The message Panthers owner Jerry Richardson had for Cam Newton recently would not be strange if it were kept behind closed doors. Newton was drafted with the intention of making him the face of the franchise. Richardson and the Carolina brass are hoping Newton can fulfill his potential and turn the Panthers into a contender. Most importantly, they hope the former Auburn Tiger can put fans in the stands.
For those reasons, Richardson would like his No. 1 overall draft pick to maintain a clean-cut image. That is not just our assumption, either. As Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer pointed out, Richardson told Cam as much during the meeting he had with him after the Panthers drafted Newton back in April.
“I’m not a choirboy. I’ve never said I was. And I don’t want a roster of 53 choirboys. I told Jeremy Shockey (Carolina’s new non-choirboy tight end), ‘Don’t change your personality. It’ll be good for the team. I could do without the tattoos, though.’”
Richardson asked Newton if he had tattoos or piercings, and Newton said he did not.
“Did you get crazy after the draft and go out and get any tattoos or piercings?” Richardson asked. “Do I have to check you for anything?”
“No sir,” said Newton.
We certainly know why Richardson is looking to uphold a certain standard with the player he hopes will lead his franchise to the promise land, but the fact that he is so candid about it is a bit awkward. As Newton struggles to learn an NFL playbook, I’m sure he is willing to do anything Richardson asks of him if it means securing his future with the team. I just don’t see the need for the Panthers owner to go George Steinbrenner and try to prove to everyone that he runs the show in Carolina.
Helmet smack to Pro Football Talk for the story.Google+