SBD/August 24, 2011/Franchises

Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson Likes Newton With No Tattoos Or Piercings

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Richardson asked Newton about piercings, tattoos before drafting him No. 1
NFL Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson last night acknowledged that he asked QB Cam Newton prior to selecting him with the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft whether Newton had any piercings or tattoos, and when the QB confirmed he did not, Richardson said, "We want to keep it that way." Richardson, appearing on PBS' "Charlie Rose," said of the pre-draft meeting with Newton, "He started to talk about his past and I said, ‘Cameron, I really don't care to talk about your past. I think we need to talk about the future,’ and we did that. He was dressed perfectly. I said, ‘Do you have any tattoos,’ and he said, ‘No sir, I don't have any.’ I said, ‘Do you have any piercings?’ He said, ‘No sir, I don't have any.’ And I said, ‘We want to keep it that way.’” Richardson added, “I said, ‘We want to keep: No tattoos, no piercings, and I think you've got a very nice haircut.’” Host Charlie Rose said, “You sound like a Lombardi.” Richardson replied, “No, I just sound reasonable to me” ("Charlie Rose," PBS, 8/23).

OUT OF BOUNDS?
PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio notes Richardson "has drafted and signed plenty of players who have tattoos and piercings," including new TE Jeremy Shockey. Richardson appears "willing to tolerate those things when it comes to men who won't become the face of the franchise." But when it comes to Newton, Richardson "presumably wants him to do nothing that would potentially alienate the mainstream paying customers." Still, Florio writes, "The notion that teams would try to make players into non-threatening billboards seems more than a little heavy-handed, even if it's done in the name of 'growing the pie' to the benefit of teams and players alike" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 8/24). YAHOO SPORTS' Chris Chase writes, "Yes, it's hypocritical because his team's star player for the past decade has tattoos all over his arms. It's not unfair though. ... You have to adhere to the rules of your place of business" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/24). But CBSSPORTS.com's Mike Freeman writes, "A dress code is one thing. But telling a grown ass man what he can do with his own body is way over the top. Newton is a football player, not a head of state. He's not leading Microsoft. He's a freaking quarterback. Who cares if he has his ears pierced?" (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/24).
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