The Carolina Panthers said 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.
Mike Dobs was considering filing theft charges against Newton after he said the quarterback ripped down the banner and destroyed it ahead of Sunday’s game against the Packers at Bank of America Stadium.
Newton ripped down the banner near the entryway onto the field.
"We take pride in having an edge in playing in Bank of America Stadium, of playing in front of the Carolinas each and every week," Newton said during his post-game press conference.
According to ESPN, Newton said, "I feel it's my due diligence to protect this house. It wasn't just about tearing down a sign. It was respect."
Dobs, a Packers fan from Fayetteville, said he paid around $500 for the "North Carolina Cheese Head" sign, and was hoping to hang it in his man room after the game.
Dobs said Monday that he is shocked at the hostile reaction he's been getting, which include death threats, and said he wants his banner replaced.
WSOC spoke to Dobs on the phone and he said stadium staff gave him permission to bring in the banner and hold it up.
- PRESS PLAY to hear Mike Dobs speak about his banner being taken:
Dobs and his family were sitting above the tunnel where Panthers players enter and exit the field. Before the game, Newton snatched the banner from Dobs and his family.
“My family and I were watching the pregame player warm ups. We were excited to see Aaron and Cam on the field. We thought Cam was coming over to talk to us and the crowd around us,” Dobs said. “Instead he ripped the banner out of our hands. We all thought it was a joke at first and then he did not return with the banner.”
Dobs, who currently works at Fort Bragg, is a retired 27-year disabled veteran. He said he received a briefing before the game on what they can and can’t do at the stadium.
“When Cam did not return with my banner, I contacted the stadium police. They took all our information. I asked for the banner back and they told me that Cam destroyed it,” Dobs said.
“I was shocked,” said Dobs. “This is a professional football player? We go to NFL games -- we don't have anything against Cam or the Panthers, we paid to see him play.”
Most Panthers fans are supporting Newton's actions, saying the banner was disrespectful, but Dobs may file a police complaint.
"We need to protect our house from an elite team like Green Bay,” said Corbett Vance. “So we had to have that win and taking that banner down rallied our team.”
"We played in Green Bay last year, and I didn't see no 'This is Panthers Country' sign in their stadium," Newton said during his press conference. "I was passing. The sign was dangling. Either somebody was going to take it off, or I take it off. It's no disrespect to nobody. It's just more of a respect to the stadium. We all know gangs, we all know territories, we all know businesses. You're not about to sit up here and sell a Whopper at a McDonald's."
The Panthers beat the Packers 37-29 on Sunday. With their win over the Packers the Panthers improved to 8-0 on the season.
"It just doesn't match," Newton said of the banner. "No disrespect to any Green Bay Packer. It's just a respect thing."
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.
On Monday morning, some of Newton's teammates were speaking out on social media to take the blame for their quarterback's actions:
For ESPN's full story click here.
WSOC received these answers from Scott Paul, Executive Director of Stadium Operations, after Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton ripped down and destroyed a banner belonging to a Green Bay Packers fan.
Q&A with Scott Paul, Executive Director - Stadium Operations
Q: What prompted a review of the current policy?
A: A banner supporting the visiting team was pulled down and damaged before Sunday's game. We want to make sure our policy is clear and serves the best interests of our organization.
Q: Was the banner in question returned or replaced?
A: We've reached out to the owner of the banner and we're in the process of providing a replacement.
Q: Was the banner approved by security before it entered the stadium?
A: Yes. The banner was in compliance, with the understanding that no banners or flags expressing support of visiting teams may be affixed to or displayed on any surface.
Q: Why are visiting team signs permitted and will that continue?
A: We are reviewing our policy. We'd rather not see opposing signage in our stadium, but when this policy was developed it was consistent with the vast majority of NFL stadiums.
Q: When do you expect the policy review to be completed?
A: We've just begun the process and are working to finish the review in a timely manner.
Q: Do you worry that any policy changes could negatively impact the game day experience for Panthers fans?
A: We've had unbelievable fan support, which has been a big part of the team's success at home. The reality is that we continue to see very few banners on game day and don't feel that policy changes would in any way impact the atmosphere at our home games.