There were no explosions, but after Ron Rivera saw a few of his players drag-racing on the self-balancing motorized boards known as hoverboards, the coach banned them from the Panthers facilities.
The ban has been in place for at least a month but was just noticed on Sunday. Usually reporters would have to dodge players on the boards during open locker room, but they’ve been noticeably absent recently.
There have been several instances of hoverboards, which do not actually hover, catching on fire, but Rivera said that didn’t happen in the locker room.
“Did you see those things on YouTube blowing up and stuff? That’s what concerns me more than anything else is something crazy happening,” Rivera said. “I caught them drag racing in the hallways one time too. You’ve got to be careful.”
Rivera wouldn’t divulge who was racing, but tight end Ed Dickson said it’s a natural thing for professional athletes to test one another.
“It’s competition,” Dickson said. “You’re dealing with a whole lot of men in the locker room and you get something new like that ... but we didn’t take it to heart when he banned them. We knew it was a safety issue.”
Dickson said a handful of players got together and rode their hoverboards to food trucks stationed near BB&T Ballpark earlier this season as a type of team bonding.
While Rivera has banned them from the facilities, he knows there are still players, including quarterback Cam Newton, who ride them to and from work.
“The truth is somebody was telling me about them igniting,” Rivera said, “so I went on YouTube and found them and then they also showed them with people falling off, they showed the thing about people making the sharp turns and then there’s somebody standing there, running into them. I can’t imagine it. We still have some who ride them to and from work, which I’m trying to get them not to, which they do.”
Asked what he thought of the ban, receiver Philly Brown offered a smile.
“They’re still floating around somewhere,” he said.