Vikings; instead, he talked about the unrest in Charlotte following a deadly officer-involved shooting.
Newton spoke passionately about how he feels about his role in the community.
Newton make it clear before he started that he didn’t know all the facts of the shooting or what followed and that he intends on getting all the information before taking a stance.
He added that it’s hard for him to speak out at times because it’s a lose-lose situation. He’s either – in his own words – a traitor or he’s too real.
“If I say something, it's going to be critiqued and if I don't say something, ‘You fake or you’re flawed.’ I'm a firm believer of justice. I'm a firm believer of doing the right thing and I can't repeat it enough of just holding people accountable,” Newton said.
While Newton was speaking, Rivera was listening to what his quarterback had to say. He said Newton is very thoughtful and sincere about his feelings, and he thinks about what he says before he talks.
But Rivera also said it wasn't fair to ask his players their thoughts on what he saw as a political matter, but he did offer his opinions on the violence that broke out Tuesday night.
“Maybe instead of tearing up your own city, maybe instead of doing things the wrong way, this is a Democratic society and like I said, vote, maybe. That's what we need to do – take a deep breath and do it the right way. I’m not sure if what happened last night was the right way,” Rivera said.