CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he's spoken to Cam Newton about ripping down a Green Bay Packers banner before Sunday's game, although he 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.''
The coach added the Panthers are reaching out to the family which had the sign that read ''North Carolina Cheeseheads'' with a Packers logo on it, taken away. However, team spokesman Steven Drummond said he's not sure at this point if contact has been made with the family and what they plan to do for them.
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Newton took exception to the pro-Packers banner that was hung on the inside wall of the Panthers stadium and ripped it down before the game. He said after the 37-29 victory it was a matter of respect and ''it's something that I feel it was my due diligence to protect'' the stadium.
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.
Newton threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as the Panthers improved to 8-0 on the season. After the game he defended his decision to take down the banner.
''It was a Green Bay banner in Bank of America Stadium. It just doesn't match,'' Newton said. ''No disrespect to any Green Bay Packer. It's just a respect thing. We take pride in having the edge of playing in Bank of America stadium, playing in front of the Carolinas each and every week. ... I was passing, the sign was dangling either somebody was going to have to take it off or I take it off.
''Again, it's no disrespect to no one. It's more of a respect to the stadium.''
The Panthers stadium rules prohibit banners or flags expressing support of visiting teams may be affixed to or displayed on any surface, and it's unclear why the banner was allowed to be hung.
Teammates made light of the situation on Monday while taking blame for Newton.
Center Ryan Kalil tweeted: ''It's my fault, I'm the one that told (at)CameronNewton to take down the Packers banner. I told him (hash)JustDoit''
And backup quarterback Derek Anderson added: ''Sorry bud for telling you to rip that banner down yesterday! Didn't realize people would have a problem! (at)CameronNewton''
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL