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Panthers QB Cam Newton just got his first tattoo. Social media is dying of curiosity

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has gotten his first tattoo, something he was allegedly discouraged from doing by former team owner Jerry Richardson, according to ESPN and other news sites.

Newton has not confirmed the report, but one of the world’s most famous tattoo artists, “Bang Bang” McCurdy, posted an Instagram photo this week revealing Newton was a client. The photo shows Newton with a bandaged hand.

“First tattoo for @cameron1newton today,” McCurdy wrote. “I’ll let y’all guess what he got. This should be fun. Thanks for the trust, bro.”

Newton responded by posting “Appreciate the hospitality, love,” on Instagram.

Social media instantly began an ongoing debate over what the tattoo might be, including one person who jokingly imagined it was a portrait of popular Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey.

Bang Bang McCurdy’s post has gotten 11,000 reactions and dozens of guesses as to what the tattoo might be. The most popular guess is the Superman logo, a reference to Newton’s former habit of appearing to rip open his shirt like Superman after scoring touchdowns.

The Charlotte Observer reported last year that former team owner Jerry Richardson “worked incessantly to promote a wholesome image for his team.” And in 2011, the Observer reported that Richardson appeared on the Charlie Rose talk show and said he asked Newton before the draft if he had any tattoos.

“When Newton told Richardson he did not, Richardson told Rose he told Newton: “Good. We want to keep it that way,” the Observer reported.

When Newton was asked about the conversation, he said: “One thing I’m not going to do is dwell on that because it’s really irrelevant right now. I’m just continuously trying to become a better player. And with that topic, it’s really irrelevant.”

On Thursday, Newton posted in an Instagram story that he was never told he couldn’t “get a tattoo or grow my hair.”

“I was free to do whatever I wanted to do. I should have said something the first time this came out years ago, but I cannot let this fly this time,” Newton wrote.

Sports site Carolina Blitz reported about the tattoo this week: “Now the only question is, where’s the tattoo and what is it of?” asked the site. “In the picture, Cam’s left hand and what appears to be his left ring finger is bandaged. Maybe he and longtime girlfriend Kia (Proctor) got matching ink.”

Proctor has not posted anything about matching tattoos on her Instagram page, however.

The Bang Bang NYC web site says “Bang Bang” McCurdy has tattooed some of the world’s top celebrities, including Rihanna, Lebron James, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Jerry Richardson had forbidden Cam Newton from getting a tattoo. In 2011, Richardson told Charlie Rose that Newton did not have any tattoos and Richardson told Newton to "Keep it that way."

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