Cam Newton was mysteriously benched to start the “Sunday Night Football” game against the Seattle Seahawks and now it is being reported that he broke the team’s dress code.
The move immediately came back to haunt the Panthers as backup Derek Anderson threw an interception on the first play and the Seahawks turned the turnover into a field goal.
However, it was still not immediately clear why Newton was benched. The team would only say that the move was not injury related and that it was the decision of head coach Ron Rivera. Newton did return to play on the second series.
NBC later reported that Newton had been disciplined for breaking “a minor team rule.”
After halftime, NBC’s Michelle Tafoya reported that Newton had been benched for “a dress code violation.” What was the violation? According to Ashley Stroehlein of WBTV in Charlotte, Newton did not wear a tie.
However, it is also worth noting that Newton had some interesting cleats on prior to the game.
All players were allowed to wear customised cleats this week to raise awareness for their favourite charities. Newton went through warm-ups wearing cleats that read “EVERY 1 LEARNs, EVERY 1 PLAYS,” on one cleat and “EVERY 1 LIVES, EVERY 1 MATTERS,” on the second cleat (click to enlarge).
It is not immediately clear that the shoes address a specific charity and they do seem to, at the very least, reference the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
Once Newton did enter the game, he was wearing different cleats.
These shoes did appear to be supporting a specific charity, reading “families fed,” on one side and “everybody gives” on another.
Here is the side view of the warmup cleats.
Again, it is not clear if the cleats had anything to do with the discipline. In fact, one report says it was not. But the lack of a tie does seem like a bizarre reason to bench one of the best players in the NFL for the start of an important game.
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