Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said Wednesday that he’s “absolutely” taking time to consider a protest this week, when his team plays Sunday at New England.
Newton said he has talked this week with athletes and entertainers, considering what the next steps in responding to comments by President Donald Trump and raising awareness of racial issues in the country.
“The time is upon us to do something to bring people closer together,” Newton said.
The Panthers, other than defensive end Julius Peppers, didn’t see a public protest by players during Sunday’s home game against the New Orleans Saints.
Newton said the idea of a protest did come up at a pregame team meeting on Saturday night. He said he wasn’t as tuned in as he wanted to be then because his focus had been on game preparation. Newton said he likely would have protested had the team done something as a group.
Tuesday, Newton and other team leaders met with team owner Jerry Richardson, and came away feeling players would be supported if they chose to protest peacefully.
And Newton said he doesn’t feel like it’s too late, although almost every other team staged some sort of protest on Sunday, because the subject of protest is ongoing in the country.
“It was popular to do something this past Sunday,” he said, “but there’s still an opportunity.”
Panthers coach Ron Rivera, speaking after Newton finished, said he thought the meeting between Panthers players and team owner Jerry Richardson was important, and that his hope for the organization was that it would prove it is working to find solutions for racial inequity and injustice.
He also said people have been talking about kneeling for a year and a half – and it’s time for action.